Daily Flash Dev

Following my dev bootcamp I’ve been keeping up my momentum, working on new projects and reviewing skills, while also serving as a teaching assistant for another cohort. I know the road to that first dev job is rough but I still had the wind taken out of my sails a little following a practice interview and some blunt feedback.

Altogether I am appreciative of the hard criticism I received. The real gut check came because I thought it had gone pretty well, and I was feeling confident in my code skills. I was taken down a notch, but if that kick comes with lots of feedback and recommended resources, it’s a solid net gain.

More than anything, I had to recognize the practice I’m lacking. There are so many things to get caught up in post-bootcamp. Advice flying in from peers and mentors, opinions and incomplete Medium articles from the dread Internet. Ultimately prioritization becomes an acrobatic, fickle thing. My lesson this week was that if an activity doesn’t involve writing lots of code . . . . well it might not be the best use of time.

So even with a few years of self study under my belt, a decent body of finished work, and innumerable dabbling’s and experiments, the breadth of all that past effort isn’t as critical as consistently drilling those skills. Daily fingers on keys writing HTML tags, CSS styles, React components, JavaScript function . . . all those little scales and licks of the language that lead to proficiency. That’s the real juice.

Following my interview experience my new resolution was pretty clear: write a small app every day. Doesn’t need to be big or fancy or solve an interesting problem. It just needs to get my hands moving over the familiar elements of Front End Development. React is my go-to, but even within that I am keeping tabs on my HTML and CSS, using denser chunks of JavaScript and looking over lots of new libraries. But in terms of practice, simplicity and consistency is a reliable provider of proficiency. Of course, making resolutions is an easy habit, and it all comes back to daily discipline.

So apply this to yourself. Stop thinking, fire up creat-react-app (or whatever your instrument of choice is), and just start coding. It can be a weather app, a to do list, or something you’ve already built in another framework. It doesn’t matter at all. Neither does finishing the project completely! Trust me, if you find the momentum to take a project all the way, you’ll take it all the way. But if the app fizzles and the work starts feeling pointless, then chalk up your progress and your lessons from that experiment, and move on. You did the most important thing by getting your fingers on the keys. Do it today, do it tomorrow, and don’t worry about it until you look back someday and are surprised by your output.

Getting Started

I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground here by saying that the hardest part of any new effort is simply starting. It surely isn’t the only thing, but it can be a big fret, and that’s a small thing that holds people back from all kinds of opportunities.

Leaving ChicagoLeaving ChicagoA couple years ago I chose to up-end myself from my home in Chicago to come to Seattle for practically nothing more than a change of scenery, and a refreshed take on where my career was heading. It wasn’t exactly all according to a master plan, but it was a start.

As my move turned into somewhat of a sabbatical, I freed myself of some of the pressures and expectations that dog the job hunts and personal development goals. That step helped me dip my feet into some low-paying freelance design jobs, the kind I had avoided for many years. I didn’t make a lot, but the practice revealed to me the value of my skills, and set into motion more opportunities I benefit from to this day.

By and by I came to work at the University of Washington, running media technology at their Medical Research campus. I really like working for the University and giving support to some wicked smart research doctors and students who are doing critical research. But the role itself is dead-end, unchallenging, and poorly administrated. Definitely not the worst job I’ve ever had, but certainly leaving me wanting much more.

And that was the head space that lead me to jump at UW’s first full stack code bootcamp. I had the time and the groundwork knowledge of some front-end technologies, but also a better bedrock of confidence in myself to take some leaps and start new things and experience growth regardless of the outcome.

Me and my great teacher ArronMe and my great teacher ArronI completed the course in February, and pivoted immediately into a Teaching Assistant role with another cohort. Another start! Add on the necessary practices to find a developer job in Seattle’s saturated market, I’ve leapt into revamping my portfolio, my website, and (lucky you!) a blog. More starts!

The gist I’m getting at isn’t that I’ve arrived anywhere particular, or achieved any particular goal–I’ve plenty further to go–but that all the planning and dreaming in the world can’t beat the pure power of just getting started with something new. It might be a spectacular failure. It might fizzle or fade. It might make you rich. But in any of those events, it will lead to a next thing, whether that’s a job or a relationship or a new passion.

GET Started

I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground here by saying that the hardest part of any new effort is simply starting. It surely isn’t the only thing, but it can be a big fret, and that’s a small thing that holds people back from all kinds of opportunities.


Me and the Sagebrush Stage Coach

A couple years ago I chose to up-end myself from my home in Chicago to come to Seattle for practically nothing more than a change of scenery, and a refreshed take on where my career was heading. It wasn’t exactly all according to a master plan, but it was a start.

As my move turned into somewhat of a sabbatical, I freed myself of some of the pressures and expectations that dog the job hunts and personal development goals. That step helped me dip my feet into some low-paying freelance design jobs, the kind I had avoided for many years. I didn’t make a lot, but the practice revealed to me the value of my skills, and set into motion more opportunities I benefit from to this day.

By and by I came to work at the University of Washington, running media technology at their Medical Research campus. I really like working for the University and giving support to some wicked smart research doctors and students who are doing critical research. But the role itself is dead-end, unchallenging, and poorly administrated. Definitely not the worst job I’ve ever had, but certainly leaving me wanting much more.

And that was the head space that lead me to jump at UW’s first full stack code bootcamp. I had the time and the groundwork knowledge of some front-end technologies, but also a better bedrock of confidence in myself to take some leaps and start new things and experience growth regardless of the outcome.


Me and my instructor Arron after graduation

I completed the course in February, and pivoted immediately into a Teaching Assistant role with another cohort. Another start! Add on the necessary practices to find a developer job in Seattle’s saturated market, I’ve leapt into revamping my portfolio, my website, and (lucky you!) a blog. More starts!

The gist I’m getting at isn’t that I’ve arrived anywhere particular, or achieved any particular goal–I’ve plenty further to go–but that all the planning and dreaming in the world can’t beat the pure power of just getting started with something new. It might be a spectacular failure. It might fizzle or fade. It might make you rich. But in any of those events, it will lead to a next thing, whether that’s a job or a relationship or a new passion.