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25 years of coding, and I'm just beginning

dechamp profile image DeChamp Updated on ・6 min read

TL;DR

Thanks to Miguel Piedrafita, you can listen to the audio version!

dropbox link, audio file

I've been coding 25 years, but just now realizing I have nothing to show for it. I need to get past my fears and perfectionism ideology and just put myself out there. Move past the fear of being judged. To be part of the community and share my opinions.


The Story

So I just turned 36 on January 13, 2019. That means I've been officially coding for 25 years now.

But with all that time, I've realized that all of my hard work and effort, I have nothing to show for it that is mine alone, far as my portfolio goes.

I only have websites for clients, which most are no longer up; or businesses I have worked for as an employee.

I did a lot of soul searching around this, as to why I had nothing to show for it and what was the cause of this.

It started when my buddy who had reached out to me to learn to code, calls me up one night and says "hey, checkout my website! I set it up!".

He had purchased a domain name, a Wordpress template and some cheap hosting. He set it up and filled out the content. It was live.

It looked well done. My preference would no longer be Wordpress as I prefer to build full apps using PHP or Node. But he didn't know how to code so Wordpress was a best solution for him.

I felt myself getting jealous that he had put together a great looking site within a week, after I had taught him the basics.

It wasn't jealousy of his skill set, because I know he didn't do much more than just the basics that anyone could learn in a day or two.

But it was the fact that he started the project and completed 90% of it with in a week.

He had a tangible product in such a short time.

How did he do this?! How did he overcome the fear of releasing the website with it not being in a perfect state? How did he find the motivation to create the content for the site. How did he stay focussed and not allow over design, to run him in to a rabbit hole?

I had to be honest with myself. I started to realize that I live in doubt of my skillset, and fear of peoples judgement. I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it come to my projects so I will start them, spending an insane amount of time thinking of all the way to make it the best app I can just to end up never finishing.

The only time I've complete projects fully, is when it's involved having a boss and being paid for my work. My personal project would get anywhere from 50% to 90% done before I get bored or I would forget about them.

Deep down, I know I do great work! I literally study every single day, and I work on huge projects at work. I've been in the field for over 15 years. I work with and even challenge some of the best developers.

I've worked on software/apps that pull in millions and millions of dollars and have hundreds of thousands of users. So when it comes to work, I'm solid and secure.

So why do I struggle with my personal work? It's almost like split personality.

I realized that I just have to go back to the days of when I was starting. "K.I.S.S". Keep it simple, stupid!

I also started paying more attention to the social side of development. I joined a few more groups. One of them is a beginners group, to allow me to get back to thinking like a new coder.

I noticed that there were some coders who only had a few months under their belt, offering advice and even full on courses. I was shocked by how many people were not only interested but thanking that person. The new coders were building a following.

To me this was so shocking. How were they able to do this, and how was it that people could care about their opinion when they hardly even know what they are doing?

I guess I didn't realize just how many people out there are seeking anyone who knows even a little more than they do. They don't care if that person has 25 years or 25 minutes more education than they do. They only care if they can learn from this person and build a communication line with them.

I quickly realized even on here, I've only posted a few articles and I already have a good amount of followers. The only thing holding me back is myself.

I wanted to force myself to change this year. I decided to take some baby steps to get there.

First off, I came to the conclusion that I was to stressed out to complete any of my own personal project due to taking on side projects. I've always worked full time and for a majority of my life, have had some sort of side client to make extra money.

I decided that if I'm not making enough money to take me to the next bracket of lifestyle, that it just wasn't worth my time.

I kept it simple in thinking for this. If I don't make at least 50% income of my full time job, doing side work then I shouldn't be doing it.

So I quit my clients. The release of stress was amazing. No more people to answer too. Just a normal job, my family and my side projects!

The second thing I did, was forced myself to build a quick project and release it no matter how poorly I felt it might be.

I did that too! You can check it out at [https://Gidgitz.com].

The next goal was to keep adding features to this site. Learn the frameworks, packages and setup that I can master quickly and will be happy with using for future projects.

I started out really strong with this... But then I ended up stuck on a refactor tangent for 3 months. 3 months passed while each day I coded on the new api backend with excitement.

3 months before I realized I was doing what I always do. I have to overcomplicate everything and it has to be perfect. I didn't want to release what I had because I had to finish x, y, z.

So tonight, when I realized I had done it again, got myself stuck back in the same nasty pattern, I forced myself to take what I currently had and break out the unfinished excess. I then released what changes I could, tonight.

So I did! I feel great about it. It's not a lot, but it's up and it's running. It may not be exactly how I want it, and it has a million improvements that could be made. But I did it, to prove that it's better to just push it out to the public than to have it sit on my laptop where no one will have a chance to see it.

I have to work hard to avoid my old habits. To face my fear of judgment. To realize even if no one sees it, at least the project is there to be seen. It's not about making it perfect but about making it available and then getting feed back and making improvements.

