Kent sometimes jokes that the C in Kent C. Dodds stands for content. He's written so many quality articles it may as well be true! Kent is the author of almost 200 posts and is the instructor behind Epic React and Testing JavaScript. He joins us today to talk about productivity and intentional career building for junior developers.

Transcript

Alex Booker:
Hello, coders and welcome to the Scrimba Podcast. On this show I speak with developers about the secrets force multipliers you can unlock, when learning to code and applying for junior developer jobs. For example, if you're learning React then good. If you join a React help discord channel and help others, that's even better. And if you can turn your answers into blog posts, that is literally exceptional. Less than 1% of people do that and it will make you stand out.

Alex Booker:
Now you're learning to code, right? You're learning React in this case. You're blogging, you're building a second brain you can look up in the future, if you have the same problem again. You're practicing communication skills when you listen and understand the problem in the first instance, practicing written communication skills when you convey the answer and tactical concepts in a clear and understandable way.

Alex Booker:
Crucially, you're proving your knowledge in public, increasing your chance of someone finding you and recruiting you. And if you happen to apply and go to them, now you're greasing the wheels for the interview process because they know that you know your stuff. It's an example of a force multiplier. This is one example of amplifying your efforts to produce more outputs. My guest today is Kent C. Dodds. And in this interview, he will teach you to get more done as a junior dev with the same amount of efforts.

Alex Booker:
Kent sometimes jokes that the C in Kent C does stand content. It's actually mad, how many times Kent brings up his blog in this interview, as almost a second brain to supplement his knowledge. And I tried to link all the posts he mentioned in the show notes. Kent used to work at PayPal, but nowadays he's a full-time educator and open source contributor. A little later in the episode, Kent and I give you some specific, actionable challenges, to help you accelerate your career and put some of the things we talk about to action immediately. So you can look forward to that. Until then, lets gets into it. Kent welcome to the Scrimba Podcast.

Kent C. Dodds:
Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be your guest on this show.

Alex Booker:
I think a lot of people, they are learning to code and they are aspiring to get their first job as a developer. Normally a junior developer, but some people skip steps, some people become freelancers. But no matter the person listening's objective, it's almost like there's a gap between where they are and where they're trying to get as a junior. I wanted to ask you in your experience, what are the things that people can look to do, to accelerate the closing of their gap to find the opportunities they're looking for?

Kent C. Dodds:
I've thought about this a lot. One of the first talks that I ever gave, was titled Zero to 60 in Software Development. How to jumpstart your career. And I had been in industry for like a year and a half, maybe two years by then. And my career got off to a really fantastic start. And I had a lot of people asking me questions about that. And so, people can go find that talk. That was kind of my answer.

Kent C. Dodds:
But basically, everybody is limited on the amount of time that you have. And there's no shortcut to experience. Everybody has 24 hours in the day. You have to sleep hopefully like seven to eight hours of that. And so your ability to make that leap from totally beginner to experience developer, is highly dependent on what you do with that time. Like I said, the fact is there's no shortcut to experience. You have to put the time in.

Kent C. Dodds:
But there are different things you can do at that time, that can give you a better return on that investment of time. The mistake that a lot of people make, is they go to Epic React or testing JavaScript, or heaven forbid a Udemy course of some kind. And they just spend all of they're time consuming information, consuming knowledge. And consumption is a really important aspect of learning. But it's only one part of what's important about learning. And arguably it's the least important part of learning, is consuming information.

Kent C. Dodds:
What consuming information can do for you, is it can kind of help you leap frog some of the things that you would have to kind of stumble around learning, right? And so you're stumbling in the dark to understand your surroundings. Consuming courses and stuff like that, depending on how effective it is, it can help you kind of leap frog that. And it's like turning a light switch on. And okay, now I have a lay of the land, I know what's around me. But the more important thing that you can do for your learning, is to actually build things and then teach what you've learned, from the process of building those things.

