I Want To Become a Full Stack Developer: Day 1

Full stack developer is a term made popular by Google.

If you are reading this then you likely have interests in becoming a full stack developer. Welcome to the club!

The path to finalize my decision to pursue a career in web development has been filled with winding roads, detours, dead ends, traffic, and lots of curves. But in the end, I realize, all roads on my path lead to learning how to code.

I must admit, over the years I have become somewhat familiar with CSS and HTML, but only enough to be dangerous. When I say dangerous, I mean ‘trial and error’ and ‘all over the place’. I thought I could learn how to code on the fly. Boy, was wrong!

It’s time to get serious

This week, I have decided to take my education seriously. Since there are no short cuts, I will take a long term approach to my continuous learning. Sometimes we must slow down in order to speed up.

I would like to share with you my story, but will save it for another post. For now, I want to focus on the purpose of this website.

Documented Journey to Full Stack Development

I decided to create WorkWithCarolette.com to document my full stack developer journey, show growth, and to help those who come after me how I made it. My goal is to transition into a career of writing code (technology-enabled solutions) to solve complex business problems.

The ‘money’ that comes with being a developer is not my end goal, but it’s a benefit and indicator of my success. My primary motivator is to love what I do and provide value to others. I have chased ‘the money’. Making more money does not make you happy, if you don’t enjoy what you are doing.

No matter when you find me (and this site), my hope is that you are inspired, you join me, and we learn together?

Today is September 8th, 2017 and Day 1 of my journey. Although, I am at the beginning of my journey and have not reached my goal to being a full stack developer, if you stick around or check back with me next year this time, I will have a different story.

My Psychology: Success Leaves Clues

“The journey of a thousands miles starts with one step.” Lao Tzu

In the end, we all must start somewhere, and that somewhere is called ‘ground zero.’

Just the other day I was reading the stories of several people who learned how to code back in 2014. I thought to myself, where would I be if I had a different mind to do it right the first time? Immediately, overwhelm set in as I thought about the enormity of what laid before me.

I had to check my emotional state and look at things differently. I reminded myself of a mantra, “success leaves clues”. If I model what others have done, I too will have similar results. I knew I had to lay a strong foundation and start from the beginning.

Those who I aspired to be had to start a ‘ground zero.’ As they progressed, they left behind a road map to show those after them the possibilities, if consistent.

In like manner, when they were getting started there existed someone whom they looked up to. This predecessor served as their beacon of hope to learning how to code. I hope to be that beacon for my successors.

That is why I say, “we all must start somewhere.” All success starts by having the right psychology. The thought process and psychology. I’ve adopted shifts me to think that success is a marathon, seek collaboration not competition, and unmeasured success is not success.

Success is a Marathon

“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard.” John Bytheway

I want you to realize the path to success is a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t matter when you start. What matters most is that you start. As long as when you start small towards your goal with humble beginnings, build confidence, continue to improve, and never give up to reach our goal.

The road may seem arduous, but anything worth having is worth sticking to. To reach my goal, I am going to follow a proven process and chip away at it one day at a time. The only way to approach our ambitious goal to full stack development is to break down everything into its smallest components and work with the end in mind. For us this looks like writing down everything we need to learn and creating a curriculum for ourselves to follow. This will be our web developer blueprint for success.

A builder knows to build a house brick-by-brick. A runner understands to cover a mile step-by-step. As full stack developers, the fundamentals to completing anything are no different than building a house or running a marathon.

Success is a long term concept called ‘growth’. All growth starts out humble. I’d like to think the growth similarities of Humans trees. Although seedlings start at zero, in the end, it’s goal is be a flourishing, massive tree after it’s kind. Just like that seedling, as long as we have a predetermined destination of being a full stack developer and continue to grow our skills towards this, success will come.

Just like trees, it’s only human nature that we want to grow.

Seek Collaboration, not Competition

One thing that I’ve observed so far about the world of code is that this is a community of natural givers. They donate their time, help novices, share best practice, and provide open source programs at zero costs. At the core, the code community is full of creative, smart thinkers that have a sense of abundance. What I’ve come to realize is that they understand the human mind is an endless source of possibility.

When you realize the endlessness of what is possible, you shift from a sense of competition to one of collaboration.

Long ago in my previous career, I realized the competitive spirit I was developing was not making me happy. I have since longed to find a community that aligned with my core beliefs.

To clarify, I am not against competition. When it’s healthy, competition has it’s place.

What does healthy competition look like?

Let’s just say, I’d rather compete with myself to be a better version than I was yesterday.

How has this served me? This way of thinking:

  • Keeps my feelings under control as I evade negative emotions such as jealousy, envy, and self doubt.
  • Protects my integrity and confidence.
  • Keeps me in my lane, not worried about being someone who I’m not.
  • Helps me to appreciate my talents by focusing on the strengths and experiences I bring to the table.

Unmeasured success is not success

Put another way, “if it is not documented, it is not done.” Whatever is important to you is written down and captured as legacy. More on this in a moment, I first must cover a few things.

When things are written they can be revisited at a later date to compare whether it still holds as being true. Questions that written records answer:

  • Have things changed since new information has presented itself?
  • Has there been some level of progress and growth?
  • Can someone review your documented written record and expand upon previous ideas?
  • Does the written record show demonstrated skill, value, or a trend?

All things ‘written’ can be thought of as a type of ‘currency.’

Money is only one type of currency that we’ve all agreed has common value, but other forms of acceptable currency also exist. One thing about currency is that is is always written to measure its value. Emotional currency is written in our memories. Intellectual currency is written in books, videos, or audio recordings. Spiritual currency is written on our hearts.

‘Writing’ is how things are transferred/transported. Writing also creates a historical record of what exists,

In our world of full stack development, demonstrated knowledge can be exchanged into a portfolio, a working website, an application, a presentation, testimonies of others, videos, books, a comprehensive examination, and anything that is evidentiary, tangible, or physical.

When others see these intellectual properties they can then decide if your evidence of skill has value and can be transferred into a job offer, a purchase, or something else of perceived value.

As newbie full stack developers we are going document our progress in many of these forms. We are not going to wait until we are asked to present our evidence of skills, we are going to begin with the end goal in mind. Because it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. We will get the call and be asked to present our portfolios, so we will start now when we are at our worse, document the journey and show how our skills have improved. Improvement and the ability to learn and adapt is also a currency.

But guess what, if our work is not documented in an acceptable form then it cannot be measured. If your work cannot measure what does not exist. If we don’t have proof of our results can we call ourselves a success?

Remember, unmeasured success, is not success.

What to expect for me?

  1. You can expect me to share every step of my journey with complete transparency. I will do my best to accurately document my sources for valuable information I find along the way.
  2. You can expect me to be open to criticism. Criticism is just feedback – nothing more and nothing less. By receiving all forms of feedback as they come, only I can decide how to interpret this information to make myself a better developer. The best performers in any field crave and are open to all feedback.
  3. You can expect me to blog at least once per week giving a summary of what I’ve accomplished for the week. As I get used to blogging, I promise my grammer, spelling, and flow will get better.
  4. You can expect me to always improve.

I don’t know what path this road will take us, all I know is what my end goal will be.

I Will End in Summary of My Psychology:

  • Success is a marathon – sometimes you must slow down to speed up.
  • Seek collaboration, not competition – be better than you were before.
  • Unmeasured success is not success – if it’s not documented, it’s not done.

Let these ideas be the guiding principles in your decision to pursue a career in full stack development.

In my next post I intend to recap what I cover during the first full week of training. Until then, remember that I am only a comment away if you have any questions, always begin with the end in mind, and success leaves clues do you see them?