My next step is to finish my backend api setup and release small updates every few weeks. Once I'm happy with my setup, it's time to create my next idea.

On top of that I plan on putting myself out there. Taking the risk and showing people my ideas. Taking old projects and making them available for others to see.

I'll be posting them up here in the next few weeks.

It's a learning process. 25 years of coding and I'm basically just starting now.

wish me luck! If you read all this, you deserve a pat on the back!

Update

So I wrote up an article in response to the amazing feedback I've received from this post. It also has some helpful steps to take, if you yourself want to move forward! Why you should face your fears and doubts, as a developer.

-- DeChamp

Discussion (186)

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raspberrytyler profile image
Tyler Smith

I absolutely feel this. I quit my job 2 years ago to become a web developer because I had a couple of personal projects I wanted to build. Truthfully, I was probably a competent enough developer to build out an acceptable version within 10 months of becoming a dev, but two things always stopped me:

  1. Shiny object syndrome. I wanted to make the project with the best platform possible, so I switched from WordPress, to Laravel, to Django and then started reading up on serverless. It was a great learning experience, but I got nothing done.

  2. I wanted more features than I could reasonably turn out by myself.

I got stuck for a year without launching anything.

I think what helped me was a combination of reading a bunch of articles about Minimum Viable Products (also known as MVPs) and just getting fed up with not having anything done. I lowered my ambition from ~10 features to 1 feature and built a workable site in WordPress in 14 days. It doesn't matter that it's in WordPress because no one is visiting the site yet anyway so scalability is a total non-issue 🤷‍♂️

I've spent the past two weeks trying to figure out how to promote something that I think is really cool, and even though the codebase is kind of messy, I'm really happy with it and no one cares about the code.

Best of luck as you jump into your projects, if you focus on getting code out the door you'll do great!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

You nailed it with the shiny object syndrome. I have been there so many times. Along with the fact that at work, we tend to plan out way in to the future, with many many developer working on the same code base. So by habit I end up bringing that to my personal projects. So my projects become so bogged down with proper process and design, that I end up losing myself in it.

So you're right, it's about determining the MVP and moving to that goal.

Share your project with me, I'd love to see it!

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raspberrytyler profile image
Tyler Smith

I've been a freelancer the entire time I've been a developer, which has meant on most projects I don't have to worry about implementing a lot of process. It's been a blessing and a curse: I definitely can work faster but I've found on bigger projects I end up needing to do big refactors after a while because I didn't have as much process in place.

I'd love to show you my project! The site is SacMusic.com, and it's a directory of the open mics and jams in the Sacramento California region. It's the site I wish I had when I started playing open mics a decade ago.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Dude this site looks great! Well done. I viewed it on the iPhone and it works nicely. Great work.

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matiasolivera profile image
Matías Olivera

I wanted to make the project with the best platform possible

The same happens to me 🙋‍♂️

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raspberrytyler profile image
Tyler Smith

It's a hard thing to fight! This year I'm trying to get into more of a production-oriented mindset where I spend less time fighting with technical details and more time building, even if I'm doing it in a less than ideal way.

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serhatteker profile image
Serhat Teker

I have almost same story; quit job 2 years ago and all other shiny object stuff. So we are not alone :)

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elyager profile image
Erik Ochoa

I loved this part: "... They don't care if that person has 25 years or 25 minutes more education than they do. They only care if they can learn from this person and build a communication line with them."

I frequently freeze by thinking I must be an expert on the subject before putting anything out there, but the truth is you can help a lot of people (and yourself) by sharing the knowledge you have, by teaching it.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Yes! I just need to keep practicing this. Reach out to others and helping them learn.

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alanhylands profile image
Alan Hylands

I think it says a lot about the tech industry in general when folks like us in our mid-to-late 30s (okay, okay, I'm about 6 weeks off 40 but that's beyond the point) feel like old grizzled veterans.

The nature of the industry also means we can get 20+ years under our belts and have damn all to show for it in terms of projects that are still live or able to be spoken about in public. Corporate firewalls, NDAs and the relentless march of new webdev tech just seem to obliterate everything we've spent years working on.

Add in the age old problem of imposter syndrome and shiny new objects and it's a recipe for disaster. I also think having technical skills can be more of a curse than a blessing when it comes to building things. Your story of your friend just shipping his Wordpress site is a great case in point. Seeing some comments talk about redoing everything in a newer language rather than building upon the project really made me smile. All too familiar!

I've cross-posted an article I wrote for my personal blog about the existential guilt of never feeling like I finished enough of my own projects over the years and how it's clearly a big problem for so many people in tech and creative fields. Seems to correlate a lot with what I've read here: dev.to/alanhylands/not-failures-ju...

Keep building. Keep launching. Keep learning. Something we all should print out and stick over our monitors!

