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How Sarah Continues to Code in 2021

theoriginalbpc profile image Sarah Bartley Updated on ・6 min read

When it comes to learning how to code, it is essential for all developers to celebrate the small achievements as well as the big ones. Achievements look differently and mean different things to every developer, but it is key to celebrate them all. Especially when it comes to learning to code. Small achievements are just as important as the big ones since they are what keep developers motivated throughout their coding journeys.

My most recent achievement is finally taking a leap I've always thought about making.

After years of going back and forth, I decided to switch platforms for my content. I started blogging in March 2015 with my first blog The Original BritishPandaChick on Blogger. Blogger was a great platform to get my feet wet into blogging. I was able to write about what I wanted and began building the habit of writing every single day to make weekly deadlines.

When I became a Skillcrush ace, I decided to start the My Coding Journey series. I often heard other developers talk about the importance of blogging throughout their process of learning how to code and Skillcrush encouraged aces to blog as part of being in the program. So the My Coding Journey was my first step into writing about coding and what I was learning. It meant explaining topics I was learning about to others. That was very scary since I still felt like a newbie and was worried this would make me look ridiculous in front of other developers.

Thankfully I didn't listen to impostor syndrome. The My Coding Journey series resulted in me speaking at Moms Can Code's first virtual summit or being featured in the Code Newbie newsletter. AS I wrote more blog posts, I became more confident writing about coding and explaining tech concepts I've been learning. As I wrote blog posts, I realized I was getting a better understanding of what code I was reading and writing. This made concepts I often struggled with grasping easier to understand as I reviewed each topic for my posts.

Things have changed a lot since I started that very first blog.

AS I progressed along my coding journey, my blogs reflect certain changes at points of my coding journey. In 2018, I realized I enjoyed writing certain posts much more for my blog than other topics I have written in the past. After giving it much thought, I decided to end The Original BritishPandaChick and created BritishPandaChick Codes on Blogger.

BritishPandaChick Codes was a much more focused blog than The Original BritishPandaChick. It resolved a lot of the issues I'd been encountering while I was working on The Original BritishPandaChick by giving me the freedom to write the posts I enjoyed writing on my own schedule. I wasn't stressed out about trying to make weekly deadlines. Instead, I was able to take my time ensuring posts were written just right before I published them on the web.

I moved the My Coding Journey to BritishPandaChick Codes and began writing new content for BritishPandaChick Codes. New series such as CNC2018, new Skillcrush courses, and more began appearing on my blog. I partnered with Visme a couple of times to write tutorials and posts about their tool. I even published posts about what happened during some of the coding challenges such as 100 Days of Code and Disney Codes Challenge.

Throughout my coding journey I was thought about switching platforms.

The thought of leaving Blogger has always been something I've gone back and forth on. Before I started coding, I knew I'd eventually need to move to a different platform. When I built a WordPress version of my portfolio site, I initially tried using my site as a blog. It didn't work well. I often forgot to use the platform and instead preferred using Blogger since it seemed much easier to publish my content there where everything was set up vs trying to build it from scratch again on a different platform.

I eventually scrapped the WordPress blog and continued to use Blogger. When I created BritishPandaChick Codes, I thought about using a different platform instead of Blogger. However, I decided to stick with Blogger since it was something I felt comfortable with and it felt scary trying to do something new on a different platform. Staying with Blogger made me feel comfortable, but it meant more work just to show posts and pictures for coding tutorials. Although the thoughts of switching platforms kept popping up over time, I always talked myself out of it and stuck with Blogger.

I've been thinking a lot about the future of my coding journey.

At the beginning of the year, the thoughts of switching platforms kept coming back to me. It wasn't an easy decision to make. After taking time to reflect and consider my options, I decided it was best to end BritishPandaChick Codes on Blogger. While the platform itself is a great place to start a blog, I thought about my future for my coding journey and the direction I wanted to go as well as the projects I wanted to do. I realized Blogger wasn't going to be able to keep up with everything I wanted to do so it was time to move to a different platform.

Right now, I'm in the process of switching platforms. BritishPandaChick Codes is officially closed so I can concentrate on moving platforms. I'm splitting up the technical posts I've written on The Practical Dev and Code Newbie's new community platform. Once all the posts are transferred to their new homes, I'll be able to continue writing posts in the series I started on BritishPandaChick Codes as well as new ones for new topics I've yet to cover on my blog.

So how does this relate to coding?

Everything that has been happening with my blogs reminded me about my experience working with JavaScript. When I first worked with JavaScript, I hated it. I didn't understand it so I avoided it as much as possible. I instead stuck with using the skills I was comfortable with such as HTML & CSS. When I built projects, I wasn't sure how to add JavaScript to my projects so a lot of my earlier projects don't use a lot of it.

As my coding journey progressed, I realized I couldn't stay in my comfort zone forever. In order to be the best developer I could be, I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That meant facing my fears. Especially when it came to JavaScript. If I didn't, the websites I created would suffer without it.

When I decided to do my second round of 100 Days of Code, I wanted to make an effort to work with JavaScript. That meant building with JavaScript and incorporating it into the projects I was making throughout the challenge. It was tough, but it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I faced my fears and became much more comfortable working with JavaScript code in the process. If I didn't do that, I would still be thinking I would never understand JavaScript.

This is why celebrating achievements is so important.

Celebrating all of your victories is a key part of learning how to code. It doesn't matter if it is landing a job or just coding for 25 minutes today. Acknowledging and recognizing all the achievements is a way of rewarding oneself for just taking baby steps towards something new.

My advice for allies to support underrepresented folks who code is to be their biggest cheerleaders and celebrate their achievements along with them no matter how big and small they are. Allies can do this easily by saying congratulations when people share achievements on Twitter chats to sharing posts people have written on The Practical Dev or Code Newbie. Every little bit of support is key to helping underrepresented folks throughout their own coding journeys.

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