We’re more than half way through 2018 and I’ve learned not to take things for granted. Very basic things like, walking and playing sports. Below, my left ankle
I was playing football (soccer) in early February and thought a tackle to save a goal would be smart thing to do – learnt the hard way, it wasn’t. At the moment of writing this blog post it’s been more than 6 months – doing daily activites feels like it never happened. I’ve started running, doing some light agility exercises and probably in 2 months I’ll be able to play football again (yeah, I have to get back on the field, otherwise I haven’t really beaten the injury have I?). For about 50 days I wasn’t able to walk and I was off work, I know – you code with your hands, the injury shouldn’t be a problem – well mentally it was really hard, after reading tons of horror stories about broken ankle, which the Internet is full of – I couldn’t concentrate. It was lightly reading some Kotlin related stuff, blogs, r/androiddev nothing too involved. Around 70 days with no coding.
The one other thing that I took for granted and was kinda taken away from me with this injury was coding form and coding enthusiasm.
The rule of thumb that I learned in physio sessions is that the time you’ll need to be walking normally again and do basic stuff with no problems equals the amount of time that you weren’t able to walk – I think this is somewhat applicable in the coding world. If you leave yourself away from IDEs for X amount of time you’ll need X amount of time to get back in the game. In my case 2 months of NO coding at all, really meant 2 months of hard work in the Android Studio and I still feel that I have some catching up to do. In this period, I’ve read this blog post that got me feeling uneasy about the situation. It’s a quality one, take the time to read it, plus there’s valuable comment section too.
Anyways, that’s not what this blog post is about. This is about how to feel good about coding and some practical steps towards it. Remember, coding (and IT in general) is a very rapidly moving field, just a little staling in keeping track of the industry pulse might have fierce consequences. So, here it is, if you ever find yourself in similar position for whatever reason, a short list of what nows:
1. Everything has a price.
Getting back on the horse will take something away from you and your current state. Panic, so you can organize. Make your amendments. You’ll have to give something away – most likely it’ll be social life and sleep. Nothing can substitute the hours you put in to learn new stuff, no one can do it for you. You’ll have to do your all-nighters on your own. Patience and dedication is key. In my case I chose to give away sleep, social life (weekend fun, not all of it) and TV shows.
2. Work on your own project.
Detail out an idea you want to work on make a plan, possibly open a trello board. Make rough, but realistic deadlines for it. Make a realistic schedule when you can work on the tasks, but be demanding. You need to make up for lost time for whatever the reason is – push yourself. If you’re not experienced or a lot of time has passed – find a project on github/android examples go through it and try to replicate it (with as little copy-pasting as possible and when you do that make sure you understand what are you copy-pasting). Take time to grasp the things you don’t understand, if you get stuck ask somebody that has more experience, just don’t auto-pilot and go the extra mile.
3. Get involved, geek out
At work, be more demanding of yourself– take tasks that you haven’t worked on before, implement features that you’re not that familiar with. Write unit tests. Put yourself in calculated risks and take more responsibility.
Get back into the community talks if you were away from that too. Most big tech hubs have weekly meetings for user groups, find one and join – people there are enthusiasts, sharing ideas, talking about problems helps. If that’s not an option, check out the Internets.
These are harder that might look on the first glance and it cannot be stressed enough, you must get your head right – discipline and dedication. It sounds like cheap motivational talk, but you have to give a 110% and ride the hamster wheel until you feel comfortable again. Then you can tone it down a notch.