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emgodev profile image
Michael

NDA is a really good point.

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emgodev profile image
Michael

I can't even comment because I empathize with this so much! Putting yourself out there and willing for it to not be perfect is really the hardest step. I can't wait to see what you make with your experience.

Adding you to my 'Interesting People' list.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you Michael!

I really appreciate hearing that! I'll be checking out your things as well. Reading your comment really made my day!

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emgodev profile image
Michael

I'm glad!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I really appreciate this so much! Thank you!

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khalyomede profile image
Khalyomede

I have to admit, I never agreed on a post so much... Everything you face I face it also. I see myself starting so much projects and never finish those. I concluded that when you are not motivated by earning money or being constrained in a project make a personal business fail. Very true.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I am grateful to hear you can relate. Perhaps it's also deadline driven, an outside force that is required to motivate us as well.

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almostconverge profile image
Peter Ellis

You're absolutely not alone with this.

What I found over the years can be boiled down to two bullet points:

  1. To finish a project you need to be passionate about it to carry it through. When you're coding for yourself, it's easy to lose motivation halfway through, so choosing an idea you really, really like and is small enough to implement in a matter of days is a good start.

  2. Find a buddy you do the project with. When there's more than one of you, not wanting to let your friend down can provide that extra kick of motivation to continue coding. (They don't have to be a coder either, a graphic artist or similar is equally fine, the key is that if any of you slacks off, the other can't continue with their bit.)

And good luck. :)

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

great advice! I've struggled with 2. I can never seem to find a friend that is as excited about coding as I am. So I end up getting them involved, for them to just abandon the project a day or two later. But i think this is why it's important for me to start making my projects public so others all over the world can work on the project with me.

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hussein_cheayto profile image
hussein cheayto

Great article. I was introduced to coding 3 years ago, I have began to code 2 years ago, and I have been coding every single day for about 6 months.
Your article is great because it made me more persistent to make my own websites, games.
I would be glad if we can share our expriences and tell you my future plans
Best Regards
Hussein

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

yes please do! I'd love to see what you are working on or hear you ideas.

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hussein_cheayto profile image
hussein cheayto

This is my first published game: play.google.com/store/apps/details...

I want to make and grow my own base community. Do you think that I should make my posts here or create my own website?

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

This looks awesome!! i can't believe you did such a great job on it! You should definitely write up a post about how you built it out and what it took. What were the gotchas and how you got around them!

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hussein_cheayto profile image
hussein cheayto

Thank you for your support. I'm really glad that you liked my game and I am working on enhancing the design of the game.
I have created an account on medium.com and I have publisee 2 articles yesterday. I want to help people through my knowledge an experience.

medium.com/@hussein_cheayto/4-ways...

medium.com/@hussein_cheayto/7-thin...

I like medium.com much more than dev.to, it is more user friendly, give it a shot if you want

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m1guelpf profile image
Miguel Piedrafita • Edited

Totally agree with this, will take it as an advice and try to apply it to my own life.

btw, created an audio version of this article for easier consumtion.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you! I'm so grateful for you doing that. It was really cool to hear my words being spoken! I'm adding this as a link to the article and giving you credit. Thanks again!

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foodogsquared profile image
Gabriel Arazas

This is quite motivational! Thanks for sharing your story. 😁👍

I'm coding for only a year now and I'm already having the feelings you described crawling in the back of my head. I'm really glad you broke the ice for this.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you Gabriel, I am happy to be able to share my story so you know you're not alone. Keep pushing!

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foodogsquared profile image
Gabriel Arazas

Will do, sir! 😁

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leob profile image
leob

Great piece, thanks for sharing this (which I think requires some courage).

Very recognizable because I "suffer" from the same "syndrome", the tendency of overcomplicating and perfecting too much ... maybe some people are more the "maker" type, or more ambitious to put their stuff out in the spotlight or something, for sure it's a mindset thing.

Thanks for sharing and good to see that you were able to overcome this psychological hurdle, anyway the fact that you started coding at 11 shows that you've got plenty of passion, so maybe the problem isn't that much of a real problem, it's all in the mind. :-)

By the way your site (gidgitz.com) looks great, love the design!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you for noticing the courage it took. I almost didn't post this and then I realized I was doing the exact same thing as I'm talking about. ha ha.

You're right in saying that it is a mindset.

Thank you again, and I really appreciate your compliment on gidgitz.com!

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jamesdhasselman profile image
James D. Hasselman

Thank you for this. My experience is very similar to yours. I thought I was the only one going through this. I was even considering the possibility that I may be in the wrong field. Reading your post and seeing all the people commenting with similar experiences has convinced me that I'm not alone and that this is quite common. I find myself inspired to put myself out there as well.

