If you ever struggle with learning to code, I want you to know that my code to generate a CSV file of user IDs has produced the output in the image below. I've been coding for 8 years, and it's one of the many mistakes I've made this week.
When I started coding I had a constant feeling of having no idea what I was doing.
I still have no idea what I'm doing, and make mistakes daily.
Long ago, these would make me frustrated and angry with myself. As I gain more experience, my attitude towards mistakes evolves.
Some of my current thoughts on making mistakes are:
- Mistakes are human, and are always an opportunity to improve
- Every programmer makes mistakes, even the really famous ones, and even if they hide it well
- My team is compassionate and will help me rather than shame me for slipping up
I can't stress enough how important the last point is. It's so important to find a team where you feel psychologically safe. In my current team a mistake often feels like an opportunity to collaborate, learn, and improve our process. It's something to reflect on without shame.
Some teams turn the very human act of making a mistake into exercise in assigning blame. Every line of code is another potential slip up, another layer of anxiety, and another step towards burnout.
This is just one aspect of a toxic company culture and it will have a negative impact on your mental well-being.
For this reason it's important not to be afraid to ask difficult questions about company culture and attitude towards mental health at interviews. If a potential employer isn't receptive to questions on these subjects, you probably don't want to work with them.