Becoming the Developer You Want to Be

The world of tech is a fast-paced world where it is easy to feel like you’ve been left behind. In fact, it is not uncommon for people in the industry to suffer from an imposter syndrome, where they feel like they are a fraud or otherwise not worthy to be in the industry. A lot of this comes down to how we feel as developers.

There is a commonly held belief that you can’t become a developer.  Rather, you have to be born that way. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. Being a successful developer is no different than being successful in any other profession.

Far from requiring near-magical abilities, all it requires is learning and hard work. Also, below are three steps you can consider to improve your ability and become the developer you know you can be.

Finish What You Start

The worst thing you can do is give up. Whether the end result is sloppy or super combed over, make sure you finish it. Coding is a field where you will constantly come across problems. Solving these problems requires patience and a determination to solve the problem. This requires skill and may be really challenging at first.

Know that there are many different ways to solve a problem. The answer may not be present to you at the moment, and you will have to think outside the box to find the right answer. Know that the developers around you are no different. Simply put, they have been working on building patience and determination.

Start Coding

You cannot get better at something until you start doing it. You will need to put something down to begin building your skill. Even if what you put down will be deleted later on, it is important to start the process somewhere. Consider task management techniques. Instead of considering the project from the perspective of the big picture, break it down instead into small easily digestible chunks. Remember that even bad code is infinitely better than no code at all.

As another consideration, ask for help! There are plenty of resources out there. It is easy to get stressed out and having short-term goals and seeking help as a part of the process are crucial.

Realize There Is Nothing Beyond Your Grasp

Being a developer does not mean having magical traits. It does not mean you possess some secret ability that mere mortals lack. Rather, it means that you are taking the time and attention to focus towards a career you enjoy.

Develop your ability to think critically. That too is a skill that you can gradually improve over time. While imposter syndrome may be real, it doesn’t have to affect you.

 

Fight The Fear of Failure By Breaking A Few Things

There is a fear in the tech industry of looking like you don’t know what you are doing. This is so pervasive that people will not take risks to deliver something that doesn’t threaten their own perceived competence.

This is all well and good until you consider that doing so hampers creativity, innovation, and leaves us constantly feeling like we are on the brink of failure. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, and the best way you can fight it is by breaking a few things and learning.

Pushing Code

When you push code, you risk going into unexplored territory. Trying to do something new may result in some failures and even break what is there. People usually don’t try to take the risk because they don’t feel as if they are providing the right kind of value to the rest of their team. They do not see what they are doing as solving a problem, and they don’t want to be seen as if they are unsure of what they are doing.  It is not uncommon to feel that making a mistake is a failure. In fact, it is one of the best ways to grow.

So how do you build up the courage to fight feeling like a fraud and instead accept your ability as it stands? One of the scariest and most direct ways is to take more risks in coding. Also, consider asking questions if and when you become stuck. Asking questions will result in you wasting less of your time and having more time to work on the more important problems at hand.

Another important hint is not to be a perfectionist with code that you are uncertain will work or not. Get it to do what you need and then clean it up. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to push your code. The mistakes you make as a developer will result in you becoming more confident both in finding the right solution eventually and fixing issues at the moment.

Some Final Considerations

Ask yourself the following two questions the next time something goes wrong and you will ensure that your mistake is a valuable learning experience.

First, why is what you did wrong for your current problem?  Second, what course of action will you have to take to make it work.

Being a great developer doesn’t happen overnight. It requires being passionate and unafraid of your subject material and career. You will need to be confident in your ability and understand that failure is a part of the job for people at all levels.

Perfection is required to become better. Rather, understanding why problems develop and how you can resolve them is a route you can take to be the coder you know you can be.

Using Supportive Groups to Make It as a Woman in the Tech World

When can a person call themselves a part of the community?  For thousands of women entering tech, feeling like there is a place to belong is challenging.  With a field dominated by men and some ingrained prejudices towards the ability of women, feeling like you fit in can be really difficult.

This is especially true if you are coming out of education and trying to establish yourself in the industry. It might be daunting to say that you are in the field. While no one would ever test you on the spot when it comes to your coding skills if you proclaim what industry you’re in, it is not uncommon to feel imposter syndrome.

Instead of waiting to feel like you have to ‘earn’ the identity, seize it from the start and make it your own. Begin networking within the community as soon as you can. Events like hackathons or meet ups are the best way to find your future employer. Succeeding at this requires having a firm belief that you not only belong there but also have the skills to cut it. If nothing else, don’t underestimate the value that fellow female programmers can provide. Having stood where you stand now, their experience in the field and passion for the subject is the perfect place to go for support and assistance.

