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An Open Letter to Newbies

Dear Newbie Developer,

This sh*t is hard.

You're not going to like it at first, and by "it" I mean you will not like your first roadblock. In fact, you might not like any blockers, but you will encounter them regardless of experience level.

Honestly, it's okay to cry. It's okay to have a bit of an identity crisis when you encounter these difficulties.

Identity crises are normal, but do not dwell on them for long.

As the lovely Kelly Clarkson sings:

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

Stand a little taller


What doesn't kill you makes a fighter

Footsteps even lighter

Seriously, and I mean this literally:

just walk away.

Get up and out of your coding space.

Give yourself a 10-15 minute breather if you're on a deadline.

Literally leave the room. You don't need to go outside. Heck, I just walk to the kitchen and get more water or a nice snacko to reward myself with for even just the attempt.

Forreal though, solutions usually come to me during breaks, especially after a good night's sleep or a nap.

If there is one thing you need to remember throughout your dev journey in its entirety, it's really to just be kind to yourself.

Sure, there are prodigies that can regurgitate a translation from binary in 0.2 seconds-- but that's them and not you, and that is a good thing .

What you bring to the table is valid and will always matter. There are ~7 billion people in the world, and maybe one of those 7 billion will find your way of writing or coding or whatever you do helpful/useful. Maybe what you say and how you convey it will resonate with someone, thereby making their journey a lot easier.

Do you know how many tutorials, StackOverflow posts, and pages of our choice search engine we go through just to find a solution that makes sense to us?

Do you know how many of those sources we have to cut and piece together just for our code to do the thing we want it to do?

Newbie, I hear you. I was there before: tired, frustrated, ever-wondering what this means. Do not give up, but also, do not strive for excellence-- especially at this stage.

Right now, you're wondering why it's not working, even though you followed the instructions to the T.
The best path to go at that point is to figure out a way to get it to work. If that means writing 50 lines of 'if else' and 'else if', so be it. But as long as you're learning, as long as you know what it does you are making progress.

...and after you understand that, THEN you can work on refinement and optimization.

But for now, please, just remember to be kind to yourself and get yourself a little snacko.

Pikachu eating a whole apple

Thanks for reading!

Let's keep in touch on Twitter !

Top comments (5)

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

So true I had a lot of imposter syndrome when I first started my journey. There is a huge difference in the way I am now compared to many years ago.

cem_coduroglu profile image
Cem coduroglu

Hey cat thank you this inspired me alot as a newbie 😅

onmywayfromwestindies profile image


goobric profile image

🔥 💯
TYsm for tellin like it is...

and not this 15min of click-bait fame on
'We can transform you into a WebDev in 12 hours'

anesmo profile image