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Mid Life Coding Newbie - Staying Motivated/Imposter Syndrome

Will
In my 40s, committed to learning to code. Ideally, want to live/work overseas. My goal is to succeed at and promote middle aged, beginner, self educated coding.
・3 min read

So like me, you might be in "mid-life", which means you have a job, family, friends, hobbies, etc. and you want to ALSO find something that may help your future. But you only have time a few hours a day/week to be able to get that done. On top of that, you don't necessarily know what you want to do or to know how to go about it or if you are doing it "right". You spend months/years working towards a project, but too afraid to "pull the trigger" to move on to the next level to make something of it all.

I've been going through that for some time now and I've been going back and forth on it and stopping and starting. After about a month or so, I finally went back and completed that last project on FCC and got my first certificate on the site. I realized that it didn't matter if it was pretty or perfect, it only mattered that I finished it and learned the lessons that it was trying to teach me. I didn't need for it to be perfect. If I was trying to do that, I would be creating a purpose driven portfolio and would spend hours/days/weeks on each project to make it "perfect". In this case, the purpose was to finish the challenge, complete the lesson, LEARN the lesson, and move on. So I went back, got rid of all the complications I created for myself, kept it simple, passed the final challenge and moved on.

So now what, what is next? Do I continue to push on with FCC and learn JavaScript or do I try something else and make sure I know what I think I should know. Did I learn everything I should have learned? Did I miss anything along the way or not learn "enough"? The problem with doing all this on your own is that you don't have someone else to guide you and to tell you you are on track. You don't have someone to say, "ok, this is a good start, let's move on to the next topic". You need to determine that on your own. This is where the "imposter syndrome" starts to kick in.

After I did that, I did a few things. One was to enjoy the little bit of happiness with finishing a certificate, even if it meant little to anyone else. Second was to start JS on FCC. Concurrently, I also found 3 different programs via Udemy that were on sale and started learning from someone else, other than FCC. I wanted to make sure that I was learning all I could and getting the full experience of HTML and CSS and by getting lessons from another, recommended source, I was telling myself that I was on track for learning all I could.

Part of one of the Udemy courses is also accompanied by a book that teaches the student how to also make money doing this. I am still very fearful of trying new things and putting myself out there in ways I've not done so before, but I feel that it is important to do so. That is how this all works and that is how you start to build confidence.

When I first started many of the jobs I've done over the last 20+ years, I always felt that imposter syndrome at each and every one of them. I didn't feel that I was "supposed" to be hired at the job I was hired for. I felt that I was going to be "found out as a fraud" or fail miserably and everyone was going to realize I couldn't do the job. But the reality is, I didn't get the job by accident and my skills and education and experiences got me to the place I am now for a reason. The same thing applies to the courses I'm taking now with trying to learn coding.

On top of this, doing a bit of research, I've found that this field of work is still very much in demand and in Europe (my ultimate personal goal), there is a lot of demand and few skilled workers to do the job vs. the need (as in the US and other places). This is motivation that I need to keep me going.

Having a goal in mind and always having that in front of you is KEY to success. I even wrote down on a sticky note that goal and taped it to the wall in front of my computer to constantly remind me of those reasons. Without motivation, we have no real purpose or drive in life. That is the key to all of this, pushing through the hard times to get to where we want to be!

Till next time...

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