Kent C. Dodds:
A lot of newer developers make the mistake of maybe being afraid to take the leap into actually building something. And on your own, it's not just following a tutorial. That's great. It's better than just reading the tutorial. Following the tutorial is the next step up. But if you really want to accelerate your experience gathering, then you need to have experiences. And consuming other people's material is, is not having experiences. That's exposing you to what is possible. That's not how you develop experience necessarily.

Kent C. Dodds:
So anyway, it comes down to building things based on the things that you've consumed, based on what you know as possible. And that's where the bulk of your experience comes. And then you solidify that knowledge, by teaching what you've learned to other people. Even if, let's say that you go through Epic React, you've learned everything that you need to know about React to build an application. Then you build an application and you're like, great. I have learned a lot of really great things, but I haven't learned anything in that experience that isn't already in Epic React.

Kent C. Dodds:
A lot of people make this mistake as well, where they say, "Well, the content already exists. There's no reason I need to teach that." And there is a reason. This is another common mistake that I see people. Where they're like, "Oh, I don't have anything new to share." That's not why you share. The reason that you share, is to solidify the understanding your mind. And you'll be surprised to find that there're a lot of people who really appreciate your perspective that you bring to the conversation.

Kent C. Dodds:
And especially if you speak a language other than English, you can reach a lot more people than I can. You'll be surprised how many people you reach by sharing things that already exist. And again, that's not even the reason you do it. The reason you do it, is to solidify your understanding of what you've learned. So anyway, that's just a bunch of words that hopefully one of those answered your question.

Alex Booker:
I think you're absolutely spot on. There is a great book called, Make it Stick, that dives into the science of learning. In that book, it also describes how, when people are studying, they often reread, reread, highlight, all this kind of stuff. When we bring that into the coding world, that's exactly how people get stuck in this kind of tutorial help, purgatory, where they're doing a lot of work, they're paying a lot of time in, but they're not making the progress they want to see necessarily.

Alex Booker:
And the other thing you mentioned, which I really liked is the word experience, because I think it's all about experience. That's exactly what that gap is. It's like closing that experience gap. And then I think that often people think that the measure of experience is time. What do you think? Does time tell you how experienced an engineer is?

Kent C. Dodds:
No way, no way. I want to touch on the, Make it Stick book. Just like plug that again. That was transformative to me and how I teach. And I have a blog post titled, How I Teach, that dives into how I teach. But yeah, so time is a very important factor and the experience that you have, but you get experienced by having experiences. And I have another blog post about this. It's called, How to Get Experience as an Engineer. It seems obvious, but this is really, really true.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so let's take an analogy. If you're trying to build muscle in your arm, then you wouldn't go running, right? If you want to build arm muscle, you're going to lift weights, or you're going to do pushups, or whatever. You're not going to do a completely unrelated activity. And I'm not much of a muscle builder myself, but it's my understanding that you don't do the exact same exercise over and over either, because that's not good for your body.

Kent C. Dodds:
And it's the same thing with our brains. If you just write used state a million times, you're not going to be really good at managing state in a React application. You have to expose yourself to problems. That's where experience comes from. Varied, diverse problems. And problems where you're not just given the answer. If you're just following a tutorial all the time, where the answer is just always given to you and especially where lots of the tutorials you find are free and so nobody's being paid to create them. So they may not be the best quality.

Kent C. Dodds:
There are some resources that deliver the content in such a way that does give you the exercise that you need. Specifically, Epic Reacts is really geared for this type of learning. But there's a lot of material out there, that is basically like, all right here, I'm going to help you bench press. Here's how you bench press. And then they take all the weights off. And so you're just bench pressing the bar and you're not getting any strength out of that. Maybe you get tons of reps and it feels like you're getting a lot of strength, but you're really not.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so you have to be careful of the type of material and content that you consume. Just doing the same thing over and over again, is not going to give you the experience that you need. You need varied experience, you need to expose yourself to problems. And the way that you find the problems, is you create them. You're like you say, "Hey, I want to solve this problem in my life." Sometimes maybe that's ambitious as you're getting started. And so what I suggest people do, is they rebuild something that already exists.

