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Fabian Fabro
Fabian Fabro

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Self Reflection 2019, Improve Myself for 2020

This is going to be a small, casual post. Less tech but still tech-related topics. And probably a big rant as well.

The past two months have been a very stressful endeavor, especially this month. I won't go into full details since I feel like they are a bit too personal to share.

These past few days for the new year, I decided to take some steps back, self reflect on myself, ask myself many questions, watch videos on personality traits and the psychological self.

I think the biggest cause that made me have this self reflection was seeing constant rejections from job applications, which made me start doubting my skills and my self worth. I noticed my doubt as I started picking up C++ and the JUCE Framework, and saw that trying to debug the tutorials was stressful, especially when I was barely familiar with the language, and the videos mentioning how I should have some better background in DSP (Digital Signal Processing), which I barely have (I have written a blog on it before that was not even scratching the surface). So I decided to take a step back from the JUCE Framework and relearn C++ and dive into DSP, which did not go well. C++ is a difficult for me to grasp and most DSP sources always started off with math equations and algorithms, and my math is actually really terrible, so I couldn't grasp that side. What I'm saying is that DSP is not a beginner friendly topic according to one of my friends that studied it is currently a data scientist for Microsoft. So now, I feel like I have to down another rabbit hole and start learning the math requirements to understand DSP. This has discouraged me so much that it started affecting my programmer self. Am I good enough to even tackle on this? Why am I even tackling this when I could be working on another thing? I'm struggling with this language and this topic that I sometimes forget why I'm studying it.

My biggest stress along with this endeavor is balance. Because I'm trying to tackle in two industries for two different positions, a Software Engineer in the Tech Industry and an Technical Sound Designer in the Game Industry, but if I were to combine it, it would be an Audio Software Engineer.

I feel like I've lost focus because trying C++ has been a struggling beast for me. My focus has been all over the place this month, I've had over 100 tabs open, for every single error I'm always trying to debug, a chapter from DSP readings, youtube tutorials of trying to do certain things in C++, Linkedin Jobs, Indeed Jobs, social media, JUCE Framework, game-dev related articles, miscellaneous Youtube videos. I'd be constantly switching over tabs to a different task every 10 minutes or so. I'd be scrolling my phone every 5 minutes through social media, refreshing, refreshing. I'd be switching through different programs to my IDE for coding work then on my music work if I got a C++ bug and couldn't solve it in the next 5 minutes and wouldn't return back to my IDE for a long while. I wouldn't even shut down my computer when I go to sleep, just to keep all my tabs and programs open so that way I see it once I wake up the next day. I felt that this had ruined me. I felt broken as I felt scattered with no system. I felt when I graduated from my bootcamp, I had the drive and energy to keep learning because my target of topics was more open, but I think when I tried to dive into topics that I should be going for career wise, I've been straining to drill these topics but they were just not sinking in as I was tackling a way over out of comfort zone. I think it's because I've mostly worked with web development that I could say it is my comfort zone, and tackling new topics within web development doesn't feel too daunting even when it gets hard. However, I think since tackling C++ and trying to actually work with stand-alone application, or not web (can't think of another word for it), development, this was a huge step out of my comfort zone with programming.

With all the above stressing me and my mentality losing it, I kinda broke down this Mid-December. That's why these past few days I took the time to not actually plan out what to do, but question myself and question everything I'm doing at this point in my life right now.

Here are some questions I asked myself:

  • What do I want to do in the game industry?
  • What do I want to do in Audio?
  • Why did I go into software engineering?
  • Why do I do music?
  • How do I achieve parts of goal?
  • What are the steps I need to take?
  • How do I break down topics to work on?
  • How do I balance audio and tech?
  • What do I need to work on for myself?
  • How do I work on my soft skills?
  • How do I work on my introvertness?
  • What do I see myself doing as a living?
  • Sometimes I feel like I’ve disconnected myself from friends.
  • How do I reconnect with friends again?
  • How do I overcome my introvertness?
  • How can I improve my mentality to overcome imposter syndrome?
  • How do I try not to burn myself out?
  • Have I stacked upon so much on myself on what I want to do in life?
  • How do I recognize my self-worth after facing so much rejections at once?
  • I try to do things on my own and don’t reach out for help when I should because of being afraid of being rejected or ghosted to not ever get a reply back as I would probably be waiting for a long time.
  • How should I approach my job search if I’m trying to pursue in two industries simultaneously (Game Audio & Tech)?

I'm sure sure not all of you have the same questions about yourself with these, but just think about, and really break down what you are trying to question about yourself. Why do you exist? Why do you do what you're doing? Why did you choose programming? How are you still going even after facing so much rejection?

