What Makes a Chingu?

I’ve Taken the Plunge! Now What?

Photo by Blake Wheeler, via Unsplash.com

This weekend the Chingu’s welcomed three new cohorts into our band of Javascript junkies.

  • Cheetahs — New learners focusing on CSS, HTML, & Design
  • Raccoons — Intermediate learners focusing on algorithms and projects
  • Rhinos — Advanced learners focusing on advanced algorithms and backend projects

If you’ve been a Chingu then you already know what we’re about and what your responsibilities are. But, if you have recently joined then you probably have many questions. Probably more after that mention of responsibilities!

Let’s try to answer some of the questions you may be having by exploring what it means to be a Chingu.

What the Hell is Chingu?

‘Chingu’ is a Korean word meaning ‘friend’. Being a ‘friend’ is the cornerstone of the Chingu organization. A friend is someone you can count on for help when you need it. A friend also provides encouragement and stands by you when your resolve weakens.

However, a true friend is also completely honest and doesn’t back down from the responsibility of tell you when you are wrong. This can be difficult and unwelcome, but it’s also an indicator of someone who truly cares about you.

What Can Being a Chingu Do for Me?

Participating in a Chingu Cohort is like a steroid for your Javascript learning. Being part of a small group of committed individuals with a common goal increases your exposure to new ideas, techniques, and technologies. It provides you with a “safe” environment to ask questions, share your ideas, showoff what you’ve created, and to celebrate success.

The combination of a small group of peers and the environment helps to provide a support network that’s both easily accessible and possesses deep knowledge across a variety of subjects.

What Constitutes a “Safe” Environment?

A “safe” environment is one that’s free from fear. Fear of asking a question that others may think is “stupid”. Fear from asking a question you think may reveal a weakness. Fear from being bullied or ridiculed. And most of all, fear that no one will pay attention.

This is the first responsibility of all Chingu’s — create a safe environment by treating your peers the same way you would like to be treated. With respect and with an attitude of helpfulness. Chingu’s leave their ego’s at the door and strive to be mentors. They also aren’t fearful of stepping in and correcting situations when these principles aren’t being followed.

So Chingu’s Don’t Have Ego’s or Opinions?

Chingu’s most definitely have healthy ego’s. Having an ego is the basis for appreciating the value an individual brings to themselves and those they deal with. Having an ego isn’t a bad thing as long as it doesn’t over accentuate your strengths and under accentuate your weaknesses.

Chingu’s understand that there is always someone who knows more, is faster, smarter, etc. But they also understand there is a balance between one’s strengths and weaknesses. Strengths and weaknesses are motivators which, on one hand drive you to help others and on the other drive you to improve.

Chingu’s also have opinions — often strong ones. But we don’t let our opinions get in the way of being open to new ideas. Listening and thoughtful consideration of new ways of approaching a problem are important attributes we all share. We are smart enough to know that change is going to happen and yesterday’s “best” solution is today’s “iffy” solution. Change is to be embraced and not resisted. Otherwise, we’d still be using Autocoder.

I’m an Impostor! There’s no Way I’m as Capable as __________!

The Impostor Syndrome is a persistent feeling of inadequacy that continues in spite of evidence to the contrary. This is a very common feeling that we all share (yes! I said ‘we’). But in fact, the reality is quite different as shown by the following diagram.

From Developers: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome by Abhishek Pillai on Medium.com

No one starts out with an innate knowledge of a subject — it’s acquired through work and study! You may not be the expert at Javascript or CSS or HTML or Angular or React or Vue or some other technology or library, but you will be. And as soon as you think you’ve grasped it I can guarantee it will change.

Knowledge and learning are cyclical, never ending endeavors. No one ever has a complete mastery over a subject. So, we in this respect we are all impostors. Rest assured that you are not alone in this feeling and you are not an impostor.

Okay, I’m not an Impostor, But I Want to be @P1XT!

No you don’t! And @P1XT doesn’t want to be you. We are all unique and being a clone of someone else would make for a very boring existence. Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Our differences provide us with true depth in terms of both life experience and technical experience — hard skills and soft skills. This is what makes the Chingu experience so powerful and is the catalyst that ignites our progress.

Chingu’s celebrate and take advantage of our differences.

This Sounds Like Web Dev Nirvana!

It isn’t. We have our share of issues including conflict and the occasional drama. What makes the Chingu’s different is the way we handle it. You won’t see “flame wars” in our discussion like you do in other groups. This is mainly due to the maturity of our peers, the fact that we foster openness, and that Chingu’s have the courage to step in to stop it from escalating.

We are all about working together in a mature, respectful, and professional manner. It’s understood that we won’t all agree on all subjects or issues. But, that doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable in how we express ourselves.

It’s also important that the Chingu program continues to adapt to meet the changing requirements of its members, as well as changes in technology. It’s through your ideas and suggestions that we continuously improve. This is another responsibility you have as a Chingu — help us to improve the program.

What Do I Do Next?

Over the next week watch for news posted to your Cohort’s #chingu-news channel in Slack. Information will be posted on Pair Programming, Accountability Buddies, Projects, etc. But it’s important that you not wait for permission! Be creative and follow up on ideas and activities that will make your Cohort unique. No one will yell at you for setting “stretch” goals and activities.

Photo by Benni Talent via Unsplash.com


Welcome Cheetahs, Raccoons, and Rhinos to the Chingu’s. We are excited that you’ve decided to join our team and keep in mind that your fellow Chingu’s are here to support you. Take advantage of this opportunity and make the most of it!

I hope your find this information useful and I look forward to any questions and comments you might have. If you like this article, please hit the 💚 button below, Tweet, and share the post with your friends. Remember to follow me on Medium to get notified when new posts are published.

Have a good day, afternoon, or evening and do great things!

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