What’s the Ideal Ratio Between Production and Consumption as a Coder?

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Do you feel stuck, and you don’t improve as a coder anymore?

The reason you are stuck in coding likely is that you don’t produce enough — you are consuming way too much.

It’s an ugly truth, and I’m sorry if you feel offended. It’s nonetheless the reason why you feel stuck.

The purpose of learning is not learning. It’s producing.

I am a book and course creator. Millions of people buy books and courses online these days.

However, on the supply side, millions of books in the programming space teach people to code.

Book and course producers are interested in selling you their courses.

Maybe nineteen out of twenty people are consumers. One out of twenty is a producer who wants to sell their stuff to the consumers.

I always found this nasty. I don’t want to dump stuff of no value to consumers. I want to create stuff that is valuable to consumers so that they can become a producer themself. Because I believe that a world with more producers will be much more efficient, humanity as a race will become more intelligent as a collective organism.

With more producers like Elon Musk, we will be much more able to face the challenge we meet today. We will have much more technological progress that can rescue us.

That’s at least my philosophy.

How much time you should spend producing and consuming per day?

If you follow my content, you already know that I always propose the 70%/30% ratio:

  • Production: Spend 70% of your learning time working on practical code projects.
  • Consumption: Spend 30% of your learning time reading books and going through courses.

What to produce?

Just think about tiny problems that you can solve that make life and work more efficient. If you can write a script that saves you 1% of your working time (every coder can do that), and you post the script online at Github — you can help,say, 100 people.

By helping 100 people save 1% of their time, you will have replaced the dummy work of one person, just by investing a couple of days. You will have freed up human resources out of nothing and pushed humanity one step further. And the best thing, you can capture part of this value creation for yourself.

But many people are stuck in learning mode.

They decide to invest one or two hours every day for learning. And then they do it. They read books or finish courses, and that’s it. They don’t create any value. They consume.

This is not the way to go. If you have 100 minutes of learning time every day, you should spend 70 minutes creating projects that produce value for yourself, your family, or your friends.

It doesn’t really matter so much. Just create something that performs actions in the real world and then test it.

If it doesn’t create value, throw it away and move on to the next project.

What are the benefits of a practice-first learning approach?

You will not only create more value for other people. But you will also learn faster, and capture more value for yourself. You will have better learning retention, get real-world feedback, and earn more money in the process. And you’ll have a lot of fun!

There are only advantages to this approach. Don’t waste your learning time!

Practical Tips

Over time, of course, your code will become ugly if you don’t clean it up regularly.

To clean your code, use your 30% learning time.

The 70% should be ugly. Set up your own server, use Javascript, HTML, CSS, debug, do shell scripting, and do it all without knowing more than 5% about these technologies. Don’t be afraid. Real-world coding is ugly. This is the way to go.

For a recent article, I have searched Upwork and Freelancer.com to find ten practical projects for which real freelancers earned money and which you can use to learn practical skills as a beginner. Read the article if you don’t know which projects to solve.

You can also create value by becoming a Python freelancer.

If you are serious about spending your learning time on practical projects and want to earn money in the process, check out my course “Become Python freelancer in your Coffee Break”.

This course is only for ambitious coders who commit to reaching Python mastery.