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How to come up an idea which matched on personal limited skills? (assume you do it by yourself and have limited information)

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Junior IT Support at Taro Community2 months ago

I used to try several courses to learn C++ for Unreal Engine, however after I finished all of them, I even can't came up an idea to make a project which matched on personal limited skills. As a result I tried lowering my expectations by finding it the most basic one (I found CS50 - programming with Scratch) to build logical thinking skills. When I did the assignment (the assignment has specific perquisite), unfortunately it turns out I trapped into tutorial hell and I still can't came up an idea. Feeling burnout, I decided to take a break for few days because I believe good idea doesn't come from burnout. But after few days recovered I somehow came up an idea by looking past interest game and turns it into my assignment , however after did a few days, my idea didn't match my knowledge skills. (in this moment I don't know about Jointaro yet)

I understand programming is about doing and doing as this video explains and also communication . But I'm struggling to find the solutions based on my current situation. A lot of advice and courses on internet are omnipresent, and the comments more or less just say "thank you for your advice" or "Great video" whatsoever (especially YouTube) . I tried some of them based on my current situation, however I realized there is no progress and I slowly doesn't have principle of life.

Sorry if my questions seems so futile for experienced software engineer. However I want to give it a shot to breakdown my own problem. If you think my situation has something off, feel free to ask so there will be no misunderstanding. Thank you for your attention.

Additional: I also find out whether I write blog or write questions, it takes me a lot of time (maybe 1 - 3 hours or could be more depending the complexity), because I try every possibilities to avoid misunderstanding or miscommunication. I believe people who smart at great university or company might not need take such hours to do so.

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Discussion

(10 comments)
  • 10
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    I've seen this happen a lot for junior engineers: They can't come up with an idea that's actually feasible. This is very common for software engineers in general as they're bombarded by all these engineers and tech companies building huge, grandiose projects and are pressured to do the same.

    My advice is to build out an idea that's insanely simple. I'm talking so simple that it almost feels stupid (or heck, it actually feels stupid). If you get that stupid feeling, that probably means the idea is good.

    After you come up with this simple idea, break it down into even smaller pieces with the art of decomposition: "How do I make software less overwhelming?"

    In terms of how to come up with the idea, I recommend going through these in order:

    • 1
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      Junior IT Support [OP]
      Taro Community
      a month ago

      Thank you Alex, this is a comprehensive advice.

  • 4
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    Eng @ Taro
    2 months ago

    unfortunately it turns out I trapped into tutorial hell and I still can't came up an idea

    If you are doing this to learn programming, you can try to build something that already exists.

    Additional: I also find out whether I write blog or write questions, it takes me a lot of time (maybe 1 - 3 hours or could be more depending the complexity), because I try every possibilities to avoid misunderstanding or miscommunication.

    You'll get better with both skills over time if you keep the habit up over a long period of time. I would set a time limit for yourself because you'll probably get diminishing returns in quality.

    • 0
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      Junior IT Support [OP]
      Taro Community
      a month ago

      Thank you Charlie for the answers.

      If you are doing this to learn programming, you can try to build something that already exists.

      In your opinion, does it mean is it okay to have the exact the same of code (not by 100% just copy-paste, but first try my best to understand the explanation then following along) or maybe if I want to add an extra little feature (tried to get more Idea btw), can I do it the same way? I'm afraid if I do this over time, it will return the same problem, also can't explain to myself what the syntax or function used for. I would appreciate any corrections you can give me.

      I would set a time limit for yourself because you'll probably get diminishing returns in quality.

      Yes, at this moment I'll mostly get diminishing returns in quality.

      Update for the reply below

      @CharlieVuong: Charlie, thank you for your strategy. I Really appreciate.

    • 1
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      Eng @ Taro
      a month ago

      I would try to do this without looking at the code to see how far you can get. Really struggle on the problem because that's where the learning will take place. Try to think of 3-5 different solutions to solve the problem. And remember, the solution doesn't have to be the best solution.

  • 12
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    My very concrete algorithm:

    1. Find a tutorial and complete the project with the instructor. Type out every line, don't copy/paste code.
    2. Now do the exact same project again, using the tutorial
    3. Now do the exact same project, but only use the tutorial for every other step
    4. Now do the exact same project, but don't use the tutorial at all
    5. Now do the same project, but deviate from the tutorial in some way

    At the end, you'll have 5 folders, each containing a version of the tutorial. And you'll feel very confident in your understanding of it. This will be the foundation for you to do something on your own. I'm very confident this will work, even if it's tedious.

    I also find out whether I write blog or write questions, it takes me a lot of time

    Two thoughts:

    1. Write more questions and more blogs, even if you don't end up submitting them in a public forum. Write for yourself and keep it in a daily diary.
    2. Put yourself in an environment where interaction with other good devs is frequent. You can learn from how quickly they ask/answer questions.
    • 1
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      Junior IT Support [OP]
      Taro Community
      a month ago

      Thank you Rahul for the answers.

      At the end, you'll have 5 folders, each containing a version of the tutorial. And you'll feel very confident in your understanding of it. This will be the foundation for you to do something on your own. I'm very confident this will work, even if it's tedious.

      I acknowledge that I can't handle the tedious of repetition because in the middle of doing this, there are some thoughts such as:

      1. "does my repetition way is not effective? (at that moment I just ended did twice following along because failed to grasp the point)"
      2. "is the course really based on industry standard? (even though I understand that I must have strong fundamental skills)"

      However, I'll do my best do handle the boredom of training every day even though I still figure it out, However I confident your concrete algorithm works for me.

      Two thoughts:

      1. Write more questions and more blogs, even if you don't end up submitting them in a public forum. Write for yourself and keep it in a daily diary.
      2. Put yourself in an environment where interaction with other good devs is frequent. You can learn from how quickly they ask/answer questions.

      Thank you, I believe number 2 is the most effective way to improve my dynamic state skill as I will probably deal a lot of counterintuitive moment. I need to get used to it.

      Update for the rest of reply below

      @RahulPandey: Rahul, Thank you for helping me to clear my doubt. I'll absolutely try the algorithm and I'm sorry if my response seems like finding an excuse.
      @ChristianVuye: Christian, thank you for your approach.

    • 2
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      Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
      a month ago

      Try out the algorithm and let us know how it goes! I would put a pause on any concern you have around "is the course really based on industry standard?"

      Once you pick a tutorial, be extremely stubborn with completing the algorithm. And only once it's done, then evaluate if it was good or not.

  • 2
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    Entry-Level Software Engineer at Honda
    a month ago

    I have also experienced this myself. My current approach is to ask friends, acquaintances, and my network what problems they have that technology could solve and work from there. If you can solve a real problem for one person, you provide value while learning simultaneously.

    • 1
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      Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
      a month ago

      I love this strategy. This is how I built my Random Name Picker app (1,000,000+ users): I did it for one of my best friends who was a math teacher at the time and needed an app to call on students at random in his class.