Hacking My (Dot) Life

“La Developer Vita”.. or “It wasn’t ‘happily ever after’, after all.”

Don’t mind my caption, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated and my writing is rustier than ever.  I’ve been at my internship now about 3 months, the halfway point.  It’s been an interesting and growing experience, not only as a developer but as a person.  The learning experience has been steep. There have been moments I’ve literally cried and wondered if I was ever going to understand certain concepts, if I was smart enough to understand how to create this project.

I’ve felt like a cheater, and a liar, that I oversold myself at my interview because I told my company I would learn and have something to show them by now and I haven’t delivered what I wanted to.  I was putting a lot of pressure and stress on myself because I really wanted to build something and not really struggle with things because I forgot the main aspect of the position:  I am an intern, my job is to learn and build.  I felt horrible that I wasn’t learning as fast as I wanted, and I felt the pressure was on when one of the developers was placed to oversee the project.

At the time I felt like I was letting them down, but deep down inside, I appreciated that they did place someone senior on the project.  I felt like I knew what I wanted to do, was figuring out how to go about building it, as I found different ways to work on it.  Though this was great, I also felt the pressure that I had to deliver something soon; I wanted to have something to show for my time and their investment.  This self-added stress was hindering my progress, as it consumed my thoughts and made me feel this intense guilt.  It was a vicious cycle for a few weeks. This mental stress, was starting to seep into my physical health and personal relationships.

I am grateful to have someone on board to really take the reigns and show me the path.  My higher-ups were kind enough to inform me that they knew that my role in this was that of a learning experience and understood I needed more guidance.  That admission took the weight of the world from my shoulders, and I feel like I don’t need to feel like I’m failing and that they are aware that they knew that I was learning as I went along.  It’s liberated me so much, that I feel like I’ve taken a few steps forward on this very steep learning curve.

I am so grateful to have this opportunity.  I’m so excited to keep climbing and showing them that their investment in me was a worthy one.


I am a web developer

I’m happy to say that last week I got an internship as a Junior Web Developer at an IT solutions company.  I was looking for a job as a junior developer but even for those, you had to have years of experience and a hefty portfolio (which I was still working on).  I came across a few positions for internships and I noticed that not all of them required the person to be a student.  I mentioned this to my SO, and he happened to mention it to a friend, who happens to be a developer.  Turns out his boss had mentioned wanting to take on an intern to help with a small dev project.  Within 3 days of my SO having casually mentioned this to his friend, I was sitting in the office meeting with him and his boss, and the following Monday, I started working, just like that.

I have to say, that a lot of what I have previously read about your first job in tech in correct: a lot of times, it’s just about people knowing you are hungry to learn.  I am incredibly grateful that someone took the time to sit with me, they know the cards of the level of my expertise and decided to give me an opportunity to continue growing while working on their vision.  I wish I had taken the advice of so many people before me: go to a lot of meet-ups, eventually you’ll start seeing that some people attend regularly, and eventually you’ll meet someone and you never know.

I’ve learned more in the past 2 weeks working on a real project than I have on my own these past few years on this self-taught journey.  I love that this field is very accepting to folks that are self taught and may not possess a computer science degree, or even a degree at all.  However, being self-taught is hard.  If you don’t have an actual path to follow, it can be tricky.  It’s been difficult for me because I go by public forums and I’d look up at open job positions and I’d read what hiring companies looked for in the developers they were hiring.  I felt I needed to know Javascript, Angular, React, Node, MVC, WPF, all these things that I felt i just needed to know just to even be considered.  I would jump back and forth between learning different things, and I was never really learning anything in depth.  I also burned out a few times, or took time off of learning to kind of go and take care of real life things.

Working full time in a non-dev job while being a full-time parent and taking time to learn didn’t leave much time for personal things/relationships sometimes.  I’d burn out, stop for a few days/weeks and then get back to it, start reviewing things I forgot, and the cycle began again.  Being immersed in the environment has helped so much.  I’m going long stretches of just speaking, reading about development, picking the brain of another developer and seeing how things actually work in the “real world”.

I know there’s a level of “luck” to my having landed this role, but it’s all about sharing your journey with others.  You never know when an opportunity will land on your lap.  So, go and look up where the meet-ups in your area are happening.  I’ll just leave the Meet-up link for you right over here.  Don’t waste time, just go.