Top Down Learning Approach

April 15, 2023


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You might be recognized that I’ve written a blog about how important the fundamental is. You can access it at Things changes and now I need to add some points regarding this. I’ll explain based on my perspective as a front-end engineer.

You might hear a lot of people say, “You need to start from the basics first before jumping into libraries or frameworks”. I can say it’s right. But you need to realize that it also needs the ideal condition to learn. Ideally, you learn from the basics then continue to the advanced ones, and finally, you can go through the frameworks that you prefer.

Now, how if you need a job immediately?

Starting learning from basic may feel quite painful and takes too long while you need a job immediately for a living. I’ve met some friends and taken a look at some stories on Twitter, so many testimonials that prove you can jump directly into a framework and learn the basics while you’re using it. This learning method is usually called Top Down Learning Approach.

I actually have implemented this method since I resigned from my previous job at a software house in 2021. At that time, I only have around 3 months before my contract expired and I didn’t want to extend it. So I have to learn other newest tech stacks quickly so I can hop into the new job opportunities.

This can be very opinionated, but hopefully, it can give you some insights about how to learn new tech stacks using Top Down Learning Approach. Here are my takeaways.

Why start with the popular framework?

Simply, the more people use that framework, the bigger and wider the community support is. You can easily find so many people discussing and giving suggestions based on the problem that they had on Twitter or Stack Overflow. In other words, this thing can be good news when you’re doing troubleshooting. You can find the solution faster.

In this context, you can choose React or Vue as your first framework (or library) to learn. The job market, especially in Indonesia is quite promising if you can master this framework.

In my experience, I learn both React and Vue in a year after work. I can say that it’s worth it😄. When I did troubleshooting, so many answers and options that I can use as the solution to the problem because a lot of people use them and discuss them in the programming forum. And of course, I finally got a new job in 2022 because of this.

Learn Deeper From The Official Doc

Why not tutorials?

I didn’t say learning through tutorials is bad. A blog or video tutorial is also very helpful as a learning resource. But if you notice, the person that made the tutorial also learn from the official docs while they demonstrate the walkthrough. It validates that the official doc is the main reference.

Reading the official doc, it means you learn from its maker or contributors. You can directly figure out the concept of the tool or framework that you’re using based on their perspective. It also means you can learn how to use it in the right way by reading through the main official doc.

For example, if you’re using React, it’s very recommended to learn from React Official Docs at There are so many explanations about the concept that exists in React. I guarantee you that you can learn more through this.

If you’re a newbie, maybe reading the official docs feels so confusing because the explanation usually uses very technical terms. I’ve experienced it before. For this case, I learn through Youtube tutorials like Web Programming UNPAS to help me to understand the subject that I want to learn like CSS, JS, and HTML concepts. This is very helpful to know the basic concepts because it uses Bahasa Indonesia and Mr. Sandhika Galih’s explanation is easy to understand for me😆.

One thing that I figured out is that Mr. Sandhika Galih who created and developed Web Programming UNPAS Youtube Channel also learn and often cited references from official docs like MDN Web Docs and Tailwind CSS official site. This thing encourages me to read more through it when I need to solve my case because there are more information details in there.

Learn The Basics While You’re Using That Framework

Let me share this point based on my experience.

On November 2021, my work contract at my previous workplace expired. Four months before, I actually realized it. At first, I think I have to learn again from scratch to land my new job. But I only have four months left before the contract ends and I didn’t want to extend it.

Luckily there’s an old friend, he was my college friend before asked me to join his freelance project as a frontend developer. The project use React JS and at that time I didn’t have any experience with it. So what I do before the project begun is familiarize myself with the React concept by watching and trying the tutorial through several Youtube videos.

When I was working on the project, I realized that to understand React, I need to learn the fundamental of Javascript. This was very challenging for me because I usually use Angular at my previous workplace then I have to switch to using React which has a very different approach to work on this project.

Luckily my friend was very supportive when doing the code review. So I can learn based on his feedback and figure it out by myself by reading the references that he’s given. Day by day I tried and forced myself to revisit the JS concept to help me while working on this project.

This experience enlightened me because I learn a lot through that project. I learn new project domains, and new frameworks, and revisit the basic knowledge related to CSS and JS that I struggled with before😄. And here I am now, I work at a tech hospitality startup and use React & Vue as the main tech stack.

So in summary for this point, I directly jump into React even though I still lack Javascript fundamental skills. But along the way, I also learn the JS basics while I’m using React and working on a real project. Luckily I have a very supportive friend that can guide me through this. You can see his profile at, I learn a lot from him until now.


Yes fundamental is very important, but it doesn’t mean you have to start with it. You can also directly jump into a framework or tool and then learn the fundamental along the way with it. In other words, you can start or back to basic when you need it.

In conclusion, the Top Down Learning Approach can be a viable option for those who need to learn a new tech stack quickly. Starting with a popular framework and learning from the official doc can help you learn faster and more efficiently. Additionally, learning the basics while you're using the framework can help you gain practical experience and build your skills. Remember, everyone's learning journey is different, so don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.

Thank you for reading!

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