That is why I want to try an approach for myself. I've never been a tact with working with schedules. I usually work in whatever flow I'm in, and sometimes I felt that sometimes a disorganized approach. It's nice because that flow is a nice driving feeling. But now, I wanted to try this for 2020. I want to schedule in every detail that I know what I already do and work on them in a timely manner.

I decided to try out the Taskade Firefox Extension App to help me plan out my daily agendas and calendar events. I'm going to try out the StayOnTask Android Phone app to notify me if I'm being productive with my time. I'm trying to plan out more agendas, like breaking down the topics to study that way it's not vague like "Continue learning C++." I feel like I would need to break it down where it's like "work on the next 2-3 modules in the C++ Udemy Course," with "Practice building a small app based on those 2-3 modules." My goal is that if I can check off at least 50% of daily agenda tasks a day, then I'd feel accomplished in that sense.

I want to try out the #100DaysofCode as I feel that will fix my learning drive again.

I actually do want to start DSP blog series, especially to make it beginner friendly, but that is after I am able to comprehend the starting topics for it, or when some of it starts sinking in.

I noticed that my other last blog post was also a rant, I actually had more tech related topics saved as drafts, but I haven't gotten the chance to work on them. So, I apologize for listening to another rant, but I also thank you if you've reached this part of the blog.

To myself for 2020:

  • I want to be able to organize myself better
  • Improve my mental well-being
  • Get good

Sources

Taskade - www.Taskade.com

StayOnTask - StayOnTask App

Top comments (3)

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triptych profile image
Andrew Wooldridge

As a senior FE developer, I wanted to encourage you to take time to rest, to let yourself find the best time to learn things, and when to take breaks. Scheduling out every moment of your day is going to leave you either exhausted because you got your immense task list done, or frustrated that you didn't measure up to your own high bar. Taking this time to reflect on what you want to do is great. But it doesn't seem like you're changing your plans based on this new insight. Instead, if you are job seeking - look at what you learned from each interview. Are you applying for the right positions? Are you overlooking opportunities you might find successful? You sound like you might be something called a multipotentialite ( look it up or visit puttylike.com/start-here/ ) which means you want to have many different interests going at once, and there are special challenges for that. What is your real goal? Is it to get a job? Or is it to feel successful creating things like games and music?

If you just want to get a job, then you need to take a look at who you are right now in terms of skills and apply for jobs that meet that. If you want to be successful making games and things, then don't wait for a job to come around to do those, do them now!

I know some folks who really like having their whole day planned out. I feel that for you this will be a pretty constrictive thing. Instead, perhaps place some goals for a given day, but not so much that if you have other things come up you wont achieve them. You don't want to get burned out.

If you don't listen to anything else I say, please just hear this: be more gentle to yourself. Get enough sleep. Eat right foods. Go for walks. If you do those things, you will find you have the resources to take on your other challenges.

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fihra profile image
Fabian Fabro Author

Thank you for this response. I had to reread this over and over again because this has been such a stressful situation for me, but I'm sure there are people who have it harder. I wish I can say that I've learned something from an interview, but I've never had an interview, since my application is always rejected before ever reaching to that stage. I'm usually applying for software engineer positions because of finishing a bootcamp, but since I also try to get involve with the Game-Dev scene here in Seattle, I try to pick up the tools for that too.

I think what I always thought was separating the two things, to keep the Game-Dev or Music stuff on the side and not put it in my resume, just for my tech resume, or my social media brand, but my career mentor from school encouraged me to add the game-dev/music experience in a sense of showing everything if I tailor the wording to apply to tech.

The whole schedule thing is something I would see with a lot of my friends in order to be productive, and I thought I was the weird one who didn't work with a schedule like that. I understand that everyone's productivity works differently, I guess putting in too much detail will be daunting to always try to achieve those.

According to looking up about the Multipotentialite, I do feel like it. Before, I was wanting to just focus on music, music related, audio related work, until discovering programming and developing a newfound passion with this too. I do aim to combine the two passions, but it is where the paths cross, the material is difficult to grasp for me at this time right now. Hence, why I find Audio Software Engineer positions that sparked my interests, but feel way too underqualified for them at the moment.

I get other advice from other software friends in the industry who tell me to just give up the music/audio/game side at the moment and fully focus on tech, which is pretty disheartening to hear because of just having grown up with the music/audio/game side, but they just want to see me succeed into tech as well. I think it's the pressure I face upon myself whenever I go and meet tech people at tech meetups and when I go to any-skill-background of people at game-dev meetups.

Thanks a lot again for your response, it makes me think that there probably is still more reflecting I need to do on myself.

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viniptds profile image
Vinicius Padovan

Hey Fabian, I am at the same boat. I'm a keyboarder and also doing a bachelor degree on information system.
This is the third year in college and I don't know how join those two topics (dev & music). I've tried JUCE too, but get stucked on the deep math.

Maybe a music related project using the tech knoledges would be a temporary solution. What do you think about it?

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