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Don't be afraid to make mistakes

lucidinsomniac profile image Donna Chin ・3 min read

Hi Everyone!

This is my first post on here. I'm currently in my third week of my Full stack boot camp with CodeOP. I'm loving every minute of it. CodeOp is a coding boot camp with a mission to empower marginalized people like folks who identify as women, TGNCNB (Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary) and are also POC (Person of Color). The environment is very diverse, international, warm and welcoming.

But that isn't why I'm here. I wanted to touch on the topic that most beginners seem to be struggling with, and that's the fear of making mistakes. From my own experience and from watching others, there are people who are starting out like me, in their early-mid 30s, looking to change careers. At this age, or even older, a person can feel extremely vulnerable to admit that they don't know, or understand something. They're adults who have had full-time jobs for a while, so yeah, it is daunting to be in a group with folks in their 20s. Some programmers are also parents, and the feeling to admit that to yourself can be very awkward.

I want to let you know, it's okay to feel that way, and it is expected. Don't feel ashamed to make mistakes, or ask someone if you get stuck. Everyone has to start somewhere. When you are learning, really take the time to learn the concepts, theories and applications. Coding is one place where you can't pretend your way through because it's like a team sport when you work in pairs or on a team project. Everyone relies on one another in order to function as a whole. If you need to take the long route to code everything out, then so be it. You can always go back and clean-up/refactor your code as you get better at it.

When I share my assignments with the other people in my cohort, I feel bad sometimes. I can tell that some of my classmates think they did the assignment wrong, or their code is too long. There is no wrong way if the end result is still the same. Don't shy away when you see other people's work. Be proud, be confident and have faith in your struggles because you're thinking in a way that makes sense to you and that's a good thing! This journey is going to be a long and life-learning adventure, and it is important to keep an open mind to constructive feedback but not be ignorant to them. It will definitely help you grow as a developer.

If we want to be better developers, we have to become vulnerable and embrace our mistakes. But it doesn't mean to dwell on them, or walk pass them once we acknowledge them. Go back and see what caused the error/bug/malfunction. Deconstruct and isolate where it went astray and once you get it, re-do it a bunch of times until it sticks.

You got this! Here are some posts to help boost your confidence level if you ever feel like you need it :).

What I Wish I Knew as a Junior Dev by Endy Austin

How to Make a Successful Mistake by Pramono Winata

Discussion

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

There is no wrong way if the end result is still the same.

From the learning perspective, that might be true, but otherwise it's a huge oversimplification. The "result", in the real world, isn't just the output of a program, but also the time it takes, the maintainability of the code, and the role it plays in a bigger context.

All developers, whether they started a week ago or have been coding for 20 years, should always be looking out for ways to improve the quality of their code, be that by learning from others, coming up with something new or whatever works.

If we want to be better developers, we have to become vulnerable and embrace our mistakes.

In my experience, most successful developers are this way (and probably have been for a long time). You can insist you're right about politics, philosophy, cooking, etc. but code execution time and numeric results don't lie.

At this age, or even older, a person can feel extremely vulnerable to admit that they don't know, or understand something.

Setting aside programming, that's a very self-destructive attitude to have. Nobody knows everything, and the human habit of acting like we do is very irrational and counterproductive. Sometimes we expect to be wiser because we're older, so we can easily get irritated when it turns out someone much younger knows more on a certain topic, but I think that's just because our monkey minds can't differentiate well between being generally more knowledgeable and knowing more in every single field. "Kids these days", am I right? xD

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endymion1818 profile image
Ben Read

🎉👏 Hurrah! Thank you for saying this! We need more of this attitude in our professions, and I’m actively trying to do more to encourage it. However it also requires psychological safety from those we admire, and those we are responsible to. We must encourage this safety in our teams in order for them to fail ... and by failing, to succeed.

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redlotusdesignz profile image
Diana Chin

Welcome to the DEV community 🤗 love your post 💗

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lucidinsomniac profile image
Donna Chin Author

Thank you! ❤️❤️🙃🙃