3 min read

Learning on Twitch

Watch someone live code online…why would I do that? Hopefully I can answer this question for you in today’s post.

This is the second post in my blog series that describes the value developers can get from social media, including what I’ve learned about specific social media platforms. Today we’ll focus on Twitch, specifically how developers can benefit from viewing its live streams.

Interactive (and realistic) alternative to scripted training

There’s a ton of value that developers can get out of traditional, scripted trainings, which you can find on many existing channels, from YouTube to Pluralsight. These have definitely helped me throughout my career.

However, live streamed coding platforms, including Twitch, offer an alternative that is very effective at realistically capturing what it takes to be a successful developer: the ability to solve practical problems in real-time.

On Twitch, you don’t get the curated clips — you get all tips and tricks, the successes and the stumbles, that are involved in live coding. Like in this recent clip from LuckyNoS7evin – here a fellow dev streamer shared where the chat helps him fix an issue he faced. You also get a diversity of perspectives across different streams – there’s usually more than one way to solve a problem and it’s oftentimes helpful to hear multiple views.

LuckyNoS7evin on Twitch

LuckyNoS7evin during one of his Twitch streams

Having direct access to the presenter, including the ability to ask real-time questions, is also a huge plus. You not only feel more connected to the content, but also get the opportunity to personalize the training to precisely what you need to learn.

Technology 101 – for newbies and pros

Maybe you’re just getting started in tech and you want to gain exposure to more experienced developers to hone your career path. Twitch is a great window into what it’s like to be a developer working through real world scenarios. As mentioned earlier, the gritty reality of what it takes to code through problems doesn’t always come through in more traditional, scripted training content. However, Twitch streams can give you a taste of whether or not a dev career path is a fit for you, as well as what technologies you’d like to learn first.

This benefit also applies to experienced programmers. Maybe there is a new framework or technology you’re interested in and want to learn more – Twitch is an easy forum to pop into a stream and get quick exposure to something new. Also, sometimes you don’t need to master a technology. You simply need a way to get familiar with it – what are the gotchas and pitfalls or what scenarios should I avoid. An example of this is when the funfunfunction stream had Dan Abramov join as a guest to teach MPJ React Hooks for the first time. It was a great way for viewers to get a feel for what React Hooks are about.

snapshot from the funfunfunction show

funfunfunction stream on Twitch

The company can be nice

Are you a remote worker? Do you sometimes feel disconnected in your home office, but aren’t really interested in camping out at your local coffee shop?

I’m in my home office day-in and day-out and I sometimes miss those connections that happen organically in a traditional office space.

Okay, maybe not that Office Space, but there are days when I would like to hear more than my own voice (in my head). With Twitch, I’ll pop open a programming stream, into another tab, and let that run in the background and it feels like we’re there working together on the project. It’s like being in a co-working space – if I hear something that piques my interest, I can chime in via the chat.

Want to try Twitch out? Here’s a team of live coders on Twitch, including many of my favorites, like Suz Hinton, who inspired me to start live coding.

Check back next month for the third post in this series, when we’ll take a deeper look at how to engage on Twitch, including the culture around Twitch, my favorite features and functionality, and more. Other questions or topics you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments.

Of course, you can always catch up with me on social via the following channels: