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.