A Community That Supports One Another

As we said above, tech is a field dominated by men. While this can be a bit alienating, ladies in the industry support one another. Find people in the industry, reach out, get coffee, and pick their brain about things that may be worrying you. They can provide a level of assistance that will give you the advantage like with negotiating tactics. Again, this is a community that wants its members to succeed. While there are a lot of challenges, there is also a great deal of potential and opportunity.

The are a wide range of resources that you can access if you know where to look. It will require a lot of reaching out, building connections, and exploring the field in public settings. At the same time, you will have what you need to test the waters and get your questions answered.

Resources You Should Consider When Starting Your Career

Tech Ladies

Tech Ladies is a great place to get news and information. A private Facebook group Tech Ladies allow access to their job board and provide plenty of opportunities to learn.

PayUp

Another great group for women, PayUp is a resource that is specifically about money as well as work. An excellent place to discuss negotiation techniques, you can access their Slack group and begin getting advice today.

Lady Hacks

Lady Hacks helps to provide experience working with groups on various coding projects. A supportive environment, it is an excellent place to experience a hackathon.

Ela Conf

Ela Conf acts as both an online community through Slack as well as an annual conference. An incredible opportunity, the conference is an amazing place to get advice. You can request access through the Slack group at the bottom of the page.

GirlDevelopIt

A great place to start, you can attend events and classes. Welcoming and supportive, the group is quite active online and offers a great deal of advice for members. Search for a local chapter in your area.

Where Does This Leave Us?

You don’t have to be a rock star developer to call yourself a coder. Rather, all it requires is getting educated in coding and reaching out to various communities. Doing so will help you get better established. It will benefit a lot when applying for a job. It will also provide you a sounding board when overcoming challenges you may experience in your work. While it is easy to feel alienated, it has never been easier to development work networks and become established in this exciting field. Good luck as you make it in the tech industry!

Finding a Good Front End Developer is Hard, and Here’s Why

What is a front end developer?

When you look at the world of website design, you have to be aware of so many elements. Besides just building a page, you have to be able to use that page on each and every possible platform. Most developers don’t worry about that.

If you are focused on the bulk of the website, you don’t need to be, but the front end developer does. They are responsible for making sure that the first entrance to the web page is smooth and seamless. They need to make sure that all of the code works as well as making sure that any special tracking codes that are set up on the site work as well. I’m sure you can see how this can get very complicated very quickly, but that isn’t all there is to this situation.

What else do they have to do?

When a front end developer is putting together a web site, they have to input most of the code by hand, and this can be hard to check because there are no reliable systems to verify that this is working as you would have with the server side of things. When they have managed to work the coding side of stuff, then they can move onto the verify that everything they have done will work on a PC and a Mac. Then they can test it on tablets, smart phones, and all the other places you might look at that page. Even with all of this work, there’s an even bigger complication that front end developers have to face each and every day.

Do you know how fast the web changes?

I’m sure that you already know that we are in a world where the technology of the web changes faster than we can learn it. It seems like there is some new system or technique developed daily. This can have a huge impact on a person working as a front end developer.

Not only do they need to be an expert on the current technology, but they also have to constantly be looking at the latest tech news and learning about everything that happened in the tech world over night.

Yes, the new technology offers exciting new possibilities, but you still have to learn about the new information and process how to add it to what you are already doing in a way that is effective and efficient. At least that is what you will have to do if you want to be one of the top front end developers out there.

How do teachers even manage to teach this stuff then?

Because of the pace at which the world of front end development changes, it is almost impossible to teach a class on this important part of web page development. Even after finishing a course on front end development, you are going to find yourself several steps behind at least which is why if you are in a course, you need to spend as much time as you can doing independent research on the newest information and techniques in front end development.

What do you need to know about a front end developer to know if they are good at their job?

As already mentioned, the biggest factor to being a good front end developer is knowing as much as you possibly can about the world of front end development. You need to know how much time they spend on a project as well as how much time they spend exploring the latest developments in the industry. Find out what they are passionate about when it comes to developing the front end of a page.

Also, get them talking about projects that they are proud that they have completed. Getting to know more about the work history of a front end developer will give you insights into what they like to do, and the goals they have when they create pages.

Why is it so hard to find good front end developers?

Front end development is one of the hardest parts of putting together a web site in our modern age. This is because there is so much fluctuation in the technology of the industry that it is almost impossible to keep up with everything that there is to learn.

A kid coming out of a college program hoping to become a front end developer had already fallen behind several steps because whatever they learned in school was at least partially outdated before they walked into the classroom.

Beyond that, though, there is also the fact that when you work as a front end developer, you have to keep track of so many different factors as you optimize the function and the tracking features of the users that will access the site.

Plus, you have to make sure your websites are fast and well optimized for performance.

Along with that, you have to input most of the code manually with few options to test the functionality of the site while you are working on it. Add in testing your page on all the possible platforms, and you can see why this is so hard