Taking a Moment to Say Thank You to the Dev Community

It’s Friday evening, and I’ve just come back from a very successful meeting. It’s a beautiful fall day. Toronto is no longer a tropical paradise. I can happily say I can maybe start wearing my oversized knit baggy sweaters, Blundstones, and a light jacket. Halloween is just around the corner. Also, I’ve just had my first #PSL, so it’s officially a good start to the best season of the year.

The person (who will remain anonymous, but hopefully will know who he is) I met with earlier today is one of the most generous, kind and friendly people I’ve met, probably ever. I felt so much positive energy from him, and received a lot of great advice. Very refreshing.

Driving in my car on my way home, I felt a sense of confidence of wash over me. I felt more excited to work on personal side projects, learn more development languages/frameworks and generally keep motivated.

When I get home, I open up my LinkedIn mail, and see a lovely message from a rad developer (who will remain anonymous, but hopefully will know who she is 😊) I met yesterday at the Startup Open House in Toronto (awesome event by the way!). We had a really nice chat, and it was so amazing to hear her talk about her own experiences, and the admiration she has for the team she works with. Receiving such positivity today made me want to write this blog post.

My past experiences as a working professional have been quite, let’s say, mixed. I’ve met some great people, and some, not so great. That’s life, though, and not everyone you meet is going to be super sparkly, friendly, positive and welcoming. However, the tech/dev community is a special case. This is in all honesty — I’ve never in my life met the most wonderful and compassionate people. When you meet these kinds of people, you become more compassionate, open, and confident. I have always been a somewhat shy, introverted, and relatively quiet person (except around my close friends and family), but in the past few months, I felt more comfortable to be myself, and accepting that it’s OK to be myself. I’ve noticed I’m constantly cutting people mid-sentence because I get super excited to talk to people I love being around. In elementary school, I hardly talked to anyone, and now I’m definitely making up for it.

Being able to be yourself, pursue a career you love, and then being able to show your personality through your work is something I strive for everyday. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people empowers you to become a better person and to be yourself! I’ve met so many people in the last few months (side note: it feels like I’ve met more people in the last few months than combined during my entire life) that have been so awesome, whether it was at HackerYou (❤️), instructing a class, cohort classmates 👻, bootcamp buddies 👭, meeting new friends at a community event/workshop, helping me out on a project, offering emotional support, or simply engaging in a great conversation deserves a huge thank you from me.

I met with a fellow dev earlier this week for coffee, and he was so great to talk with, as well. It was kind of a blind dev meeting. I was going in assuming we’d chat about a potential job opportunity, though it turned into something more than that. We got along so well, and ended up talking shop for about an hour. He offered a lot of support and advice. One piece of advice he mentioned that stood out to me was that it’s important to stick with what you know works for you. Put effort in to following your own unique path, and try not to follow a path that everyone is going down, later realizing it’s not meant for you.

WordPress is a platform I like working with. A lot of dev opportunities out there are very heavy into JavaScript, and its frameworks, which is great to see how popular, hot and in-demand it is. It makes me genuinely want to learn about them. I’m very passionate about sharpening my JS skills. JS has not come super easy to me. I believe I’ve worked really hard to fully grasp it. While I’m not quite fully where I want to be yet, it’s exciting to know there are tons of resources (and fellow devs) out there for me to improve and help me build up my skill-set. Currently, I’m using Treehouse, Lynda.com and YouTube tutorials to teach myself. WordPress often gets a not-so-great reputation, but I think it’s awesome! I understand how it works, and yes, I definitely have so much more to learn about it, but it has so much potential, functionality and dynamism built into it. I will strive after opportunities that include languages, frameworks, platforms, tools, libraries, etc. I’m currently comfortable enjoy working with (like WordPress) and including in my work, while at the same, offer new challenges and learning experiences. I’m always enthuastic about learning! While I may not be ready yet for an opportunity that is purely JS, for example, one day, perhaps I will be.

The tech community moves so fast, it’s hard to keep up with everything. There is just so much to learn about, and a major reason why I chose this career path: the potential for constantly learning. It’s important to accept that I will not be 100% amazing at everything immediately. I need to be more patient, gentle and kind to myself. Hearing advice from the people I’ve mentioned in this blog post, as well as others out there, is to indeed remain patient, and at the same, be eager to expand my own skills. Skills will develop over time, either while teaching yourself or learning from others, and the skills I have now are pretty great anyway. 👍🏼💅🏼

Working on side projects is something a lot of people have mentioned is a good habit to keep up. It not only sharpens your skills, but allows you to learn more cool stuff, and definitely is a good opportunity to add more projects to a portfolio. I like to be challenged. I’m currently working on one right now using p5.js. I’m super excited to see the result. 🖌🎨

Tomorrow, I’m mentoring for Ladies Learning Code at Shopify, and I’m looking forward to empower others to continue to learn to code, discover new skills/passions, and be excited for a possible career change! That’s what I did, and I’m so grateful I made that change.

I’m working on what I want my path to be, and it’s a lifelong exploration. Layer by layer, brick by brick, I will start to build that out for myself, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I will end up in the future.