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