Kent C. Dodds:
So like make a Twitter clone or something. And the reason that I suggest that, is then you can focus on solving the problems. You can find a reference implementation to see, okay, how did they solve this problem? Okay, I'm going to do something similar to that. But you're not looking at their code. They're not giving you the solution, you're just looking at their general approach. And then you also don't have to make product decisions and stuff like this. Like should I allow people to edit? Nope. Twitter doesn't. So I guess I won't.

Kent C. Dodds:
What's cool about that, is then you can slowly enhance it with your own flare and say, "I am going to make it so you can edit tweets. But only after the first 60 seconds after tweeting." All of these things are going to present problems to you that you can solve. And that's how you build your mental muscles on whatever it is you're trying to gain experience on. And so, yeah, it really comes down to having experiences.

Kent C. Dodds:
It is correlated with time, but correlation doesn't apply causation and especially in software. I was pretty surprised when I started in the industry and after just like a year, in fact, it was a few months and I was already speaking internationally and giving workshops. And what I realized was, time is funny in software because things change so rapidly. You can be in the industry for a couple of months and have more experience in this new thing, than people have been in for years. Because they haven't had the problem that, that new thing solves, or they're using a different solution that may be older, or even new, or just a different one.

Kent C. Dodds:
I worked part-time when I was going through school for about a year. And then I graduated, converted to full-time. And it was like four months later and I hopped around to different jobs and I was making six figures. In the United States ... Everywhere in the world is different, but in the United States to get to six figures is definitely within reach of most software developers. But within four months of graduating, that is not common. And I attribute that to my relentless focus on what I spent my time doing, rather than just spending time doing things. It has a lot to do with what you spend your time doing.

Alex Booker:
Hey, it's Alex here coming to you from post-production land. Would you do as a favor? If you enjoy the Scrimba Podcast, please recommend it to your friends. Word of mouth is the single best way to support a podcast that you like. So thanks in advance. Next Tuesday, you'll hear from Darin Doria, who is a Senior Engineer at a company called Wistia. I asked him to differentiate internships from junior developer positions.

Darin Doria:
When you're looking at it from the point of an employer, when you're hiring an intern, there's the expectation of, there's more mentorship involved. Whereas with the junior, there's more expectation that they'll actually contribute to projects earlier on in their onboarding. Of course, there's still going to be dabs helping them out, but it'll be way less handholding. More like artistic coaching, maybe more like pair programming. Interns I think just still get paid. They're probably going to be paid on an hourly basis. Whereas a junior, that person is expecting a full-time salary.

Alex Booker:
If you're keen to hear from a senior engineer to see what you can learn, remember to subscribe to the podcast on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, whichever app you happen to use. I just hope to see you again next Tuesday. Back to the interview with Kent. Literally every job add, especially for junior, asks for years of experience.

Kent C. Dodds:
Yeah.

Alex Booker:
And what you're telling us, is that time doesn't correlate some experience necessarily.

Kent C. Dodds:
Yeah. I was a senior engineer in four months after graduating. And like I said, I was part-time as an intern for about a year, a year and a half. I didn't come in with no experience or anything, but I was 20% architect at my second job, four months after having graduated. The reason that job postings will ask for, or specify amount of time, is because there's no way to quantify experience. Frankly, I never looked at job postings. With my internship with Domo, I did apply to that job after school and I never looked at another job posting. I never applied to another job that didn't reach out to me.

