You Should Learn to Program With Small Projects

If you hang out in the technology/startup space for long enough, eventually you’ll encounter this concept of The Lean Startup™. There’s a whole book about it, but it basically boils down to “get your idea out there as fast as possible”. This is the whole idea of having a tight feedback loop. The tighter your feedback loop is, the more often you can improve.

I think this concept is really important for just about everything.

Let’s think about it in the context of learning programming. The job of a programmer is to solve problems for people. So logically, in order to become the best programmer you can be, shouldn’t you spend your time practicing solving problems?

There are all kinds of resources that will teach you what an if statement or a function is. But how do you learn to solve problems?

You build stuff.

Small things at first, but those small things can become bigger things as you learn to problem solve.

Programming languages are just that, languages. They exist to say things, and the things they say to a computer are instructions on how to solve problems. Building your programming vocabulary is just as important as learning how to solve problems.

But starting small has all kinds of advantages.

Projects are Easier to Plan Out.

If you start with a big giant project, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed can lead to quitting altogether, and nobody wants that.

It’s Easier to be Accountable

Compared to giant projects, and especially compared to not working on a project at all, working on small projects makes it easier to hold yourself accountable for your goals.

It’s a lot easier to ask yourself, “Did I finish this week’s small project?” than “Did I make enough progress this week on this year’s large project?”. And it’s way easier than “Did I learn enough stuff this week?”

There are all kinds of ways to learn a new skill. Whatever works best for you, I encourage you to consider how large your feedback loop is.

If you’re looking for resources on what your small projects should be, I’ve got this list of 100+ project ideas, and you can get a new project idea in your inbox every week, and so much more by joining the Weekly Project Club here ⬇️.

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