This is my first foray into joining a developer community! I’m excited to be here.
As every programmer’s typical first successful program is printing out Hello World! to the system console, I thought it would be a fitting description for my first post as an experienced programmer wanting to start over. Also, I can never pass up the opportunity for a good pun (sequel, SQL).
So what brings me here?
Judge me if you must...but I was watching Set It Up on Netflix, and the scene where the main character’s best friend lovingly berates her for being so afraid of to fail that she hasn’t even tried hit close to home. Of course, her first draft for the article she’s working on is going to be terrible, but she’ll go back and improve it. But she has to actually write it first.
In a similar way, I’ve been holding myself back. Perhaps a classic case of imposter syndrome. I’ve always chosen what’s safe. I dabble in things, I start online tutorials for a new framework, I bookmark helpful articles and categorize them, I sign myself up for info sessions on a certain buzzword technology or a conference, but I lose sight of the takeaway and the why. I overcommit myself and it looks something like this:
The end result is that I’ve learned about what distinguishes Angular from React, I’ve read one off articles about how to tinker with CSS, and I’ve made sure to apply to a PR at work as well as document my learnings for the future. I’ve gotten a Product Owner certification, and I’ve considered getting a Splunk Power User certification. Yet, I feel light years away from becoming a subject matter expert on any of the languages and frameworks I’ve utilized, and this is what leads to the fear of failure and of falling behind where an engineer two years post-grad should be.
However, I think it’s natural for a young professional in the tech industry to see the accomplishments of her/his peers, be it on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Facebook and become discouraged when she/he realizes there’s more she/he could be doing. It’s hard not to compare. I abandon the tutorials I’ve started when I start to feel overwhelmed, and once bookmarked, the articles I read once collect figurative dust.
As the two years in the career accelerator program I’m in wind down, there’s no time for that. I’m here in this community now to hold myself accountable to my goals. The why I seek isn’t because it will help me network or because everyone is doing it, but because it’s what truly matters to me. In true Silicon Valley fashion, I will start by productizing my goals, refining them into features, prioritizing the features based on timeframe and the value added to my career, and further refining them into action items that I can deliver over the course of 2 week sprints. Okay, mostly joking, but here’s to a focused, Marie Kondo-esque plan!