Kent C. Dodds:
If I had, I probably would have seen a lot of job postings that say, we need three years of experience to fill this role, or whatever it is. I did not have three years. Even when I started at PayPal as a Senior Engineer there, I did not have three years of experience by that time. I only had, yeah, that was like a year and a half when I joined PayPal as a Senior Engineer. So yeah, time is just because they can't quantify experience.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so if you're looking at a job posting and you're like, oh my gosh, they want like five years of experience for this position, apply anyway who cares? That don't know what they're talking about anyway. They're trying to say, we want somebody who has experience and the only way that they can try and communicate that, is by saying years of experience. But yeah, it's very limitedly correlated.

Alex Booker:
This is so true. I think recruiters are a bit overly ambitious sometimes they might be described. But going back to that analogy about closing the gap, well here's what I think is interesting. We spoke about some ways to accelerate closing that gap, mainly to focus on building projects it sounds like an active recall and these kinds of things. But another thing you could consider doing, is shortening the gap. What I mean by that, is I think a lot of aspiring junior dabs, they set a very, very high bar for themselves. And once they decide they want to pursue it, they're like one more project. Or let me get one more certification. And it goes on forever. Right? What's your take? When do you think someone's ready to start applying?

Kent C. Dodds:
Oh man. Yeah, I've seen this. I have a really good friend of mine who was in a bootcamp. And we went out to lunch and he was saying, "Yeah, I'm thinking once I'm done with the bootcamp, I'll work on stuff for six months and then start applying." And I was like, "Dude, don't do that." And he did, but I was like, "Don't do that." I talked about this quite a bit on another podcast. So you can find all the other podcasts I've been on, on my appearances page. If you go to kentcdodds.com/appearances, it's a pretty recent one.

Kent C. Dodds:
But anyway, I talked at length about what I would do, if I didn't have a job right now? And I was just getting into software. Or what I would tell myself. Now what I'm going to tell myself, maybe different from what I would tell somebody else because I know myself better. But here's what I would do, is I would immediately start applying. Immediately. I know nothing about software. I would immediately start applying. Because what that's going to do, is it's going to force me to figure stuff out. Like oh shoot, I've got a job interview tomorrow.

Kent C. Dodds:
And you don't lie. So your resume says, I have zero experience. So you may not even get through that resume filter. Okay. So you're going to not get through a bunch of filters. So what? Keep applying, keep a list of all the places you've sent your resume to. And when your resume gets an update, then send the updated one. Unless they're jerks, they're not going to keep track and be like, oh, this guy or whatever. So yes, I would immediately start applying. I would probably spend about two hours a day, looking for a job, applying to different things.

Kent C. Dodds:
I would get something like Epic React and I'd also learn JavaScript. And I would go through that material to kind of turn the lights on in the room. So I get a lay of the land of what's available there. Epic React is especially useful because it also gives you the experience. So it's more than just showing you what's possible, but it also is very exercise driven. Epic React is here, let me show you a problem. You solve the problem. And then when you're done, I'll show you how I solved it.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so you get a lot of experience. I would get that and I would go through that material while I'm applying for jobs the whole time. So do not say, I need one more certification. If you need one more certification, go ahead and get it while you're applying for jobs. And I bet, that you will find a job before you finish getting that certification. If you really actually need that certification for some reason, you've convinced yourself, you need it. And if you happen to be right, once you do finish getting that certification, then you'll get your job. And that'll be great too.

Kent C. Dodds:
But start applying now. Make a goal to apply to two different companies every day, or spend two hours a day, trying to get a job. And also, if I didn't have a job right now, I would still work at least eight hours a day. I'd spend time looking for a job and then I'd spend time getting experience, having experiences and doing stuff to make my resume get through more filters.

Alex Booker:
It's like the age old saying, if you don't have a full-time job, your full-time job is to find a full-time job.

Kent C. Dodds:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And it's kind of the sad state of affairs that in our world, our value is measured a great deal by what we do for our employment. And maybe one day we'll have a utopian society, where our value can be derived from more than our labor. But the fact is that right now, that's kind of where we're at and we need to just do our best with the cards that we've been dealt. I agree with that statement. And I'm also sad about the fact that that's what it has to be, but it is. It's what it has to be.

