I've been working primarily as a front-end developer for 3 years now and while I'm currently job hunting, I'm using this time for self-improvement.
I'll admit I've never felt like a true developer.
I majored in design in college, learned coding during my interactive media minor. Most days, I do more design then code at my jobs.
Because of this, I've always been self-conscious about working as a developer.
Well since I have a lot of time on my hands right now, I know I can't sit around and just magically expect to get better at it. I'm also aware that the next company I work at will probably expect me to be decent at those things.
So in the past year, I've been working really hard to master what I feel I should know and become more confident when I tell people I'm a developer.
One of the things that has been particularly useful in feeling more confident is joining the developer Twitter space.
Everyone one there is so encouraging.
I’ve also been learning a lot that I feel I wouldn’t have otherwise. Every time I see someone mention a new technology or a new language I don’t recognize, I write it down to google later. That way I at least have an idea of what people are talking about.
I’ve also been inspired by the other people on there who live stream coding sessions. I think doing activities like that is a great way to show off what you know and help other people learn thing.
Tech as Art
I recently found out that people like to create digital paintings using CSS and I never thought to use it for that before. It’s another thing on my to-do list to try and master.
Ever since I learned Processing in college, I’ve always loved the idea of using programming to create art.
My really inspiring activity of the year has been volunteering with a local club called Lady Dev. They’re an inclusive group and the members are all super talented and really cool. I’m so lucky to be working with them this year.
Medium, Dev . to, and Hackernoon
I’ve always loved reading and blogging so I love that there are people in tech who also love this side of communications. Being one of those people who learn by reading, I find articles on programming and computer science to be particularly helpful.
CodePen and GitHub
I actually didn’t make an account on Github until several years after I started programming. I wasn’t proud of the first things I created and I couldn’t share any of the code I created at work.
So it wasn’t until recently that I really started to use CodePen and Github like I should. I know not all programmers regularly use them. But I like to find places to show off my work and explore new concepts.
I’m using these sites also as a way to show my progress and to try and fight my perfectionism. As someone with OCD, uploading half finished projects or projects I’m not super proud of bug me to no end.
But I’m slowly learning to let go of that by purposefully uploading my progress and focusing on the little wins.
My Task List
One of my dream positions would be to work as a UI Developer or a Web Developer, so that's what I'm aiming towards.
- Begin to study PHP and SQL
- Following other developers on Twitter and researching any terms or languages I come across that I'm not already familiar with
- Watching Youtube tutorials and code streams
- Khan Academy CS course, Interview Cake on CS, CS course on Youtube and a book on CS
- Practice programming by creating projects
- Quizzes on w3schools
- Practice common interview challenges
- Update my Github and Codepen more frequently
- Answer questions on Quora and browse Stack Overflow
- Brush up on technology mentioned in job postings I don't already know
- Read tech articles on Medium, Dev.to, and Hackernoon
- Join Women in Tech communities and volunteer as the Officer of Joy for a local group
My goal is to continue these tasks until I feel more confident and hopefully, I will be able to more faithfully say I'm a developer in my next interviews.
So far I think this task list has been working and although I haven't mastered anything yet, I am doing great so far. I am excited to see where I'll be in another 6 months.