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How learning to solder taught me Gatsby.js and AWS

Why I wanted to learn to solder

I have always been intrigued by electronics and technology but growing up, I didn't have access to all the things I wanted to try. There was not an electronics shop in my small town and none of my friends were interested in soldering or electronics kits. The older kids that had electronic kits, would not let me play with them. So I had to make do with reading about it in magazines and books.

Now that I am in my 30s, I still wanted to learn to solder but felt awkward admitting that I didn't have this "core classic nerd skill". One day I randomly found a learning to solder kit that was a fuzzy light up kitty ear headband, I impulsively bought it. Realizing the kit was on its way, I bought a soldering iron, solder, diagonal cutters, and a wire stripper so I could complete it.

Sharing my progress

While I waited for everything to arrive, I told friends that I was learning to solder. All of them were intrigued, and the ones that knew how to solder asked what supplies I got and what I was going to do. Realizing that people were interested, I decided to share my progress with them.

Learning to solder

Once I had everything, I waited until late one night to attempt the kit. It took me no time at all to realize that soldering was basically like welding but smaller. I was able to complete my headband and got hooked enough to order more kits.

It soon became routine, every weekend or so for me to post a build of a beginner kit. I started recording videos, posting explanations, and doing recommendations of equipment. Keeping track of everything I did was getting harder and I had several people request I build a website.

Learning Gatsby

I chose Gatsby.js because I wanted to become better at using React.js. I worked through the tutorials in a day and then began my site.

I should have had a better plan on how to build my website and picked a color theme before starting. But I charged ahead. Over a week, I had built a small static website. If I were to do it again, I would have chosen a blog starter instead of the basic starter.

Learning AWS

Now that I had a working website, I needed somewhere to host it. I chose Amazon Web Services because I had used it in a previous project. This time, I was setting it up all by myself. I encountered several difficulties because some key user interfaces and permissions had recently been updated and the documentation and walkthroughs had not.

But I was able to deploy my website and set up a continuous deployment.

Lessons learned

  • Sharing your learning progress with the whole world, can feel scary, but everyone has valuable experience to share.

  • Feel free to start small, but start sharing. You are further along than someone else.

  • Not everything needs to be built completely from scratch, feel free to use tutorials and starters as a starting point.

Everyone can follow my soldering adventures at

Top comments (4)

anortef profile image
Adrián Norte

I need to know where can I get some fuzzy led kitten ears headband

geekgalgroks profile image
thegeoffstevens profile image
Geoff Stevens

Nice! I'm curious, what's the next soldering project?

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Looks great!