Kent C. Dodds:
And getting a full-time job, isn't isn't all that bad anyway, because lots of jobs are very fulfilling. You want to find a place where you agree with the mission. It's a lot easier to be happy with your job, if what you're doing is a mission that you can personally get behind. You'll be way more effective. Don't go work for a company that you don't feel or shares your values. Getting that job earlier sooner, will get you more experience and if it's fulfilling work, then it's desirable. So go get it.

Alex Booker:
It's interesting that you recognize it's not the most ideal situation, but it's the reality. And if we are going to deal with this reality, you should do the most, to have an advantageous position, which based on your own description you have, right? You don't go looking for the jobs, they come to you at this point. And I think it's great that as we're speaking, it's almost like your blog is a second brain. You're like, I don't remember it all stuff in my head, but I've written about it. And this brings us very nicely onto learning in public, I think, which is something that you've been a huge proponent of, for as long as I've known you.

Kent C. Dodds:
Yeah. You mentioned you had Shawn Wang Swyx on the show earlier. And I remember when I first met him, he actually watched the Zero to 60. How to jumpstart your career talk that I gave. And he reached out to me and he just said it was really awesome. And out of that, what I talked about, he kind of branded it as learn in public. And now it's built the coding careers platform on that and everything. He's really taken off and run with that. A very inspiring individual.

Kent C. Dodds:
I think that learning in public, is in my experience, it has been the only way to go about it. It can be kind of scary. What if I share something wrong? Well, then you'll be corrected. So what? I've had a couple of situations where I taught people the wrong thing. A particular instance, was I misunderstood how named exports work in JavaScript modules. And I thought that you could do export default on object. And then you could import those properties of that object as named imports. That's not at all how that works.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so when Babel fixed the bug that enabled that, I had like a midlife crisis. Everything that I understood, is wrong. And it was awful because I taught people how to do things the wrong way. And so I wrote a blog post and I made a talk, to teach it the right way. And so now I've taught way more people the right way to do this, than learned it the wrong way. If you're worried that you're going to teach somebody to do something wrong, or if you're worried that people are going to tell you that you're wrong, I would say, I understand how you feel and it is a valid feeling that you have, but you need to get over it, because it's the most effective way that I found to progress.

Kent C. Dodds:
And you can take notes in your own notebook, or in your notion or whatever and that's fine. You can take those notes, but as soon as you say, "Ah, I'm actually going to make this a blog post, or I'm going to put this in a public GitHub repo or something. As soon as you do that, your brain automatically is going into self-preservation mode, where it's like, okay, I need to make sure that this is high quality. Otherwise, people are going to laugh at my drawings or whatever it is you do.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so the process of making it higher quality, will force you to start asking questions like, "Is this correct? Let me just go double check that. I'm going to go to MDN. I'm going to read about this." That's where this knowledge solidification comes from, that process of taking what you think you know, and making certain that you know it. Years ago on JavaScript Air, Ashley Williams was a guest. I think it was the first episode. And she said, "Teaching is nature's way of showing you how sloppy your understanding is."

Kent C. Dodds:
I love that. I used that as a quote a lot. We talked about consuming and the important role that plays, we talked about building, solidifying what you were learning through all that process, comes from the teaching. And so, yeah, learn in public. That's how you increase the return on your investment of time. When you're trying to close that gap between beginner and experienced developer.

Alex Booker:
It's like a force multiplier of everything you're doing, right? Because you're learning something, now you're learning it better because you're writing it. And also you're creating more opportunities for yourself. Here's another concept from the coding career handbook. And I'm sure it's been adopted from another article, but this idea of a luck surface area, which is that there isn't such a thing as just lucky people, right? Luck comes to people who work for it. When hard work meets opportunity, great things happen. Same kind of idea.

