Teach Your Mates How To Code
Teaching my friends actually freed up time for me to work on my own projects that had been collecting dust for so long.
“Half a year ago I was drowning in work. I had a lot on my mind, and I didn’t have any time to move forward with my personal projects - and I can tell you one thing; I’m always full of new ideas, but completing them takes a lot of time.”
Meet Johnny Fekete - a digital nomad who originally comes from a business background, but taught himself how to code and is now a self-taught full-stack developer and entrepreneur. He is also the co-founder of Danish startup Ditaso, (a digital talent sourcing and recruitment tool.)
Besides developing things and teaching others, he loves longboarding and learning how to play the guitar.
Learn how Johnny taught his mates to code and how they went from zero to hear in just under 6 months.
WHERE DID THE IDEA OF TEACHING YOUR FRIENDS COME FROM?
Half a year ago I had a conversation with my friend Szabi, who mentioned that he would be interested in learning mobile programming.
At the same time, my brother had also decided that he needed a career change, he told me that he could really imagine himself as a front-end developer…
“Higher education takes a lot of time, and they often teach outdated knowledge when it comes to fast-moving technologies. Besides that, my mates were both so busy with their lives, so no time for universities nor going back to school, they needed something faster and more efficient.”
TALKING ABOUT IT IS ONE THING AND STARTING IS ANOTHER, BUT WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY START?
I don’t think there was an exact moment when I made a decision to start teaching my friends, we just started.
I was in a situation where I had a lot of ideas that I couldn’t bring to life because of the lack of time and I had some friends, including my brother, who were interested in learning something new - especially my brother who was really thinking about a career change.
The idea was that if I would spend some time on teaching them, they could actually help me with my own projects as we’d be using my projects as learning examples. It would be a great practice for them too, as they need experience, and my projects would finally move forward.
We talked about it many times, we figured out which areas interested them, and we found that we had similar interests in exchanging our skills.
A real win-win situation! 😃
CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HOW YOU TAUGHT THEM? DID YOUR CREATE YOUR OWN LEARNING MATERIALS?
First of all I created a list for both of them about the subject/tools/techniques that I thought were relevant. Like a to-do list: if you learn this and this and that…you’ll know enough to start developing yourself - in my opinion.
Then I tried to look up as many materials online, as I could. Luckily, coding are based on popular technologies that are really well covered, so very easy to find information and learning material to put together my own foundation.
Once we had the learning direction, my mates could move in their own pace, ask me questions when they got stuck, and I also asked questions to make sure that they understood everything.
I live in another country, so we had Skype sessions with screen share, where I could see what they were doing. Also, the very first thing I taught them was how to use Git, so from the first time I could review their codes.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU ENCOUNTERED DURING THE PROCESS?
The initial list of what to teach and where to start was tricky to write. For example, I tried to google: “What does a front-end developer have to know”, but I didn’t really find anything in details.
Maybe sometimes it would have been easier to explain things in person, but thanks to screen sharing and Skype calls, there was not that much of a difference.
“Teaching my friends actually freed up time for me to work on my own projects that had been sitting there collecting dust for so long."
SO WHY TEACH YOUR MATES TO CODE?
You can move forward with your own projects as you can use them as example tasks.
You can work on your own projects, the ones that you always neglected due to ‘lack of time’.
You can learn a lot of new stuff on-the-go, get a better overview of what you already know and learn how to organize your existing knowledge
You can help people improve their skills and get better at the technologies that you know.
You can spend more time with your mates, so your relationships will improve.
And for good karma; coding is an extremely valuable knowledge, you might help your friends change their careers, get better jobs or you might even start working together in the future. A real win-win!
APART FROM EVERYTHING, DID YOU LEARN OR IMPROVE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS YOURSELF?
Yes, I became quite a pro in react native, a technology I always wanted to master, and I learned how to explain and provide a structure for my existing knowledge.
Check out the project that Johnny and his friends ended up creating over a weekend hackathon here.
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