Good luck to you, let's make 2019 our year.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I'm so happy to hear that this has helped you. It's been so great to see that my post has been able to help others relate and feel motivation to keep moving forward. Just take a little step, put yourself out there and see what happens. Even if one person can relate to you, then it's worth it.

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Yisus Castro✨

This speaks to me in so many levels, it's almost scary 😨

Thank you for sharing your experience and motivating me to take action in order to defeat my perfectionist self 😊

Right now I'm working on a few side projects along side a wonderful graphic designer that pushes me to stop preparing and start doing. It has helped me a lot but I still have a long way to go, I hope that finally launching a project will contribute a lot on this quest to change the perfectionist mindset ❤️

(This is my first comment here, small steps toward "putting myself out there" 😇)

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you! I'm glad you took the step and made your first comment! See, that wasn't so bad was it! this post has almost 40K views, so just think about that! You're comment has been ready by thousands of people now.

Your comment keeps me motivated as well. :)

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hamishairving profile image
Hamish Irving

If you ever want any help on your projects on the UX/design side - give me a shout. Collaborations could be a good motivator to ship things 👍 You should also check out indiehackers.com , a lot of devs sharing their experience on shipping side projects

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I'm always open to others lending a hand. Message me your thoughts. That site looks awesome btw, indiehackers.com

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

what is your username on there?

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hamishairving profile image
Hamish Irving

A lot of smart, motivated people sharing their journeies on the site. I’m HamishIrving on there

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

ok great! I'll make sure to add you

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Iain Adams

Amazing to read this and all the comments of people going through the same thing. I am one of you. Always starting projects and looking at how to make it the best under the hood. I spend so much time on analysis and refactoring I never get anything out there. I agree - set goals, build with what you’ve got. There’s always a better way to do it but finish what you started and then improve.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

exactly. Thank you for responding! It's never too late to start!

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Arka Roy

I'm a Dev manager. I've been in software for 30 years, haven't coded professionally for the past 10 years. But I love coding and always have a bunch of little personal projects on the back burner.

Problem is that I keep getting sidetracked by distractions. I'm pretty poor at Git, so I feel compelled to be a Git power user. I don't know Docker but hear it's popular, so I feel I have to learn Docker before I actually make anything. Etc.

However this becomes endless, because there is an endless number of technologies that are good to know.

So the funny thing is, I was thinking very similar things to what you wrote. Although it seems like you've thought it out a lot more.

If I have to sum it up, I guess the it boils down to "Just do it", as Nike says!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

i would have to agree! also find what your passion really is. I think we forgot to practice our passion vs our thirst for knowledge and the want of being on the "cool tool wagon".

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anroy_research profile image
Arka Roy

Although I gotta say, stuff on the "cool tool wagon" is often very interesting!

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tigerwood2006 profile image
JW

I can feel you man. In order to learn Angular, I started to code for one side project which allows users to select tv shows and add to their track list. After that I started on another Angular project to track my expenses and other little tasks.
Turn out the process is so addictive, you can use your programming skills to totally express your ideas. It is freedom right there!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

It is addicting. It's been fun to push my project live, and see a few people respond to it. It's been fun to comment back with others and interact. Just keep doing little by little.

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rimij405 profile image
Ian Effendi

Wow, this really hit home for me. I just joined a humanitarian open source software committee near where I study (still a college undergrad, but, almost done) and a couple of days ago, I was looking at my peers' portfolios thinking: "Wow, what do I have to show for all this work in the past few years?" Very much in the same mindset, I've been pushing myself to just do the work instead of worrying about how it will be received.

Honestly, I'm worried about falling into the bad habits myself. Thank you for writing this - it's pushing me to be a better developer as well.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I'm glad you were able to relate and find the motivational message in it. And congrats on almost being done! Just do a little here and there, I'm seeing the benefit.

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eddr profile image
eddr

You know, I feel that at least in my case, this pattern is shared with other areas in life. You wait with this special trip or big change or small intimate hobby (which really talks to you) you wanted to do because you just want to finish something, to feel prepared or more available for the next step. Something like that

We all full of patterns and ways of thoughts

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

wow, that is so accurate! I do! I put everything off that is personal to me, now that you said that. Although this year I have done better with doing more things I wanted to for my personal life.

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eddr profile image
eddr

Recently I've put a lot of thought into understanding my patterns, my inner programs - the way you think and act in certain situations and so on. I do that because it helps me cope and develop myself.

You might like to watch/hear interviews with Russel Brand about his book about his addictions. Also liked, for example, his podcast episode with Gabor Mate ("under the skin" podcast). That's not an ad, I really find a warm place there.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I love his stuff. I will check out the ones you listed. Thank you. It's also another thing that I've been working on myself, self awareness and improvement.

