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Top 3 Confessions Of A Code Newbie

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Wikipedia defines it as " a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability." And oh boy is it real.

Check it out - I'm using CodeCademy in tandem with FreeCodeCamp and I'm going through HTML and CSS. I'm taking notes, and flying through this stuff like I know what I'm doing, or something. I mean, It takes a little getting used to at first, but after you get the hang of it and see how everything connects, you're thinking "Oh, this is what coding is?? PFFFF...easy-peasy. I'm going to be a developer in NO time."

Um, nope. Not if our friend JavaScript has anything to say about it. Start any conversation on any social media platform with a Dev, and You'll quickly see why HTML and CSS are not technically considered languages, but rather language structures to support languages. Turns out, aPaReNtLy a true language has syntax, structure and logic based elements in order to conduct instructions for an action. And you know, logic is naturally complex and complicated, and in turn, so are the languages you'll actually need to understand to do the job.

So basically, I'm not as prodigious as I thought. Crap.

Time Management


This is possibly my biggest barrier to entry, and I'm sure you'll probably agree. I mean, not just time management, but also energy management.

I'm in my 30's. I have two different careers in Healthcare that require evenings/weekends/holidays, and sometimes travel for weeks at a time, gym time (2 hours a day), college courses to take, a daughter, a business I'd like to have time to work on building, hobbies, and somewhere in there I like to try to fit...uh...what's it called again? OH YEAH: sleep.

If anyone is familiar with the "Four Burners Theory", you'll know that it's a commentary on work/life balance; that, in general, most people have a limited amount of energy for a given number of simultaneous tasks, and that life is a summation of consistent trade-offs. The idea is that you have 4 burners on your stove (tasks), and only a given amount of gas that you can use (energy).

An article written by a guy named James Clear states:

*"Imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolizes one major quadrant of your life.

The first burner represents your family.
The second burner is your friends.
The third burner is your health.
The fourth burner is your work.
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The Four Burners Theory says that “in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.”*

So, basically, when everything is important, which elements do we prioritize and which ones do we neglect?

Personally, my "quadrants (octants?)" are like this (not in order of importance); Work, Fitness, Family, Development, Business, Social Life, Hobbies, Sleep.

Some factors affect others and are directly related.

My schedule is like this:

8:00 am - 10:00am - Make sure daughter is ready for school, run errands, make breakfast/meals for work.
10:00am - 1:30pm - Dev/school
2:30pm - 11:00pm - Work
11:30pm - 2:00am - I usually take an hour to relax before I head to the gym.

Rinse and repeat.

So, how do I know what to de-prioritize?

Family isn't an option to neglect, neither is fitness, but I can't neglect work because,'s work, and it directly affects my ability to do the other things on my list. And development affects everything else, or least, it will eventually.

Sometimes it depends on the day and what's important in the moment. Sometimes I can't fall asleep the night before and find myself awake for 24 hours straight. In that case, I'll likely skip the gym and just make it up on the weekend. Or I'll sleep in and skip Dev for the day, but I try not to make interruptions a habit.


My motivation is actually really simple. My job sucks. Ok, maybe not the job itself, but at least the requirements to do the job. The career path I chose 7 years ago isn't a bad one, the work itself is great, especially if you love science. I enjoy being in a position to positively affect other's lives and I enjoy working with Doctors, epidemiologists, and Ph.D's. and having my opinion valued.

But it comes at too high of a cost.

  • The work was dangerous before COVID, as working with highly contagious viruses and bacteria is risky, even with proper PPE. Having to work in this field during the Ebola outbreak wasn't too fun either. If you know anything about Hemorrhagic Fevers, you'll know that they are extremely contagious and deadly.

  • Facilities are dangerously understaffed, placing an incredible burden on the staff that does the work, sometimes requiring double shifts. This causes burn-out, which in turn can cause carelessness due to being tired and overworked.

  • Work/Life balance is almost non-existent. Working shifts that sequester you away from your loved ones, and not being able to eat dinner with your family every night is a big one.

  • My field is notoriously underpaid.

  • I think the cherry on top was my raise this year. After getting a STELLAR evaluation as a more senior member of my team, my raise was a whopping $0.40/hr. Some members of my team were paid even less, and frankly, this amount is somewhat insulting considering the amount of work we produce.

When I did the math, I realized that this amounted to less than a 2.2% increase, which is the projected rate of inflation for 2021. I'm essentially getting paid LESS than I did last year, despite the increase in work volume and quality that I produce.

Motivation; activated.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and let me know what your four-burners look like? How do you manage your time and what does your schedule look like while you try to break that barrier to entry in the the world of Dev. What are your motivations?


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