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Vincent Sylvestre
Vincent Sylvestre

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Everything to Learn

This year, I decided that I would write more. I knew I wanted to write about software development, because that’s something I’m passionate about. But it felt weird to just dive right in. This is my very first blog post, ever, and I feel like I owe the Internets some kind of proper introduction.

So, here goes:

Hello! My name is Vincent. I’m a web developer working mostly with React.

I played around with HTML, CSS and PHP for the first time when I was 10 or 11 years old. I didn’t understand much of what I was doing back then (especially in PHP), but I absolutely loved it. The feeling of designing and building something from scratch, using only resources that I could find online, was extremely satisfying. It was one of the very few times I had truly felt in my element.

It took me a long time to realize that I should have held on to that feeling.

I couldn’t spend as much time coding once I started having a ridiculous amount of homework in high school, and eventually stopped altogether. I also struggled very much with my image and confidence back then, and probably saw programming as too much of a "nerdy" hobby, even though I was, truly, the biggest nerd out there.

By the time I had finished high school, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, but engineering seemed like a good option. I liked maths and physics a lot, and I was pretty good at it. I tried out mechanical engineering, and hated it. I switched to electrical engineering, and graduated four years later with a specialization in photonics.

I can say, quite confidently, that I have forgotten most of what I have learned during those four years. (I’m not saying that it was useless, or that I regret it—on the contrary, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the opportunities I was given during my studies. I’m just amazed at how much of that accumulated knowledge my brain has deemed it could flush out.)

Right before graduating, I did an internship in web development. It re-introduced me to those things I used to love so much. But also, I was forced to notice that things had changed, a lot. Even though I didn’t know much when I was younger, and worked mostly by copy-pasting snippets of code I would find online (well, I still do that), this new world I had just entered felt completely different. Just like me, it had matured and evolved. Angular 1 was nothing like the code I was used to.

But it didn’t matter. The feeling, the one I had when I was 11 late at night hoping my parents wouldn’t notice I wasn’t in bed yet—it was back.

As a kid, I didn’t exactly know it yet, but I had everything to learn.

The more time passes, the more I realize that this very much applies today as well. Even though I feel a lot more confident in my abilities as a developer, I find myself learning something new almost everyday. I look back on code I wrote just a few months ago and think, "I would do that differently today".

I think that’s one of the most gratifying things you can experience as a developer: feeling that you’re forever in the process of growing, of learning. You get that feeling again and again when discovering new technology, or sharing knowledge with your coworkers, or having people teach you something new.

I’ve made so many mistakes in the past—I expect to make many more. And I hope I can help people around me when they stumble in the same places I have in the past.

That feeling, the childish one—I think we should hold on to that.

I’m excited to be writing more in the future! If you liked this and you’re interested in all things React, CSS, animations, GraphQL, and more—please consider following!

See you around. ✌️

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