Lessons from 7 self-taught coders who now work full time as software developers

How can you stay motivated while learning to code?  Studying web development is a path with many ups and downs. You might have one day where you figure out a tough problem and feel absolutely amazing. But then the very next day, you get stuck on a seemingly easy problem for hours. You end up feeling completely defeated. It’s often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But when you’re in those tough, dark spots, try to find the motivation to hang in there.

Remind yourself of your ultimate goal in learning to code. Maybe it’s to get a better job, to provide for your family, or to find a more purposeful form of work.

These stories are not just for those trying to program for the first time.  These lessons also apply to the old-guard coders who need to update the skill set they have.  There is a different set of challenges when you are a .NET C# coder and you’re attempting to learn the JavaScript, Express, Node, Vue, Mongo, etc stack.  Simple things like async coding vs sync coding can drive you mad.  As you get better at the new skill you want to just drop your current gig and move on.  Do it gradually, this is a not a turn-the-switch moment.

Do a simple project for someone who needs it and is willing to work with you while you learn the issues your new skill. You may have to do the first one as a freebie to get some street cred as a developer.

Via: Lessons from 7 self-taught coders who now work full time as software developers





The vicious circle of mediocre work And how to break out of it

Why do some people, some teams, some companies create outstanding work, while others seem stuck in mediocrity? Why do some of us excel in creativity, have better ideas, and find ways to make ideas happen while others don’t?

One of the thoughts I’ve recently had was How Does Focus Affect Creativity?  If you only get to work on something that might be disruptive and helpful for 30 minutes at a time you are most likely to just give up.  I’m the one who will be working away when all of a sudden…. squirrel.  I frequently go down the rabbit hole with the justification that its a better place.

I use a method I call “Dailies” which is using a simple text editor with a list of things.    Simple categories  Work, Personal and New Ideas.  The “Squirrel Calls” goes down under New Ideas.  Because it’s a simple text editor I can go crazy defining the thing.  Next day I start over with a blank daily and enter things I need to do for just that day.

I also put the distractions on the Dailies with a minus hours (-.25) to show myself how much time I lost to distractions.  I use a markdown syntax called ASCIIDoc to make the simple text file look great in a browser.

When I actually have some time I go back to Dailies and read through the new ideas after they have sat for a few days or a week.  I’m amazed at how many of the ideas lose the “Shiny” New Thing status.

Follow your passion doesn’t work in the real world, take a few minutes and watch Mike Rowes YoutTube video about this topic.  When I’m doing the things I love to do I appreciate them more because I don’t expect life to be full of them.  Too much passion will kill you.

Via: The vicious circle of mediocre work And how to break out of it


Side projects keep developers and builders sharp and alive.

Depositphotos_62207591_l-2015-1-768x768.jpg I don’t know a single software developer who hasn’t thought of starting a side project. I, myself, have had many different side projects throughout my career. Well, I should be more clear by saying that I started many side projects throughout my career. To be honest, most of them didn’t get finished. To be honest, most them didn’t…

“Always have a side project” is something I have told every developer who I have managed or mentored.  “Make it kinda related to what we do” that way we get double the mileage out of it.  I have a lot of dreams, those projects you get caught up in preparing for and never finish or worse yet never get started.  I started a YouTube channel GeekMustHave as a side project with the goal of sharing experiences I’ve had with technology.  This is a side project that is never done but still has mini dreams I turn into video goals.

Pick a side project that is just a little bit more than you know how to do.  This way the amount of learning is possible in a short period of time.  One goal that has been achieved helps to give you the commitment for the other side projects you’re considering.

This article reminded me how much of a “Starter” I am and less of a “Finisher”.  It’s a great read for all developers.

via A Software Developer’s Guide to Side Projects — DZone Agile Zone