Sherlock Holmes’ coding secret

I’ve been on this obsessive Sherlock Holmes kick lately.

(I know, I know… NERD ALERT!)

One of the funny things about the show is how they try to “visualize” the way he thinks. He’ll have all these obscure details in his head that he’ll parse through and eventually put together to have his big “aha” moment.

And his big “secret”…

Is the ability to simultaneously hold the big picture in his mind…

While he dives into weird details to find new clues.

(The episode on “The Woman” is particularly… ahem… “entertaining”.)

It’s very much like being a web developer.

Building an application is like solving a Sherlock Holmes mystery. You have to keep the picture of the entire app in your mind… while at the exact same time… dive into the intimate details of each line of code you’re writing.

Most people would say:

“You have to be smart.”

But, that’s not true.

(I mean just look at my little brother… I mean, talk about box of rocks… geez :D)

You have to be very good at “mental abstraction”.

In fact, your skill as a developer and the complexity of the applications you can build is inextricably linked to your ability to abstract; to hold big, complex concepts in your mind and still be able to dig into the details of each.

It’s more important than any other skill you’ll learn.

Without it, you’ll always be relegated to building simple, small applications that don’t have much impact, don’t bring you much notoriety and don’t pay well to build. You can get by that way… but you’ll never have the kind of raging success most of us developers are after.

(That and you won’t get girls… which… duh… that’s all we really want, right?)

Fortunately, it’s something you can learn and get better at…

By doing it…

By actually building applications.

You’ll feel it as it grows (Not like that you, perv).

You’ll feel your mental “space” growing.

And, your ability to keep everything “together” getting better.

But again… you have to do it.

(You can’t do the Bernie Sanders economics thing… ya know… claim to be an expert without having ever owned a business or participated in the economy in any meanginful way. But I digress…)

So, as you learn…

Don’t just learn the individual skills.

Always be building something bigger along with them.

So, you can see how all the pieces fit together, you can exercise your brain and you can boost your ability to mentally abstract. The more you do it, the quicker you’ll get better at it and the faster you’ll become more of a player in the IT world.

Again… THE most important skill you can cultivate.

Don’t forget that..

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been recommending this tutorial. Because, along with the 12 other applications you’ll build… you build a large, complex and full-functioning application called YelpCamp. It’s the type of large applications that will stretch you and force your brain to get better at abstraction. And, you simply cannot grow without that mental stress.

I have yet to see a course where you build such a complex application. Which is probably why 94% of the students of this course go on to land full-time developer jobs. Look, if you’re serious about having a wildly successful IT career, you’re gonna have to put in the work.

And, this course will stress you in the right ways to grow.

But, hey… up to you.

Go here if you’re ready to challenge yourself:



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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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