Alex Booker:
And of course, when you're writing, you never know what's going to happen, but you have a surface area. Now people can find you and invite you to write a gas post, or do some freelance work, or even a job. And the other thing is, if you do go through the more recruitment process, right, where you apply and stuff like that, just by virtue of having a blog, you're in the 1% effectively. And that's going to help your profile stand out and earn you the interview. Plus once you're there, possibly having already written about some things and solidified your knowledge, you'll be in a better situation to succeed.

Kent C. Dodds:
Absolutely. In that talk, Zero to 60 in software development, I share a bunch of quotes. And one of them is from Tom Shippey. I pulled it up right now because I can't remember it. But he says, "Well, persistence offers no guarantees. It does give luck a chance to upgrade." There's no such thing as lucky people, it's just people who are persistent. Especially early on in my career, I was really intentional about making it easy for people to give me good opportunities.

Kent C. Dodds:
My username is the same everywhere, my profile picture is the same everywhere. And so I'm easily recognizable. People know who I am. And my profile picture is a picture of me. And I realized that's a position of privilege. I know that some people have some issues that they have to deal with in life, and that makes it difficult. But having it consistent at least, is really important. I keep a playlist of all of my talks and workshops that I've given on YouTube. And if I'm speaking at a meetup, that's not recording it, I record my screen. And I put that up on YouTube.

Kent C. Dodds:
We're creating content constantly. Just kind of naturally. When somebody asks you a question at work, the answer is content. And so if it's not like a proprietary answer that you're giving them, like not something specific to PayPal's infrastructure or something, then it's probably useful to people outside of the company. And so instead of answering their question in slack, I write a blog post and I send them a link.

Kent C. Dodds:
And so you give luck a chance to operate, or you increase your luck surface area, by just increasing the areas where people can find you and give you those opportunities. I have over 180 blog posts now. A great deal of those were written to answer questions that people asked me both inside and outside of PayPal, or other companies I've worked at. So learning in public, taking the content you're already creating, putting it in a format that can be consumed by the public and then just making it really easy for people to find you and interact with you. All of those things have been really helpful in my career.

Alex Booker:
I'm not sure if you still do it mind, but I remember at one point, if somebody was doing a Google hangout with you, if you were going to explain something, I think you just live streamed it or recorded it by default, as a way to just produce more content, help more people, that kind of thing.

Kent C. Dodds:
That was actually one of the things that I did to get people to have those conversations with me. So I would say, "Hey, Dan Abramov, I want to understand more about React and Redux. I realize that you're a busy person, but if we livestream this, then you're actually helping more than just me. You're helping a bunch of people." And so he was totally, yeah, let's do it. And I did the same thing with the React team. They talked to me through the event system and how events work in React.

Kent C. Dodds:
And that's why I did Angular Air and JavaScript Air as podcasts. And why I do chats with Kent too, is it gives people a reason to want to talk to me. And now I get to talk to the creator of JavaScript, or the creator of Reactor, or Angular or whatever it is.

Alex Booker:
Amazing. I love it. And when you're a junior and you don't have many things in your resume, it's such a great way to pad your resume out in a sense. Not for an arbitrary reason, but just because it gives you more exciting things to talk about, places that demonstrates your knowledge and enthusiasm. So I think if someone's listening and they're not hyped to start landing in public, I'm curious to know why. Because I think there are so many compelling reasons. And there are some barriers. You go into this self-preservation mode, it can be scary. We really want to encourage you to start doing this stuff.

Alex Booker:
That is why Kent and I have prepared some homework for you. Yes, homework from a podcast. This is officially the worst podcast ever. Really though? These are challenges that we think will help you jumpstart your learning in public experience. We want you to complete these challenges and then tell us how it went. Here is your three part challenge.

Alex Booker:
Write the blog posts you wish existed last week when you were learning something new. And then answer your coworkers question in a public space like YouTube, or GitHub gist, or your own blog if you've got one and share it. And then finally, go for a walk because sometimes you need to just take care of yourself and think. So those are the challenges for you.