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hrumarek profile image
Marek

Functionality 100% experience 50%. Can you please remove intro from Gidgitz com? Also the fonts used are big and search input has misaligned placeholder. Left sidebar? Who needs it? It is just filled with search.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I agree with everything you're saying. I originally had plans for the side bar to have more functionality, but didn't get to it yet. I think you're right about changing that layout. I was thinking just a clean simple top bar. Far as the intro, I'll fix it to show the gidgitz by default and create an about page so if people wanna know, they can check it out, but it's not the first thing they see. Plus the search only works for gidgitz page right now. Thanks for the input!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

hey, can I email you the new layout design and see if you have feed back on it?

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bitflower

Hi, the actual challenge behind what you describe is that it‘s absolutely a first-world ideological topic: you‘re financially save with your job - so there is not enough pressure for you to work on „your“ stuff.
A thought that always helps me is: Would my own stuff be progressed enough to make a living out of it IF NO ONE wanted your consulting work from tomorrow on. This puts more responsibility into your own things and makes them an actual serious topic in your life. The actions will follow almost automatically.....

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Well you nailed that one. It's exactly the issue. I can not afford to leave the comfort of my job and put my full time in to my projects. I would need at least a year to put things together before I think any of my ideas would make money.

But then I know I can make my projects on the side, and they could make money but then I don't have the pressure so everything under the sun, comes first.

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Max Ong Zong Bao

Wonderful article I find that getting your content and stuff out there matters more than being perfect as you can spend months building stuff that no one might need.

Good luck and I look forward to your side project and future articles :)

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you so much Max, I appreciate that. You're right, it just takes little steps to get yourself out there.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Don't worry I'm in the same boat as you I had a side project that is gathering dust for a while and I beat myself up for it as well so I totally could relate about it. I have lot's to learn from you as well :)

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dorbsy profile image
Derek Owusu Bekoe

I'm really impressed with how you were able to overcome your fear. I'm also in the same situation. I have completed SQL, HTML&CSS, C# course and write notes upon notes but I don't have a single project or even code that I can claim that I did, all because of my fear of been criticized by my colleagues. You have really motivated me. Thank you so much.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I love hearing this! I'm grateful to be able to hear another person say I have motivated them. I appreciate you letting me know. You should share your notes and ideas!

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swanandkriyaban profile image
Swanand Kriyaban

DeChamp, you have put a fire under me as well with this article, thank you! We have similar experiences and outlook and I have had similar misgivings about others who were bold enough to publish what little they knew. Again, thanks!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I'm very grateful that I can motivate you. Everyone responding has been a huge inspiration to keep going! Also I'm glad together we were able to change our views on others

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

I'm a bit late but it was definitely worth the read!

Thanks for your honesty. I'm hopeful that this will be the start of you sharing more and more :)

Having been quite active on dev.to for more than a year now has taught me a lot, chipped a bit through my fears and always reminded me that I don't need to be a master of everything to share something!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you! I will be posting much more this year, and also much more reading and socializing with people on dev.to. I'm glad to of found this place, as other sites seem to have a negative gathering I've noticed. I enjoy the positivity of dev.to

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

I enjoy the positivity of dev.to

As do I :-)

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ansezz profile image
ANASS EZ-ZOUAINE

Thank you so much for sharing,
The same feeling 4 years of coding, I start many projects, but I got nothing done.
This year I started from scratch and I will finish my first project soon.
Thank you again for your motivation

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

You're welcome and thank you! Make sure you share it with me, I would love to see it.

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ansezz profile image
ANASS EZ-ZOUAINE

Thank so much, of course I will do 😍

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Karl Taylor

I loved this article, here I am always thinking "I started to learn to code so I could build my own projects. But now 3 years in and nothing to show for it".

It's nice to know that a lot of other people also have this problem!

Once my side projects have wrapped. I am taking the conscious decision to say no to all new side project client work (even if it's a side project I have a stake in). The reason for this is because if it's my own side project. I only have myself to answer to. And means I can focus a lot more on my current job and my work life balance.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

that is great to hear that I can help motivate you to get where you want to be, far as back to your personal projects. It's not easy giving up potential monies. But I'm finding in this, that my passion and excitement is worth way more than the clients money I've earned. I wish you luck and can't wait to see your projects!

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stazie profile image
Stazie

Thanks for sharing your story! It can definitely be categorized as something to "learn from this person and build a communication line with them".
It's also very reassuring to know it's possible to get out of this slump one step at a time.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you so much! I'm appreciate hearing that. I'm all for building a communication line. I am working on doing that with each person who's reach out. Building that community.

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tshma profile image
Tomer

Thanks for the post. I am not as long as you in the business but I feel just the same seeing all the bootcampers' uploading projects, sometimes so raw yet working, made mainly of copy-pasta, with barely 1% of my knowledge and expertise.
I've already made the realization to publish something, and also applied to some beginners groups just as you did, but I was stuck without your final realization: I should publish it before it's 100% done. Before I feel it's perfect. Just to get it out, and on to the next one.
Thanks a lot for that note!

