10 Things I’ve Learned from Making Programming Tutorials.

These are some of the most interesting or useful things I have learned. This list is intended to help encourage you to create technical tutorials. I thought it might be useful to share a few things. I make computer programming and open source software tutorials. I’ve done these tutorials on blogs, YouTube, and podcasts. I do this because the best way to solidify knowledge is to teach. And I like helping people.

1 — Ignore the Amateur Editors.

Whether you call them grammar nazis, grammandos, errorists or whatever there is no limit to the people who will delight in correcting your grammar and spelling online. Most of these people will never write anything publicly and are jealous of your bravery. Strive for correctness and clarity but don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t let these bullies silence you.

2 — It Will Not Get You a Job.

You’ve probably heard a bunch of people claim that they have their job because of writing programming tutorials or making videos. I am highly skeptical of this. Most recruiters and employers could not care less about what you have written or recorded. They only care about experience and connections. In reality most people in tech have their jobs because of social connections and not merit.

3 — You Don’t Need to be the World’s Greatest Expert.

People underestimate how much they know. They fail to realize that there is always someone with less knowledge that needs help. Explaining things is a skill. The more you do it the better you get. The world’s greatest expert might not be very good at explaining things.

4— It is Okay to Make Mistakes.

If you make enough content, you will make mistakes. Technical errors are inevitable. It is just a matter of the odds. It doesn’t mean you should not be making tutorials. I doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff. Realize that you are not writing a college textbook. You are making a free tutorial online. Do always try to be as accurate as possible.

5 — Some of Your Audience Will Be Entitled, Rude and Angry.

The majority of your audience will be upper class white men. Do I need to say more?

6 — Some of Your Audience Will be Absolutely Wonderful.

There is nothing better than a sincere thank you. I have encountered so many wonderful people making these little tutorials. These people will make it all worth it. Knowing that you helped someone and paid it forward is awesome.

7 — It is Okay to Post on Medium.

Established personalities will disparage Medium as a platform. While it is best to have your how blog and build that, Medium offers a huge audience. If you are just starting out, you will get much more traffic on Medium.

8 — People Will Steal Your Work.

The internet is infested with content farms. These places churn out tons of low quality and stolen content. The contractors making this content often get paid by the word. They will not think twice about just copying and pasting your entire tutorial. Your work will be stolen. Don’t try to do anything about it. Just move on.

9 — Don’t Write a Book or Create a Course.

If you make enough tutorials publishers will ask you to write a book or create a course. Don’t fall for it. These businesses are just looking to take advantage of your ego. The reality is that you will do all the work. They will take a cut of the sales while doing nothing.

10 — It is Harder Than It Looks.

Everything looks easy until you do it. That is why most people don’t make things. Making thing requires time, courage, humility, and discipline. These things are in short supply.


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