If current me could go back in time and give past me some advice on learning how to code it would be this - "Get over the fear of looking stupid!"
Asking questions or being afraid to vocalize when you don't understand a concept is a huge barrier to learning. Although it seems easy enough, the fear of being judged is overpowering. This is a huge problem for code newbies and anyone breaking into tech, and to be honest - it's it's a problem I'm just starting to feel comfortable overcoming.
Recently I've been working with a new mentor who is guiding me through building an application that includes the foundations of real-world developer experience. From authentication, to asset management, to webhook integration - it's a lot! And although I am a bootcamp graduate and confident that with his support I will be able to accomplish this, it's pretty scary.
Imposter syndrome sees this as the perfect opportunity to attack! "You'll never be able to do this", "You'll look stupid asking that question", "He'll figure out you have no clue what you're doing", and worst.. "You're not even close to being ready". But what did I do? Fight back! Imposter syndrome is something we will all deal with, but if something scares us we should push towards it rather than run away - that's growth!
Yesterday, my mentor and I had a quick but equally helpful meeting. I was nervous to ask questions that I thought would make me look stupid. But, I'm in a great opportunity to learn with an experienced developer who is taking the time to show me the ropes. So I'd be missing out if I didn't push myself to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I think that's something we all need to keep in mind:
So keep asking those questions, accepting uncertainty, making mistakes and learning from them. Get over the fear of looking stupid! Programming is not easy, and asking questions doesn't make you stupid!
For anyone who is reading this and is in the position where you are guiding or mentoring someone who is early in their learning, please remember to have patience and make it a safe space for us juniors to learn. I tweeted this the other day after meeting with my mentor (who has been amazing!) and wanted to share it since it's relevant: