As developers, we are both the worker and the product. Fulfillment and happiness in your career never comes by chance but by the willingness to change and coordinate your path to your ultimate goal. Today, I will be going over step-by-step of the key things that an aspiring developer needs to be on their daily checklist.
Let me start with a brief introduction: After graduation in 2016, I had to take a pause to take care of my mother, who battled breast cancer until April of 2019. Just before she passed, she and I were talking about me getting back into the job hunt. That's when I told her that I wanted to become a web developer, but I had my doubts. Then she gave me the best advice in the world, but I will reveal that piece at the end of this article.
Now what are the key things that you need to do to become a successful developer?
1) Set goals and stick with it!
This step requires you to be intentionally proactive in each and every one of your targets that you set for yourself. Think of your mind becoming like that stick fly trap ribbon: Once you set that goal in your head, stick to it and don't let go until you get what you want.
2) Know the lay of the land! Start coding!
The key word here is START! Do the research of what programming language or framework your dream job requires to know, and then learn that skill! Beware of the tutorial hell that comes with this step. Too many times, you will find yourself drained or doing the bare minimum because you are constantly just copy & pasting someone else's code line per line.
3) Find like-minded people like you with the same goals!
Now it's not enough that you know how to code. It is also essential to be around other people like you that also want something better for themselves. I found this out during the first 4 months that I was learning code from freecodecamp.org. The lessons were okay, but I wasn't really grasping the concepts of the languages like I was when I was in college. Frustrated, I decided to look at other resources. That's when I came across Mr. Joe Santos aka CodingPhase.com on YouTube. Joe is a self-taught dev that always focused on making the road to becoming a developer less daunting. He live streams a lot every week, so whenever I need a motivation source, I always just jump to his streams and chat with him and other subscribers to his channel.
4) Find a mentor!
It was during one of Joe's streams when I first heard of Lawrence.
I talked to Lawrence here and there, and that is when I found out about the Memphis Code Connector group. Since joining the group, I have met many awesome mentors like Lawrence, JC, Coriano, Danny, James, and Corey (just to name a few). Each one of them has been very helpful in my professional growth to become a developer. I honestly recommend always checking out communities like this in your local area and participate in any tech meetups.
5) Create your own projects!
Now this key actually comes from my favorite professor in college, Dr. Sumuli. She always told the class that you have to list out your project ideas and steps for each project so you can organize accordingly. So after I finally got over my first learning curve with HTML & CSS, I made a list on my phone of "Dream Projects" that I wanted to build at some point. I also find the list as a motivation source to strive to get better so I can start on those projects! After all, I can't follow tutorials forever. You have to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!
6) Build your professional network.
It's not what you know; it's who you know. I know we all have heard that quote time and time again. But it is necessary to get started in any career. It's important that you learn to communicate to fellow developers in a professional setting. That is why I take advantage of every chatroom channel, live stream, and meetup that comes my way. It allows me to meet new people, and socialize with individuals with the experience in the same field that I plan on getting into.
7) Apply, fail, and apply again.
Try, fail, and then try again.
This concept is necessary for anyone during the hiring process.
Because (1) you never learn from our mistakes if you choose to never apply at all, and (2) greatness is seizing every opportunity that comes your way. Make your portfolio, your GitHub page, your Linkedin page, even your resume and cover letter better with each application until you get what you want!
Lastly, you now about to get that golden advice that my mother told me that day in the hospital. Are you ready?
She told me to change my mindset so that way my dreams can become a reality. I rephrase that statement into something more relatable:
Change your mental code so your current reality can materialize into something better!
If your attitude while you’re learning code is not a positive and motivating one, then change it. I’ve learned that even I start doubting if I ever want to become a developer. But then I have to remind myself the road to bettering myself is always harder when the reward at the end is greater. So in that single moment, I chose to change my mental code of doubt into power so I can level up my reality.
I hope you find these keys into DeveloperLand helpful as we all continue to make growth in our professions. Thank you for reading, and if you need any follow-up on these steps, I am open to talking about it here or in Twitter @MommydevYt!