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Vanessa Z
Vanessa Z

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What not to say to someone's personal code project

While I have been working in the tech field for just about the past decade, I am not a coder. I can understand code - I would never have worked my way up to a "QA Engineer I" title if I absolutely could not make heads or tails of code that I saw - but I can not write original code. The extent of my coding ability is to read what someone else wrote and then adjust it to meet my needs.

I realized the other day that I am starting upon a new phase of my career. I have a few presentations coming up, in addition to some trainings that I have given, and I'm involved in leadership roles on three different committees at my workplace. In other words, I should really have a website.

As I thought about how to do this, I considered using a CMS like Wordpress or Drupal, but ultimately decided that this would be a great opportunity for me to learn a new skill. So, I decided to fully code my website and style it using CSS, which I have never done. A portfolio website is primarily static content, so I won't be doing anything too fancy, but it will be something I made all by myself, for the first time.

As I've discussed this project with friends, there is one interaction that stands out. One of my friends, when I told him about my plans, said, "You do know that there are platforms out there that do this for you, right?"

This is not what you say to someone who is talking about a personal project. Of course I know that! I supported a few of them in my last role. You wouldn't say "You know you can buy that at Target, right?" to someone who told you they wanted to learn how to make a coffee mug using a pottery wheel.

In the moment, I felt fierce and protective, but thinking back to a few years ago when I was less confident in myself, I can easily see myself apologizing and stopping the project, doing it instead the more (maybe?) efficient way with a full CMS. Please don't be the reason someone chooses not to pursue doing or learning something just for the intention of learning it. You never know if it will spark something more innovative.

Top comments (1)

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Khoa Che • Edited

Hi Vanessa! I think it's crucial that you clarify with your friends the project is just for learning, cause they just want to save your time!

Also, pre-existing ideas are less curious than new one. So people are less excited about them. I'd rather introduce my project to someone who doesn't know the idea. :)