A Note To Beginners: Your Discomfort Means You’re On The Right Path

You’re wondering if you’re smart enough — talented enough — to make this career change into web development. You try hard for a week and then your motivation finally takes a nosedive when you can’t get your code to work.

You can’t wait until you’re confident in your skills and feel equipped to tackle any problem.

Let me tell you something.

It will never feel like that.

Part of the job is learning to be OK with feeling ill-equipped, underprepared, and like you’re just barely scraping by. It’s called impostor syndrome, and we all have it.

In this field, there’s so much to remember and things are amorphous and ever-changing, and The Right Way™ is up to interpretation.

You’ll grow the most when you’re wedged in that uncomfortable spot where ‘what you know’ juts right up against ‘what you don’t know.’

So don’t stick with what’s comfortable.

Don’t avoid a certain popular technology because, in your opinion, it’s a nightmare to work with.

That probably means you haven’t worked with it enough. You haven’t gotten to know it well enough to appreciate its quirks, nuances, and special powers.

(Hey you!Yeah you! I know you want to just give up on understanding CSS! And that vanilla Javascript scares the bejeezus out of you. Keep on trying.)

Never stop learning, and you’ll never stop exceeding your own self-imposed limitations.

8 Awesome Articles from Around the Web || Link Roundup Week 3

Web Development

CSS Utility Classes and “Separation of Concerns”

Software developer Adam Wathan walks us through several ways of approaching CSS, pushing for a more functional, “Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY) approach. This article will blow your mind and get you inspired to start cleaning up your CSS.

Top 10 Student Favorite Tech Podcasts

My personal favorite is the CodeNewbie podcast. What’s yours?

Why striving for perfection might be holding you back as a newbie web developer

“There are bigger and better things for you to be learning and working on than tweaking the padding on your (Free Code Camp) tribute page.” Um…can relate. This is a good reminder for anyone who’s experiencing portfolio-project-tunnel-vision.

Continue reading “8 Awesome Articles from Around the Web || Link Roundup Week 3”

My First Web Dev Job: 3 Months In

Hey all! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated. The last few months have been a whirlwind of trying to balance a challenging day job with a long commute, cramming tutorials during the evening, and working on achieving the ever-elusive work-life balance everyone’s always talking about.

So here’s an update on some things I’ve learned along the way.

Working for a small company is a great way to learn ALL THE THINGS.

I started my front end web developer job October 15, thinking I would be doing primarily design and working with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Um, reality check! As the main web developer in a small company, I’ve had to:

  • Dive headfirst into reading and writing PHP and mySQL to try and achieve better site functionality on the Brilliant Directories platform — *cough cough* a platform with very, very little documentation and a business model that tries to leave you so in the dark about their code that you’ll hire one of their own developers to get the job done
  • Grapple with UI mockups in Balsamiq and Photoshop, and iterate many, many times through proposed site designs
  • Have a chance to rebuild one of the FreeCodeCamp projects (bigger and better, and with multiple APIs) for my company’s upcoming site launch
  • Really put my problem-solving skills to use in coming up with general solutions and troubleshooting
  • And overall, be the expert — or even the person who knows just enough to know where to look

For a web developer, working for a small company can be an awesome way to start on your career path.

Continue reading “My First Web Dev Job: 3 Months In”

FreeCodeCamp Progress: Wikipedia Viewer and Twitch Viewer

Wrapping Up the Wikipedia Viewer Project

It took me a while to return to my Wikipedia Viewer project after writing the blog post about troubleshooting the Wikipedia API. But I finally hunkered down and finished it up.

I posted my project to several online forums and received feedback on how to improve my code. A few things that were brought to my attention:

  • Accessibility: I’d created some accessibility issues when I removed the focus styling from my input, button, and link elements.
  • Semantics: I was nesting paragraph tags within <a> tags unnecessarily, when a simple <a> tag would have sufficed.

Here’s a look at how I improved my tabbed navigation experience:

GIF showing focus styling on search input and search button, as well as mouseover effect on button

Continue reading “FreeCodeCamp Progress: Wikipedia Viewer and Twitch Viewer”

9 Awesome Articles from Around the Web || Week 2

The last month been amazing. I started a new part-time marketing and (donor) development position with a tech-related, local nonprofit.

Apart from leaving me more time to spend with my family and pursuing hobbies, I’m finally able to apply the many skills I’ve learned over the last year of selling on Amazon, doing marketing for friends and family, and just plain geeking out on content creation.

I’m excited to go to into the office once my short work week rolls around. There’s also a lot of creative freedom and autonomy — things I’m starting to view as non-negotiables in my winding path toward reinventing my relationship with work.

Now on to the links. Here are some articles that have really resonated with me recently. Enjoy!


Machines Taught By Photos Learn a Sexist View of Women

“The researchers devised a way to neutralize this amplification phenomenon—effectively forcing learning software to reflect its training data. But it requires a researcher to be looking for bias in the first place, and to specify what he or she wants to correct. And the corrected software still reflects the gender biases baked into the original data.”

Before Hurricane Harvey, wireless carriers lobbied against upgrades to a national emergency alert system

“For years, the Federal Communications Commission has endeavored to upgrade the sort of short text-based messages — often accompanied by a loud alarm — that authorities have used since 2012 to warn Americans about rising floods, abducted children and violent criminals at large. But efforts to bring those alerts into the digital age — requiring, for example, that they include multimedia and foreign-language support — have been met with skepticism or opposition from the likes of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, and even some device makers, too.”

How Machines Learn: A Practical Guide

Over 50 resources and tips on understanding machine learning.

Continue reading “9 Awesome Articles from Around the Web || Week 2”

9 Awesome Articles from Around the Web: Week 1

9 Awesome Articles from Around the Web (Blog Title Header)


Why were Facebook, Google, and Amazon so quiet about net neutrality?

“It’s not too difficult a leap to make from wondering why your online access shouldn’t be free from walls erected by your cable company, to wondering equally why your online access shouldn’t also be free from limitations created by a social media platform, search engine, or e-commerce behemoth.”

My winding road from security guard to back-end developer

“One day, you’ll see someone solve a problem in minutes  —  a problem that took you an entire day to solve  —  and you will once again feel like an imposter. Then, another day, you will help a teammate solve a problem, and you will feel fine again. Finally, you will realize  —  or your boss will tell you  —  that you weren’t hired for the skills you already had. You were hired for the skills you had the potential to have.

Number of Girls Taking AP Computer-Science Exam More Than Doubles

“Girls made up about 27 percent of the 111,262 students who took an AP computer-science exam in 2017. The number of minorities underrepresented in the tech industry — black, Latino, and Native American — who took the exam nearly tripled from last year, reaching 22,199 students this year.”

Continue reading “9 Awesome Articles from Around the Web: Week 1”