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Max Zander
Max Zander

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Advice to my former self, beginners (and an announcement!)

So since I published my last blog post, something very exciting happened...



So in honor of my amazing fiancée and how supportive she has been of me throughout my entire journey into coding, I want to give some advice to my former self (circa the beginning of my journey) and anyone else who may find it useful! 

Here is some advice in honor of Ashley:

A — Algorithms and data structures are going to be super important and good to know. Re: Algorithms — try to solve them on your own. It’ll be tough at first, but you’ll get there. Enjoy that satisfaction, but realize that your earliest solution is probably not the most efficient. (If you don’t know what that means yet, learn about Big O Notation!) But study solutions and take the time to understand them. Taking that time will make it an actual skill that can be applied to things and not just to a very specific case. And review your data structures so that you know a) when certain data structures are most useful and b) which methods work with which structures. Feeling confident in this will lead to WAY more confidence when you’re applying/interviewing for jobs!

S — Sometimes the solution is right in front of your face. If nothing seems to be working and you’re getting super stressed out, take a second. Breathe. Don’t be afraid to put it away for a little bit. Honestly, fresh eyes do WONDERS. (And Spoiler Alert: it’s probably a missing semicolon, but it might be the wrong number of equals signs 😉👌)

H — Help is available. Whether you’re pair-programming or you need to use Google or you just need to find somebody to message directly, it’s totally normal to need help. Nobody knows everything and there’s no shame there. Ask questions, take in answers, learn, and grow!

L — Learning is a process. Look, I know you know this, but it’s good to remember. Keep reviewing the things that you’ve learned already so that those skills don’t get stale. Also, look at the kind of jobs that you would love to have. What skills are they looking for? Start learning those! Need help learning a topic? Check out Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and YouTube! There are some great resources out there that can launch you into developing new skills!

E — Every. Day. In addition to everything listed above, you should be coding every single day! And if you’re not writing new code, review some old code! That’s super helpful too! Regardless of long you’ve been coding, is there anything that you would write differently now? (ex. I used to write React code with a lot of class components. Now, I would write React with mostly functional components and hooks. Growth!)

Y — You’ve got this. There will be easy days and there will be stressful, difficult days. This is totally normal. You’re learning new languages and that’s undeniably tough. Take some time every now and again to reflect on where you were a few months ago or a year ago. You’ve come a long way and, even if there’s still a long way to go, you’re a champ and you should be proud of yourself. Remember that, even if skill development or the job search or anything else is taking time, you’re on the path you’re meant to be on and it’s all going to work out the way it is supposed to. So yeah, you’ve got this!

Anyway, if you read all the way through this, I hope it was helpful. And, in the spirit of this last week, remember to remember all of the joy of what you’re doing (and life in general, but that’s a whole other thing!).

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