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DeChamp Author

No problem! glad I could help you in your ventures! Keep pushing forward and I wish you luck!

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Nikia Shaw

Thank you so much for this! I'm around your age and I haven't been coding as long as you, but it's been long enough that I am frustrated that I don't have much to show for the exact same reasons as you. I've been struggling to articulate this myself and your post was so motivational for me.

Thank you so much for sharing. It's the kick in the butt I needed. This might be the first comment I've lever left on Dev because I'm a chronic lurker - thinking once I get a little more expertise I'll have something worthy to contribute. Deep down I know that's not the case but I needed this reminder.

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DeChamp Author

So awesome to hear this! And the fact that you took a step to put yourself out there and break the pattern of not interacting. I encourage you to post, even if it's just to say hi and introduce yourself to others. I look forward to your post!

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Jamie McLeish

Congratulations on getting your stuff out there for people to see. I completely empathise with you about wanting everything to be perfect and rounded off before releasing, I think the quite a lot of developers battle the exact same feeling.

It’s so easy to slide back into the mindset of wanting so much done before releasing instead of performing rapid updates and constantly iterating on the product, so congratulations on noticing that you were doing that and pulling yourself back out of that mindset.

I’ve been set on a project for months now and feel so close to releasing but I’ve no doubt that I’ll try and eek out one more feature, something I know I must not do. If I feel that starting to happen I’ll come and read this article again and remind myself that it’s better to get it out there.

Thanks so much for putting this together in a post and I hope you continue to release your projects!

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DeChamp Author

Thank you so much for replying. It's not easy to be self aware, so it's nice hearing that you see me making progress. I would love to see what you're working on! you should just create a new branch with what works now, and parse out what is a work in project, then release it. That is what I did with Gidgitz.com. I know there are a million things I want to do with it and can do.

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Stephen Lawal

Wow,
This year made it my 18th year of programming, and to be honest, i often feel the way you felt. To be frank, when i talk in gathering people often respect what i say but i realize i may have never written an article and have little or no followig.

so, I'm gonna try your baby steps, especially the social side of sofware development and I would also try less to be a perfectionist, (just put it out there). Too many ideas are going to waste. my fear however, is that it often seem like a huge disctraction, at least that has been my mind set(talking so much and doing so little) but then.. lets try it your way..

All in all, great read

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DeChamp Author

Thank you so much. I’m grateful you found it useful.

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Kashif Aziz

Great write-up, thanks for sharing your story.

I am in a slightly different boat, been in the fields since a long time now but switched from dev to internet marketing and now back to dev. I've been (and still am) addicted to the shiny object syndrome but now trying to get sobered up and focus on one project at a time.

Hitting you on Twitter, let's engage :)

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DeChamp Author

Definitely, I'll make sure to look for you on twitter.

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Peter Skirko

Thanks for writing and sharing this. I've struggled with perfectionism as it pertains to my personal projects too. I wrote up my thoughts here: pskirko.com/2019/01/20/re-25-years...

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

I'm flattered that you wrote me in to your article, and I love that article! You did a great job on it. Thank you!!!

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Alexander Schenkel • Edited

I have exactly the same "syndrome". There is a famous german speaking:

"Es gibt nichts Gutes ausser man tut es."

(approx: "There is nothing good, unless you do it."). This is what I always think when I'm about to drop a begun project.

I always have to tell to myself: It don't have to be perfect, especially not in the beginning. It is for me, and it don't have to have all the features I dream of from the start.

It not always work, as I am a perfectionist, too, but these thoughts help to "keep the syndrome under the pillow" for a while.

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DeChamp Author

I love that, because it's so true. I used to say "good intension don't mean shit, if you ain't doing it." lol. I agree with keeping the syndrome under the pillow.

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Felix

Oh boy, do I know this. Though, while I lost a lot of the fear of judgement over the last couple of years, the amount of time that is available to me seems to shrink and shrink and shrink. When my daughter was born, I felt like having about 2 hours a day left. I don‘t want to spend this little remaining time doing more of the same of what I do for the most part of the day. I let my brain vent playing computer games, a passion I‘ve been on for 35 years now :-)

Sometimes I think: „Wouldn‘t it be nice to keep coding anf release personal stuff I care about or learn more?“

But then I look at the freetime I had to sacrifice for it, discard the a idea and turn on my gaming PC.

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DeChamp Author • Edited

Well here is the thing. Don't beat yourself up over it. I used to think that if I didn't spend every second of the day coding, that I was missing out. But then I would get burnt out. I used to think also that I had to complete projects in a limited amount of time. As a dad myself I can totally relate with the limited time. So I changed my mindset to being that a project doesn't need to be a time frame of a month or two, but maybe a year or two. As long as I'm doing a little here and there and releasing those changes right away. So if gaming is your thing, then do gaming. Then start a little project around what you love, like gaming. Even if it's just a blog.

