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Orion Palmer
Orion Palmer

Posted on • Originally published at

Congrats! You Failed!

You've made your first mistake.
That mistake took you 1-2 hours to fix.
You realized after all that time, that you just simply missed a semicolon.

Simple Mistakes

Everyone who has or is learning to be a developer have all been through the same exact problem as you; the dreaded semicolon, switching the link tag out for a script tag, missing an opportunity to properly indent, creating way too many divs and losing track of where each one belongs, and yes, grammar (former elementary spelling bee champion). One thing that occurs after these mistakes however is that our eyes and minds begin training themselves to look for these errors and find them almost immediately. That's because our minds are calibrated to be troubleshooters.

peanut butter.jpg

The Analogy

Just like with teaching a fresh young mind you have to realize that the machine you are spending so much of energy communicating with knows absolutely nothing about making a peanut butter jelly. You have to take teach it step by step. Through the HTML divs you are telling it how to hold the knife and the peanut butter, through the CSS stylings you are telling it how you want that peanut butter on the bread to look, and the JavaScript functions activate the muscles and perform the action of spreading the peanut butter on the bread. Any mistake in teaching this process to a child will naturally lead to the child dropping the knife regularly onto the floor and then putting the dirty knife right back into the peanut butter jar and then licking all of the contents off of the knife. (Buy a new jar of peanut butter afterward.)

The Good New

Like we stated before, once you realize the mistake, you can often times solve it little effort after going through the grueling process of trying to find the answer. The answer becomes engrained into your brain due to the stimuli surrounding the problem.


If you are new to programming, the best thing to take from this lesson is that you are truly doing the work of a developer. A lot of what it means to be a programmer is understand how to read the code presented and debug.

Yes, it's not all about teaching the machine how to perform a task, rather it's about making sure it performs the task correctly.

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Orion Palmer

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