Somethings that are helpful came up at the July meetup. John knows about coding and understands how a lot of things such as databases work — John suggested that the way to learn code is to dedicate a time slot everyday to put every thing else aside and simply spend time learning. Stay very specific, if you for example want to learn HTML (which I think is a good place to start) schedule a specific time maybe 30 minutes everyday and actually spend that scheduled time learning HTML.
There are a number of ways to learn and in fact different people learn best in different ways, some learn from books, some from interactive web sites, others from lectures or interactive workshops live as in a class room, and other may learn best from videos and webinars.
So try different ways of learning and find out how you best learn and then dedicate time to learning on a very regular basis.
Paul mentioned that he spend a good many hours learning how to do a header image. And finally after a lot of agony and trial and error he was able to create a useable header image that is placed on a background. That learning introduced Paul to Gimp a free piece of software that can do many of the things that programs like Photoshop can do.
OK so you find Gimp and download it – then what? Gimp is pretty complex and not real obvious on how to use it or how it works and there is a learning curve – so the first thing to do is to look on the Gimp site for tutorials and instructions… Next go to Google and enter something like “Gimp tutorials” or “Gimp tutorial videos” – it makes no sense to attempt to just play around with complex software attempting to figure out how it works. It does make sense to see if there are instructional tutorials, or videos out there that can help and that cut down your learning curve. Something to know it is often helpful to go to You Tube and search for say “Gimp Tutorials” —
When I first got Adobe Creative Suite I went out and bought the Creative Suite 5 Design Premium for Dummies book for $40 and while I have used that book a little bit I find that it mostly just sits on the self. I found some free videos on You Tube, have found some tutorials and have found some paid webinars and on line classes that have been a lot better help for me than that $40 book. Interestingly enough I used to best learn from these large printed books – I learned a lot of complex software programs that way but I am finding that online classes, interactive training, webinars and training videos work better for me than book do.
The main thing to know about complex technical things is you will need to take the time to actually learn how to do things, understand things, and make things work. It does not work to just randomly “mess” around and push buttons not know what they do. This is true with WordPress, the themes, the plug ins as well as other tools which you may use to set up and develop web sites. Programs such as Gimp (which is FREE) or Photoshop are extremely useful to have and learn how to use. Web sites after all are words, graphics, images, videos and more.
Give yourself the time to learn, do not “get down” on yourself because you do not know how to use various software tools or know how to do things. Tech knowledge can be very difficult at least at first. Decide what you really need to learn and then dedicate and schedule blocks of time to learn.
A note of technology is changing so fast that printed books just cannot keep up and are very quickly totally out of date – one of such example is the big thick WordPress All in One for Dummies book – it costs $35 and while there is a lot of great information there written by a number of really good WordPress experts – the book is actually out of date and much of the information is no longer even valid. Best way to learn dynamically changing technology is by using dynamically changing learning tools.