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Dangeranger

This is great advice. You just need to "ship it", and see what happens. Many programmers, myself included, get caught up in thinking about only putting our "best" work on display and forget that something is almost always better than nothing.

Thanks for having the courage to talk about it.

Which beginners groups did you join to help and mentor?

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DeChamp Author

Thank you! So I joined a few on facebook. I don't have much to say about the groups yet, but it does help to see others who are completely new.

facebook.com/groups/1517091958315927/

facebook.com/groups/ProgrammingFor...

facebook.com/groups/JavaScript.Pro...

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Garrett • Edited

One of them is a beginners group, to allow me to get back to thinking like a new coder.

In Buddhism we have a concept called “beginners mind” which essentially means that no matter how long we have been studying we should always approach things as if we were a beginner. This openness and lack of preconceptions allows us to learn new things we missed before or relearn things we have forgotten.

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DeChamp Author

I love this and i take it to heart. Thank you.

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Neuro • Edited

Same problem: "I am a professional web designer with 20+ years of experience and I simply cannot find the time to finish my own web site. It has to be perfect, because I don't produce sh**, but in order to make it perfect, I have to dedicate 6 months of development and design into it.

I won't come to the levels of wordpress, since only "noobs" use that. Commercial themes are for lazy people and... " and... I stay paralyzed and without a web site.

This is how my brain thinks and now when I write it down, I see how I've indoctrinated myself. Simple truth is - my own work doesn't need to be perfect and on a level of multi million dollar projects. It needs to get the message trough.

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DeChamp Author

Exactly. There is also no “perfect”. We can always improve something so why not just release it and improve it as you go? Hope you have a break through. There is beauty in simplicity as well.

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Marcos Maia

Great article. Thanks! Really like it, you're a good writer and clearly has a lot of experience.

I'm kind on the same situation, I've been coding for almost 25 years and I still love it. Recently I've decided to start sharing more knowledge and helping others to learn and grow while I can also keep learning.

Wish you the best of luck and keep on coding and writing.

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DeChamp Author

Thank you so much! I take that compliment "you're a good writer" because honestly, I've always felt like I failed in that area, so thanks again!

I definitely encourage you to share your knowledge. Even if it's just small. I'm still working on this but I make a little progress each day.

Perhaps you could do a github readme file with points, or a dev.to point teaching something. Or write a small npm module or other language module that does something simple, just to get code out there. Even taking the time to leave a comment, such as this one (which made my day!) is very helpful and a good step in to sharing.

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Jaaki

I absolutely feel you!
Also been coding since 2000, and all my code and products are basically hidden behind corporate firewalls. URGHHH!!!

So I've starting building out my new personal site, added a recent project with some details on how it was done, also started writing some blog posts, although I haven't posted them yet.

I have also been shocked, or rather horrified by so much of the articles about coding I've seen lately, not here on Dev, but on other sites.

Following along with those articles and realising that this person obviously started building things 10 minutes ago and is basically telling the whole world how to do things. I've seen serious security flaws that would get you fired from your job straight away!

So maybe we can help motivate each other and remind ourselves to just ...

Keep It Simple Stupid!!!!

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DeChamp Author

Thank you. Well I encourage you to post those! Even if they are not perfect. I almost didn't post this one because I was worried it wasn't done well enough or I would be dismissed, but look at how great the response has been!

I'd love to read your post!

I've actually learned new things from new developers so I do love following new blood, but you're not wrong in saying that some of the newbies can mis-post. I think it's been an missed opportunity for me to step in and let them know the risk or offer the correct solution. Perhaps you and I could both make that a new effort, to help them learn.

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AsParallel

Sounds like you've got a case of imposter syndrome. The trick to not experiencing that for me was being a team lead. Working with the people you lead on a consistent basis and helping them to grow builds your confidence. This is why those communication lines are important.

You bring up a tendency I notice in others frequently: judging yourself comparatively. It's not actually a bad thing, provided you don't ever assume you know what went into the other person's work or how much of it is actually theirs. We all stand on the shoulders of giants etc.

Some people are talented, others are just lucky enough to have a microfocus on a particular topic; single platform, single language, single operating system, single paradigm, which results in impressive depth. To me it feels like breadth of knowledge is something that has come to be discredited and undervalued in today's world in favor of this type of specialization.

Either way, you do you. Glad you found your balance.

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DeChamp Author

Thank you. You are right, I need to stop judging myself based off of other people. And communication is key. I am learning that now with this post alone. I've worked on teams, and even led teams. It does help. I think I just forget it after a while, so I just need to keep reminding myself of this.

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DeChamp Author

So i totally relate to this! Read my article on dev.to/dechamp/the-burnout-how-do-.... I have dealt with the same thing as you.

It's just about removing the stress and finding the fun in it again.

