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What I'm Grateful for as a Developer

lkopacz profile image Lindsey Kopacz ・4 min read

Happy Thanksgiving to those of us in the United States!

Monica Gellar from TV show Friends with a turkey over her head putting on sunglasses.

I've been in this industry now for about 4 and a half years. In the spirit of Thanksgiving (in the US), I wanted to make a specific list of what I am thankful for in my journey as a developer.

Community

I am very thankful for the tech communities to which I belong. I know that meeting people on the Internet was taboo at one point, but I've made so many friends online through the community. I am reasonably active in the Washington, D.C. tech community and their slacks. I have made so many friends on not only a professional level but also on a personal level.

These friends I get to cheer on as they grow in their career, and they reciprocate that to me. One of my biggest supporters has been Ali Spittel whom I met online through community first. Now I can say that we are friends, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be friends with techies. Any time I ever thought of rage quitting tech to pursue my other aspirations, I always was reminded of how fantastic community is in our sector. I wouldn't trade that for anything!

Digital tools developed by fellow developers

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 7 and have struggled with the distractions as they get more complicated. Phone and desktop notifications, text messages, and social media have not helped those of us who already struggle to focus.

Neil Patrick Harris tossing papers that say productivity on it.

I know I am not the only one who struggles with distraction, especially developers who are always having their attention taken away from their code. I am thankful for the many developers and entrepreneurs who have designed tools to help us stay organized. Here are the apps that help me with my productivity, which ultimately help me reduce my anxiety:

  1. Evernote - I didn't use this tool as much until the past year or so. But now, I don't know how I could go without it. I use it to create outlines for my blog posts and to keep a running list of ideas for future posts. This list is beneficial when you're out and about and think of something off the top of your head. I've had great ideas for posts and then forget because I didn't write it down!
  2. Trello - I've used this as a prioritization tool for this blog. Using the color-coded labels has helped me prioritize what tasks need to get done ASAP and what can wait.
  3. Grammarly - They have a free version which is fantastic. But because I am actively blogging, paying for the premium version is worth it. It helps me to get a sense of my tone, reduce passive voice, and improve my writing.
  4. Reminder & Timer Apps - There are so many things I am likely to forget day-to-day: following up with PMs, updating tickets with my progress, etc. A lot of times, if I can't do it at that moment, I tell Siri to set a reminder for a particular time to do it. I also use the Timer app on the phone for my Pomodoros!
  5. Headspace - This isn't a tool to help me stay organized, but learning to meditate has helped me manage my emotions, anxiety and time!

Without any of these tools, my job would be much harder. I would have way more difficulty staying on task or being productive.

The flexibility of our industry

I am thankful for the ability to work remotely and having flexibility in my day-to-day. Having a flexible schedule allows me to have time to work on my blog without it getting in the way of my personal life. I can take time for myself, my projects and my friends and family on top of my full-time job. Even when you don’t work 100% remotely, I find having a few days a week remote can help tremendously with work/life balance.

I've also grown to love that the industry (at least at the companies I have worked at) have embraced flex hours as a benefit. Usually, this comes in the form of core hours where you are required to be signed in for 4-5 hours consecutively. However, when you start or stop work outside of that is up to you so long as you put in your time. Flexibility has become way more important to me than making tons of money.

Constantly learning and helping others

I am thankful to have a platform to help others with web accessibility. Starting a blog has been out of my comfort zone, but incredibly rewarding. It has been a fantastic experience having a place where I can teach and help others, while also challenging myself to learn and grow. I love being able to see people have moments where they finally get it.

Hamster with glasses on reading a book, a metaphor for learning.

Blogging and teaching others has also encouraged me to lean further into my talents and skills. It's also forced me to explain things more in depth and expand how I think about accessibility. My last post on dyslexia was not something I had ever considered before starting this blog, and I learned so much in the process!

I'd love to hear what you're thankful for this year! Let me know on Twitter or down in the comments!

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lkopacz profile

Lindsey Kopacz

@lkopacz

I'm a self-taught Front End & JS Dev and professional learner with accessibility expertise. I'm passionate about breaking down concepts into relatable concepts, making it more approachable.

Discussion

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Nice article Lindsey :) ! I especially like the part how you are dealing with ADHD, I have also some mental issues (bipolar depression & anxiety issues), so it's really nice inspiration. Keep going & happy thanksgiving!

 

Thanks Ondrej :D

 

I'm definitely grateful for this industry's flexibility too, lots of important appointments were handled by being able to work remote when needed.

I'm also grateful for this industry giving many different ways to blend professionalism with personality as well - making technical or insightful blog posts mixed with humor, memes, and lots of personal design touches always reminds me that tech for all its flaws is worth defending.

 
 

Very nice article Lindsey, I can totally relate! :)
It is very important sometimes to just take a little time to appreciate what we have as professionals.

May it be a well-coded project that you were invited to work in (so you should be grateful for the other developers not leaving a mess), or just the kindness of our co-workers.

I was at a surprise party for a co-worker last weekend, and just realizing how much good time I have with all of my co-workers made me instantly grateful and happy beyond imagination. :)

 

So awesome!! Love it!

 

Awesome article Lindsey! I enjoy reading posts like this that are honest, transparent and focus on things outside of the ones and zeros we work in every day. Keep up the great work.

P.S. Eliza nailed rage quitting.

 

oh gosh I need to re-listen! hahahaha

 

Damn good post...except for the Friends Turkey Meme. I discovered Google's Keep Notes after forgetting to backup my notes each time I switched smartphones (several times a year). I will check out Grammerly; you did a much better job than their ads did of communicating the product's value.

 

hey now, that meme cracks me up. Imagine your friend dancing with a turkey on their head :P

Grammarly is awesome, @aspittel is who sold me to it and the first time I used to the premium I was like "wow this is awesome, money well spent!" You always wonder if it's going to be a waste of money, but it truly is helpful!

 

+1 on Headspace!!

 

I don't want to recommend it in place of therapy. But as someone who has been in therapy a ton over the years, I've found it really really helpful to reduce the amount I've needed to go :). Practicing the techniques in real life has been really helpful in becoming more productive and less attached to my anxiety.

 

❤️ Love this, I'm thankful for you too! DC WWC blogging buddies!

 

You're the best Ali!

 
 

Thank you so much Lynne!