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Walter Jenkins
Walter Jenkins

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The Self-taught Developer Rules

Over the course of my computer science journey to have the title of developer there have been a few rules that I have developed that I often give to others on the same path some tech related and some just focused on maintaining focus and motivation.


You don't need to know it all 🧠

You just need to be able to learn the next line

There are a lot of people out there that are trying to sell the quick solution to level up and become a “real developer” the truth is there really isn't such a thing. If you are working on developing websites, you are a developer. If you are automating your job, you are a developer. If you have to Google syntax, you are a developer because you are developing.

Build you toolbox 🧰

In between the podcasts, blogs, google searches and all of the code snippets you have on your clipboard, you probably feel like you are trying to jump on a moving train.

There is an endless supply of new tech coming out everyday and there is no way that you can keep up with it all.

What you should be doing is finding tech that is currently being sought after in the market. Look at job postings and see what people out there are looking for and learn a couple of those technologies.

I think in Javascript you need to know:

  • A JavaScript framework
  • A state management library
  • A CSS framework

Personally I learned:

  • React
  • Redux/Redux-toolkit
  • Tailwind CSS

Tiny Design Libraries📩

While I think the first thing that a lot of people end up wanting to do is reach for the big libraries like Material UI to handle user inputs. It's often not the best route. These libraries can be difficult to configure and you are often just better of working with smaller ones that handle one thing well.

Don't finish the book 📚

Enjoy what you read.

I have a lot of books that I have started and I have gotten something out of all of them, but it is truly rare to fully finish or pay attention to a whole book. I used to feel guilty for not finishing them, but the fact is that at some point I stopped enjoying and I got something out of every one of those half finished books.

As of right now I have 18 unfinished courses in Udemy right now.

The same can be said for these courses. They're great and I got a lot out of them, but I'm don't want to sit through all 100 hours of a React with hooks and a million other concepts.

I think the most that I have gotten through one of these courses is 60% and I'm glad that is not an interview question or that those certificates are worth anything.

When you can. Read the docs.📑

I hate being that guy, but coming from an analyst background and now working in dataviz. The types of libraries and packages that I work with can be intracate. Not to say that a good old fashioned snippet isn't amazing, but mastering a library cannot be done with being able to read through the docs.

What are the main things that made you successful?

Photo by Nick Wehrli from Pexels

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