As a new developer, I feel inadequate. I see people publish their side projects all the time. I see my friends in good jobs. I see people submit pull requests to code I don’t understand, for things I don’t understand. I can stare at the code I’ve written and it all reads as gobbledegook. How many hours a day should I be programming? Do 10x programmers exist? If so, am I one? If not, why not?
As a new developer, I feel a constant pressure to prove that I am learning. I write blogs on what I am doing, I tweet that I am writing code. I post code-related jokes. All as a way of saying “hey everyone I can code too, I’m like you!”. If I can prove that I am learning then maybe I will be able to join the cool kid programmer club. It’s also a way to prove to the internship givers that I am worth hiring, because I am prepared to learn.
Maybe over time I will come to understand this, but right now I don’t get the pressure to be a devout follower of any one thing. I am able to encourage people to use Python as a first language but I am also not going to kick up a fuss if they decide to use Ruby or Go or Rust or whatever damn fine language they’ve set their sights on.
As a new developer, I am easily swayed by the opinions of people I respect, or at least view as more experienced. This post was kicked off by a few back and forth tweets on open source contributions. One person stated that I don’t need to worry about making open source contributions and I went “Yay, cool, less pressure”, another seemed to state that I am of little worth if I don’t contribute “Fuck, okay, I guess I better get on that then”. I wish programmers were more aware of the things they are saying and the attitudes they express, and how that might effect a young padawan like me.
As a new developer, there is a lot of pressure to do well, lest my programmer costume be rescinded. I need to make money to live, but don’t feel I am worth hiring. I want to make contributions to open source to give back to the community, but everything seems way over my head. I get stuck and reach out to the community for help and can either receive encouragement and support, or be judged and told I am doing it wrong (“lol y are u doing that just use jquery”).
As a new developer, everything is new and exciting. I can have my own website up and running in minutes with just a little sprinkling of HTML and a free host. I can write code to help others, I can write code to help myself. I can be ecstatic an entire day because I wrote four lines and it didn’t break on execution. I can engage with my peers in ways that I could not do so before, I can understand them better and work with them. I can (and love) sharing my journey with others, I want people to be able to learn from my mistakes and also be encouraged by my progress.
I can code my own path in this world, but I need your help and your patience and your understanding to make that path easier. In return you have my patience and my encouragement and my understanding.