Coding Tutorials vs. Documentation: Which is Better for Learning?

Coding Tutorials vs. Documentation: Which is Better for Learning?

Apr 19, 2024ยท

3 min read

Everyone wonders what's better for them: watching a YouTube tutorial or reading documentation. While some people learn better by reading and others by listening, this article will explain why both options are beneficial and when to choose one over the other.

Junior vs Senior Developers

When you're just starting out, many developers find themselves stuck in tutorial hell. A junior developer might believe that a YouTube video is more helpful because they struggle with understanding documentation.

However, watching multiple tutorials can be confusing because each instructor has their own method of explaining things. This leads to a situation where one problem has many solutions, which can be overwhelming for beginners.

Youtube Tutorials

It doesn't matter if you are a junior or senior developer; the way you watch YouTube tutorials should be consistent. Here's how I approached it when I was a junior and how I still do it today.

YouTube tutorials are better suited for larger problems, not minor issues like "how to center a div." For instance, the topics I watch on YouTube involve problems that require multiple pages of code, such as "Django crash course," "Kubernetes Overview," and "Kotlin quickstart."

So, choose to watch a YouTube video before you start a new project or before you begin developing a large feature. And watch just one; don't overcomplicate things by watching multiple videos.


Reading documentation is the most important thing and it will save you a lot of time. After watching your tutorial on Django, start by going through all the documentation to quickly understand what it is about.

Spending just a few minutes might not be enough. Instead, dedicate a good portion of your time, usually 20-30 minutes, to read through and understand the material thoroughly. Don't skip sentences or pages.

For smaller tasks like "how to create an ssl cert with certbot," read everything thoroughly and avoid jumping from website to website, as this can lead to wasting hours.

Only documentation

After a few years of coding, I mostly read documentation, though I might watch a video once a week. Reading tends to be more informative and faster. However, our modern lifestyle has led many to develop shorter attention spans, making it hard to focus on one thing for more than a minute.

If possible, I would recommend that 90% of your studying come from documentation. This approach will help you gain a deeper understanding and more comprehensive knowledge of programming.


In conclusion, coding tutorials and documentation are essential for developers at all levels. Tutorials help beginners by simplifying complex concepts and offering engaging visual and auditory learning. As developers advance, the detailed structure of documentation becomes crucial, enhancing understanding and problem-solving skills. Balancing both resources based on context and personal learning style is key for effective learning.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at, and I will respond.

You can also keep up with my latest updates by checking out my X here: