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Stephen Whitmore
Stephen Whitmore

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You are going to fail

I pride myself on the fact that I have never had to ask for help. I have never felt overwhelmed or out of my depth. I've never made egregious errors that forced me to scramble for a quick solution. I've never faced a challenge so daunting that I began to question all of my life choices.

Do I have your attention? Your ire, perhaps? Good. Because everything I just said above is a complete lie and I have absolutely done all of those things on more than one occasion.

Writing code is hard. Writing good code is really hard. This is why so many of us experience burnout and imposter syndrome. We are the mental equivalent of professional athletes. We're competitive, always training, and always need to be at the top of our game.

That kind of pressure lives in the back of our minds. We may take a look around and see just how much we don't know and feel inferior. After working in this field for 10 years I'm here to share a little secret:

Senior developers are just junior developers who have had more time to make more mistakes.

That's right. We're not smarter than you. We haven't tapped some mysterious force of knowledge or wisdom. We've just faceplanted so many times that we've finally learned a few lessons.

I still struggle with burnout and imposter syndrome. Only now, after having overcome so many hurdles, there's a small part of me that knows that I'll probably be fine and will figure things out.

Persistence is the #1 ingredient to being a successful software developer.

So fail my friends. Fail with enthusiasm. Because failure leads to learning and learning leads to growth.

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