The social thing was foreign to me as well. I liked dev.to because it seems super friendly and not to over crowded. So it was easy to post on here, and when I posted people actually responded.

I'm still struggling to be part of the social, but this is really motivating me. Feel free to reach out to me if you need a person to motivate you! You got this. Take a break, and then think about why you started and what parts made you excited. Then do those!

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Cobus Kruger

Oh my goodness... You may as well have been writing about me. It is incredible how easy it becomes to find reasons not to succeed.

Best of luck to you and well done on giving yourself the proverbial kick in the pants and getting your product launched.

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DeChamp Author

Exactly! Find a way to not succeed, which is based off of subconscious fear.

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gsej

Great article. I've started many projects over the years, and they all dragged on forever until I gave up on them. Rewriting with new frameworks, getting bored with the boiler plate, there were all sorts of reasons. For my lastest side project I've decided the most important, must have feature, is that it must be finished - I'm treating getting it out of the door as being a feature. It's not there yet though, but unpolished, ugly, and probably uninteresting to anyone but me, it will be going live next month.

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DeChamp Author

Well let me know when it's done and I'd love to take a look at it. Don't view it as ugly. Others have made great comments, that it's ok to have projects that are not done, or how we want them for now. So keep at it and don't get discouraged.

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Andrew Marin

I'm stuck in the same mindset, thinking that I am not good enough or I could end up doing better and end up doing nothing. Your post might just be the game changer for me as I have picked up to three points that will help me on the long run.

Thanks for sharing

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DeChamp Author

You're welcome. You took the time to comment, that is a step in the right direction. I would challenge you to make a "hello dev.to" post and say hi. Talk about what you enjoy in the tech world. Even if it's only 2 sentences, I bet you someone will comment. It's seriously that easy. The welcoming feeling you'll get from that will help fuel you to want to try it again. Eventually you'll be comfortable with posting about things that interest you and it'll be fun and exciting to share with others!

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timearley89

Awesome post, and full of truths about myself. I often let my own insecurities prevent me from releasing anything, whether hardware or software. It extends to other things too, e.g. I've been playing guitar for over 5 years, and can now play just about anything just by hearing it once, but my own lack of confidence and the tendency to compare myself to legends prevent me from even posting cover videos on social media, as much as I'd like the positive feedback. In fact, it's crippling across most facets of my life, and is something I've only in the past few months begun to understand and tackle head on. At the end of the day, we're all just members of an advanced breed of Monkey, pushing forward and trying to get through each day without tripping on our own feet, so what is there to fear of anyone's opinion?
By the way, just to let you know, the 'gidgitz' link on your site when viewed from mobile chrome doesn't allow selection after dropdown; it defaults to the 'Base64 Encode/Decode' link.
Again, thanks for posting this and speaking from the heart with it. I think it'll help a ton of people to train their own neural nets away from this subconscious ailment. Cheers!

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DeChamp Author

Great comment! Loved the part about advanced breed of monkey! lol I struggle with other parts of my life as well when it comes to fear. So i totally relate.

You should post your link to your music on a reply to this comment, let people stumble upon it! Or even better, wrote a post about how you live a life of both coder and musician. I think it's amazing that you can do both!

I'd love to hear you music or see your projects.

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Budi Salah 🐋

I always have that fear of being judged by other people and not doing any progress for any of my tons of ideas.
I always have great ideas and great projects but always say to my self, (I'm not ready yet). I'm not ready for no reason, For me thinking that the project won't be exactly as I see it in my mind, It will be missing a lot or not pretty enough.
I thank you very much for this article because you gave me the courage to start no matter what the results will be, To stop thinking about the people and focusing on myself, To take a step forward.
Thank You @dechamp 💖

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DeChamp Author

I'm so happy to hear that I was able to encourage you to have confidence in yourself. Take small steps, it's totally worth it!

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Tommy Scribble

I'm totally with you on this. I've been coding on and off for about 30 years and only recently have I started to do any personal side projects. Its hard to find the time and also to justify it..but mostly I find that I need a deadline to motivate myself.
Thanks for sharing and inspiring me to 'try harder to be bettter!'

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DeChamp Author

Thank you, I'm glad you could relate.

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Andrew Wooldridge

I'm feeling pretty much the same way. I feel like after working in webdev for a long time I'm just now beginning to feel like I can call myself a developer, but every day is like starting school all over again.

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DeChamp Author

yes! But I'm quickly learning that it's totally worth taking the risk. So make the step.

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Emmanuel Caster

This is me in a nutshell I've just not been coding for 25 years. I've been coding for 10 years now and all my projects are either gone with a crashed laptop and no backup or in the office repository. I see why my GitHub account is so scanty. I would start pushing some of the codes now.

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DeChamp Author

One of the comments I read in response to this, was that we have experience to show for it. That we don't have to have a physical website or work to show for the countless hours. So I'll pass that on to you.