3min read


Advice for the young at code

Everyone starts as a beginner, there’s no excuses. As a developer, a designer, a manager, a teacher. The difference between a beginner and an expert is experience, and it only comes with time.

It’s very common for developers try to keep up with every technology trend we heard of. A new framework, a new technique or even a new language. Overnight we already want to master this new stuff, we want to teach and spread the word. And, when we can’t do it - almost all the times - we get frustrated and seems it’s the end, we’re no more capable of doing great stuff.

I remember my early days with web development, when I can’t understang what a grid layout was, and how the columns scheme worked. Damn I felt sad, like I was the dumbest developer of all time. Now I remember that time and I think “I was really dumb”, but not to don’t know how it worked, but to feel that way.

Some weeks later I was already understanding and using grid layouts on my webpages, and I was trying to improve the grid system I was using… It was only a matter of experience (and time).

The big mistake we do is that leap bigger than our legs, and then we fall and feel disgraceful because we couldn’t understand how a thing works, or how to use it the right way. The advice behind this coach-like article is:

Take your time! Don’t rush things.

To learn, to create, to share and to teach. Avoid comparing yourself to other people, because every person has its own time. When we learn it, everything gets simpler. I keep learning it everyday. As I’m a musician, I’ve learned that mastering an instrument demands hard study and time; software development works in the same way.

Quite often I see new developers discovering Bootstrap, or people I follow on GitHub starring repos that I’ve already starred in the last year, and I think “well, it’s nice they’re discovering it too”. Some people may think they’re late, and they should be exploring other stuff. But, they have their own time, as well as I do have mine and you have yours.

Experience comes with quality time - learning, trying, failing and trying again. Resilience is a soft skill that you must develop in order to achieve great things. When we fail - and we fail a lot - it’s a unique opportunity to push it back and try to do things better; it’s not the time to give up and try other thing. If you give up at one thing, you’ll probably will give up at the second.

By quality time I mean studying, practicing, improving. And doing it the right way - respecting the limits of your body and mind. You’ll miss those nights you didn’t sleep in order to study more. When your body calls, listen to it.

No one can learn or practice when tired, mentally and physically exhausted. A fit mind would only work in a fit body. Eat right, sleep well, do some excercises to keep your body moving, try to create a healthiest routine. And, between it, study and practice your skills.

If it’s HTML, try to create a page, or redo a page you like; if it’s Ruby, try to create an algorythm; if it’s English, try to write a blog post. But try to do it at your time - don’t rush; I guess you all got it!

And, if possible, try to track your progress: write what you’ve done, your high and lowlights during your study/practice time. You can do it on paper, or even on Evernote, Notion or on your GitHub account.

Write down sentences, explaining your feelings about what you’re writing - if it’s a failure, write the “why”s and the “because”s you’ve failed; if it’s a success, write the accomplishments you’ve reached, and how you feel about it. Avoid only checklist-style notes, because you’ll forget what you were feeling at the time when you write.

By doing it, you’ll became a better person and a better developer. You’ll have your own resources against failures and errors that might cross your path, and you’ll became more practical when a situation gets in front of you.

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jlozovei | 2021