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Ellie Manifold
Ellie Manifold

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Overcoming a Fixed Mindset

I was coasting. And I knew it. I had been working in marketing for over a year, and still hadn't found much of a thrill in it. Some areas I did find interesting, however my day-to-day was not doing it for me. Having lived with two developers I had always been exposed to coding and software development, and decided to give it a try, beginning with a couple Codacademy courses. Enjoying this, I moved on to more substantial resources, including Free Code Camp and a lengthy Udemy Course where the end product was your own fully functioning website.

So, I knew this was a field I was interested in , but I couldn't possibly go forward with it as a career... could I? To anyone looking from the outside in, CS is such a foreign concept. Quite literally a different language. As most are aware, Imposter Syndrome is so prevalent among those attempting to begin their journey in the industry. I only realised I wasn't alone in feeling like this when I began researching online and listening to podcasts about how to get into programming, hearing about other people's experiences.

This was only reinforced by my inherently fixed mindset - what if I didn't have the programming 'gene'? As a female entering a male dominated field, this was a difficult feeling to overcome.

However, things soon changed. When I decided to undergo the course at Makers Academy and began the pre-course, I came across the article 'Effective Learning Strategies for Programmers' by Allison Kaptur, describing the issues people undergo when faced with a fixed mindset verses a growth mindset. Previously I wasn't even aware of the concept, let alone that it is in fact what I had been experiencing.

This is the point where my whole outlook changed. I had been actively holding myself back - entirely unnecessarily. Once I realised that a growth mindset was something to aim for, I made the active decision to eradicate the state of a fixed mindset from my thought process.

Since then, whenever I'm struggling to understand a problem or fix a bug, I make an effort to push these 'dead-end' thoughts from my mind, and think about how the solution is to just keep working at it. There is no such thing as 'not being good enough to program'. While it's easier said than done to just magically change your entire way of thinking, I did begin to allow myself to fully enjoy the tasks I had at hand, as, in the end, they inevitably will be resolved. The problem became significantly more enjoyable as I could now look forward to the inevitability of eventually solving it, instead of exacerbating my immediate frustrations with the idea that 'I can't do it, it's impossible, it will never be done'. I just had to remember; it will all work out in the end!

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