Every new skill we have and display effortlessly is learnt by practising over and over again until it becomes off-handed.
Where do I start?
This is a question that plagues many people that want to start a career in technology. This comes with variants of the same question – Should I sign up for a boot-camp or go for a formal degree? Should I learn HTML or PHP? Should I intern or learn by myself? How do I know I’m doing it right?
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This and many more are the numerous questions that come to mind simply because we are humans and therefore curious; and because the tech world or field is large with numerous career opportunity in it ranging from cybersecurity, product management, brand and identity management, AI and machine learning, application development and programming, cloud computing, networking and wireless, data management and analytics, SEM/SEO, system architecture etc. It is easy to be overwhelmed sometimes. Just like with other knowledge, the way out is fairly simple – learn by doing.
Knowledge exists in various forms – from observation, reading, writing, watching and doing. For most people, knowledge is retained when they have tried their hands on the same thing and can then say they actually do “know” it. Learning by doing is a hands-on approach to learning that refers to students interacting with their environment and devices involved in learning in order to adapt and learn.
Hence, whether you choose mentorship, internship, self-learning by reading articles, blog posts, vlogs and YouTube videos, the main thing is to keep doing over and over. Chris Do, a creative that teaches the Business of Design on his YouTube channel, talks about quantity beating quality which is an offset of learning by doing. He says that the idea of creating a perfect design, product, webpage, whatever it would mean for you, leaves a crippling effect that brings about fear, doubt and insecurity. So, instead of amassing a lot of knowledge reading and following every senior techie in a bid to be the best, the only way to achieve that goal is to keep doing, keep practising and you would eventually become the best at what you do. This is simply premised on the fact that with each mistake, you learn, evolve, adopt better practices and eventually churn out a better work than you will do when you amass knowledge without action.
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I will share with you his 10-step plan of action that would help you
- Make a commitment to be consistent. Once a day is great but it doesn’t need to be this frequent. Adjust the frequency based on your individual skill, time and needs. The important part is to have a regular deadline. Stick with it.
- Create without expectations. Your intention should be to just try. Have fun. Experiment. Make mistakes. Some of what you create will be terrible. Embrace it.
- Post. No matter what, you must post. Put your work out in the public. If you’re worried about criticism, skip the analytics (for now).
- Each time you create, ask yourself, what’s one thing I can try next time? Then do it.
- After you’ve created 12 pieces of content, take a break.
- Look at the analytics. Study which pieces had the highest engagement. Find the metrics that matter to you. It could be views, likes, comments or follows.
- Form a hypothesis for what you think works. Write down 3 things you learned and apply it for the next 12 pieces of content.
- Don’t let anyone piece of content derail you even if you deem it as a total failure. Remember, in life, you either win or you learn. This is how you get better. You can always delete it later.
- Learn to love the process of creating. Stay out of the results.
- Repeat this formula over and over. One day, you will look in the mirror and be surprised by the person that looks back at you (having completely transformed).
Lastly, give it a try.
Everything you’ve read today can be summarized into a one-liner by Aristotle:
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”– Aristotle
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