What a Full Stack Developer's Youtube history can do for you (Five channels to consider watching)
Probably less than your search history, but that's between you, your God, and your country's national security agency...
5 min read
I've been in school for over a year now learning Mobile Design and Development, and there's one recurring medium for learning that I never expected would be so helpful to me during my studies:
If I had to describe my internet activity, I would probably say I'm a stone's throw from terminally online. The internet is where I consume media and news, it's the source of the majority of my social activities, and nearly all of my schooling is done online. So it makes sense to use it as a medium for learning.
I was pretty skeptical about it at first. For the longest time, Youtube was where I would find funny videos to send to friends, and I had a hard time imagining it as a platform for developers to share their skills and insights with others.
The truth is, Youtube can be just as effective at teaching programming skills as a classroom, possibly more effective depending on the type of learner you are. So, here are five channels I've been paying attention to that I found useful along the way. (In no particular order)
Tiff In Tech
I think a lot of college students will look at how quickly they can get a job post-graduation as a the single-most important criteria for their program of choice. I know I had a lot of questions about the skills I would learn in my current program and how relevant they would be when I was finished.
While I was doing research for a program, I stumbled on Tiff In Tech's channel. She has a lot of videos that talk about skills you can use to keep up to date in the industry, and to improve your future prospects. When I found out the skills I would learn in my current program aligned with a lot of her suggestions, I felt more confident in my decision.
I found Google Developers' Flutter Widget of the Week playlist to be extremely handy when I was first learning Flutter. These videos would be less than two minutes and would breakdown how different widgets worked in a digestible way. You'd get a brief explanation of what the widget was and examples of where you might use it. Most videos also demonstrated a feature of each widget and how your code would look as you change any of its properties.
As a student with a limited attention span and multiple classes and topics in a school term to juggle, having a format or style like this was extremely helpful for me.
The Coding Train
As I've learned to code, I've found that watching people while they are coding and explaining their thought process can be extremely insightful for developing my own skills.
I've also developed an appreciation for coding challenges. Not for me to participate in, of course, but to watch other people take these challenges.
The Coding Train has a large playlist of challenges that they undertake. Some are as short as 5 minutes while others last an hour or more.
I've found these challenges to be very entertaining to watch, as it's fun to see how other developers approach problems and start developing solutions.
I especially like the shorter challenges that all play out like mad races to the finish.
I have Steve to thank for my current learning path. In the early months of the pandemic, I was thinking about taking a college program and making a career change. I was looking for something shorter, however. Preferably one or two years.
While taking a look at what was offered in my city, I noticed there was a surprising lack of information from past students about the quality of programs at Algonquin College.
The only program that seemed to attempt to have an online presence was the MADD program, or Mobile Application Design and Development.
Steve had an AMA on Reddit in the months leading up to the fall terms, and after finding his Youtube channel I had a strong feeling about the program. Steve has been the program coordinator for years and puts a lot of effort into making sure the program teaches students modern, relevant technologies and tools that can help them get employed.
Okay, bear with me for a second here...
I'll admit that I'm including this channel lightly and that you probably won't learn some new insights about an emerging technology that's been whispered about in the office.
There's one reason in particular that I recommend this channel, and it doesn't have very much to do with development at all. It has to do with the channel's creator and where they are today, compared to their early days on Youtube, and even his career as a developer.
Michael Reeves was born in Hawaii and learned to code in high school. He worked in software development after graduation writing in C#. During this time, he created a youtube channel for C# tutorials and tutored high school students in his area.
Michael Reeves' channel started with a series of simple C# tutorials targeted toward beginners. These tutorials were very simple and straightforward, such as outputting text to the console, using If statements, and getting the user to input text.
Reeves' tutorials were also very casual and full of his brand of humor: a mix of self-deprecation, psychosis and sarcasm. While his videos were primarily made for entertainment, he also intended that they be educational.
His channel rapidly shifted into a comedic direction, where he would make robots with questionable purposes. These include a laser that shines directly into your eye, a confetti cannon, a Roomba that screams when it bumps into stuff, and a cup that tazes you if you don't drink from it fast enough.
Okay okay so, why this channel?
Because really, you never know where you're going to be in five years. As you keep learning, creating things, and going through experiences, you'll inevitably be set down a path you didn't fully expect to take.
I first saw Michael Reeves' tutorials a year after graduating college, and never expected such a major content shift. It's nice to think about the future with wonder, excitement and anticipation for what might happen.