Alex Booker:
We'll summarize all of these challenges in just a second. But once you understand and follow through on these challenges as we hope you will, remember to share what you worked on with Kent and I on Twitter. You can share a link and then add to mention Kent, who is @kentcdodds. And me, I'm @bookercodes. And there're links can be show notes as well. Don't just shove a link, right? Tell us about the experience and if you have any challenges. Also, don't forget to send as a picture from your work because that's important. I can't speak for Kent, but I'll definitely retweet some of the posts here and there.

Alex Booker:
Let's talk about these. So writing a blog post you wish existed last week, when you were learning something new. I love the way you phrase that, because I think a lot of people think they need to be an expert to teach something. And I think coupled with that, people sometimes think, what's the point of writing versus has been written a few times before.

Kent C. Dodds:
Yeah. I mentioned earlier toward the beginning of our chat, that a big reason to write blog posts has nothing to do with how many people would read it, or whether people need your specific knowledge on this subject. The biggest reason that you do, it is to solidify what you've learned. And I actually do have a blog post about this called, Solidifying What you Learn, that you can go take a look at and get a deeper depth in that.

Kent C. Dodds:
And actually in that blog post, I mention, have you ever seen a Burger King and a McDonald's right next to each other? Or in one town in Texas, there are three Starbucks on the same corner. So there's a reason that this is the case. Burger King, McDonald's they both make burgers. So why do they both exist? It's because they have a different take and different people want the different take. But then you've got those three Starbucks. Why do those exist? Well, it's for convenience. It's more convenient for people. And each one of those Starbucks can reach people a little differently.

Alex Booker:
I want to add something to that, which is that, I've heard that the reason why there's always a KFC next to a McDonald's, or Burger King next to a McDonald's, because it makes sense of another question is in, do I want take away? It's, do I want McDonald's or Burger King? You pick which you fancy. And sometimes you pick which you think is best. So even if the content has been created before, it's possible to bring your junior dev perspective.

Alex Booker:
Maybe the reason you struggled with it, is because the original author assumed you had more knowledge than you really did, right? You can approach it from that beginner's point of view. And otherwise improve it. Whether it's more educational, funnier, clearer, infographics, a cleaner blogger is sometimes appealing.

Kent C. Dodds:
Absolutely. So those are reasons why it doesn't matter if it already exists. Outside of that, it's enough of a reason to create a blog post, or create some content because of what it does in your brain for solidifying what you understand. We all struggle with different things. Every week, there's at least one thing that you learned. That's why I say a blog post you wish existed last week. And maybe it does exist and you just don't know it, but that's irrelevant.

Alex Booker:
In the post you wrote, answer your coworkers question in a public space. Could be YouTube, a gist, a blog post and to share it somewhere. Be that on social media, or Reddit or wherever. I assume of course, coworker could be someone in your study group, or it could be someone you met on the internet. It's not important. Why is that such an important challenge to take notes of?

Kent C. Dodds:
First of all, there's so many places to get questions from people. If you don't have a job right now, join a community. I have a very active discord community. If you go to kentcdodds.com/discord, you can learn about that. And there are constantly questions on there. And I'm sure that you could answer some of the questions that people ask there. And instead of just responding to the questions, right? I mean, you can respond to it directly. But there's actually one community, it's for Remix which is a framework for React by Michael Jackson and Ryan Florence.

Kent C. Dodds:
And there's one member of that community Sergio, who will write a lengthy answer to somebody's question. And then he'll basically copy and paste his answer to a blog post. And so he's got a blog post in like 10 minutes and he publishes that. And Remix is a pretty new framework, but in the next year, his blog will be, it will be the defacto standard like Docs site basically. It's just so full of useful information.

Kent C. Dodds:
And if he had only answered the questions in the discord, then his blog would not be useful. And so first of all, finding questions to answer, is pretty straightforward if you join a community where people are asking questions. You won't be able to answer all of the questions that people ask, but latch on to those questions that you can answer and answer them in a public space. And by the end of the year, whenever you're going to have a very useful resource for people.

Alex Booker:
I love the idea of helping people with their questions because it touches on many of the things we spoke about already. It's also, I think like a simulator of what it's like to be a developer, because you never really know what problems are going to come your way. You have to be quite adaptable. And it teaches clear communication as well. Sometimes there's an answer that you have to tickle out some of the important details to give an effective answer. And I think that can only help your communication skills, which can only help you in the job when you interview, or actually start the work.

Kent C. Dodds:
Absolutely.

Alex Booker:
So Kent, I think we're pretty much out of time. I just wanted to ask you, why do you dislike Udemy?

Kent C. Dodds:
Oh man. Oh, I don't ... All right. This is spicy Kent coming up. So I know instructors who have created content on Udemy and they're great people. And it's just so sad to me, that Udemy does what they do to these wonderful people, these wonderful instructors. Udemy, it just employs a lot of dark practices. Just one obvious example that anybody who's been on Udemy for more than a couple of minutes will realize, is they're constantly down marking their courses for a limited time only. That is such a dark practice.

Kent C. Dodds:
So the course is $300 and it's $10 for a limited time only. They've got a countdown timer and we call that an anxiety clock. And that's just a dark pattern. But that wouldn't be the worst of it. The instructors have no say on when their courses go on sale. And so their royalties are effected by these sales. Udemy has basically no moderation of their content. And so my content has been copied, downloaded from Epic React and upload it to Udemy and held for sale there. Testing JavaScript as well.

Kent C. Dodds:
West boss has had his content stolen and put on Udemy. And we can get it taken down, but we have to fill out this form. So Udemy has offloaded any moderation of their content onto us. And so I, yeah despise that. They don't have any form of quality control and so the learners have to sift through just a silly amount of content. Now, luckily it's only like five or 10 bucks, so I guess that's okay but our time is valuable. And so it's not okay. They're making you pay to find out if this courses is any good.

Kent C. Dodds:
Now they do have reviews and stuff, and I don't know how good those are, but yeah, so lots of just dark patterns. They're barely better YouTube with regard to quality control. There are a lot of really great and educational YouTube channels, just like there are a lot of really great and educational courses on Udemy but you have to find them. And it's difficult to do that. And then the instructors are just treated very poorly by this platform.

Kent C. Dodds:
So yes, I despise Udemy for all of those reasons. It's just a bad company that does bad things and is not improving. So if you are a learner on that platform and you've learned stuff, I'm grateful that you have learned stuff and that's great. I'm not saying that you're a bad person for using the platform. And if you're an instructor who has taught on that platform, that's also great. I'm not saying that you're a bad person for participating in that platform.

Kent C. Dodds:
They do reach more people than I can, because the courses are affordably priced. Yeah. My courses tend to be extremely high quality and the price reflects that. But boy, what a terrible shady company. You will never see any of my content on there with my permission.

Alex Booker:
Well, Kent you're more than welcome to come and teach at Scrimba anytime.

Kent C. Dodds:
I've heard great things about Scrimba. Nothing but good things. So I think that y'all are doing good work.

Alex Booker:
Thanks so much Kent. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Kent C. Dodds:
Thank you, Alex.

Alex Booker:
That's with Kent C. Dodds. Author of Epic React and testing JavaScript. You can find all Kent's links in the show notes. Coming up next time on the Scrimba Podcast, Darin Doria joins me to talk about internships, what he looks for in interns and junior developers and his other advice as a Senior Developer. This episode was edited by [inaudible 00:37:19]. And I'm your host, Alex Booker. You can follow me on Twitter @bookercodes, where I share highlights from the podcast and other news by Scrimba. See you next week.