We need your perspectives, now and forever
This is going to be a “short” one. For those unfamiliar with my writing, a 4–5 minute read is definitely short. 😂 I like just sharing my thoughts occasionally, without the burden of extensive research.
Being a new (< 2 years) web developer with a blog and podcast—that often feels like it’s growing faster than I am as a web developer—isterrifying.
After launching a blog or podcast, we’ve built our own platform from which to launch our thoughts and insights. At first, when you don’t have an audience, it’s far less intimidating. But once there are people asking for you to produce new content more often… shit gets very real, very fast.
Often, I pick soft skills as a topic: a subject I know lots about, having come from the Customer Service industry. But doing a lot of reading and independent coursework this year has helped me realize that there’s a good reason I do this.
I’m currently working through Dr. Barbara Oakley’s new book Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential. It’s an excellent read filled with anecdotes about career changers, explained by science. In the book, she talks extensively about the unique skills and experiences that we bring to tech as new coders. I won’t discuss that too extensively, because I’m recording a podcast episode with her on Thursday. (!)
As it turns out, without the homogenized environment of traditional academia, we have an opportunity to let our creativity, experience, and natural talent shine through in our learning—and as a result, our writing and recording.
And you, fellow blogger and/or podcaster, have your own set of unique skills and experiences that will unquestionably make your voice much different than mine. That is the most beautiful part of what we’re doing. And it’s what makes the internet a cornucopia of interesting perspectives.
There is no right or wrong, unless you’re talking about code itself—in which case there may be, but then it’s a learning opportunity. Otherwise, there is only your interpretation.
However, I know that this road isn’t easy. We don’t know what we’re talking about a lot of the time. It’s nerve-wracking. Imposter syndrome sets in, even though we’re getting positive feedback all around.
It’s so easy to forget that we’re not expected to know everything about the topics on which we write and record. I try not to be preachy in my original content, but rather hope to share, and allow others to absorb or parse the material themselves. Or, I’ve allowed myself to simply talk about what I’m working on, which—experienced behind the disclaimer of newbiedom—is quite cathartic.
“By simply taking the time and effort to research a topic, you are enough of an expert on the topic to speak about it.”
That quote resonated with me. Upon digging deeper, I realized that I don’t feel capable of being an expert at times. It seems too daunting, and out of my reach.
That may be natural, but letting it affect me and my output is self-sabotage. In fact, the #1 reason that I stop creating content is because I’m afraid, and that fact pisses me off.
I‘m afraid that I’ll say something incorrect in a piece that doesn’t have the wiggle room for it. I’m afraid I don’t know enough. I’m afraid that the content will be dull, or nobody will care. I’m afraid of being mocked, trolled, or doxxed, because that happens when people on the internet decide to be unreasonably cruel to women who dare to speak.
Effectively, I’m afraid to put myself “out there”, because the internet is a vast and sometimes scary place. I don’t have the same fear when I talk to people face-to-face, or present to a group.
If you feel those fears, know that you’re not the only one. Sometimes it takes me weeks to create content. Sometimes I delete everything and start over. All of that is okay. The only thing that isn’t okay is not creating at all.
I should also note that I experience generalized anxiety, so I understand that these fears are largely unrealistic. And I’ve determined that whatever isn’t conjured purely by anxiety is still a small price to pay for being able to help others who may be in my same position. In my experience, vulnerability always pays off in the end.
Newbie coders with blogs and podcasts: the world needs us.
Experienced developers need us to remind them what it’s like to be a beginner.
Employers need us to remind them that the greatest skills in tech don’t necessarily come from a 4-year CS program.
And fellow newbie coders need us to remind them that they’re not alone.
Please keep writing and recording in 2017 and beyond. We especially need POC and LGBTQ+ voices, and voices talking about mental health issues. There is enough room in tech for all of our voices. Make your niche.
If you have one, please link your blogs and podcasts in the comments. I’ll make sure they get a signal boost on the next podcast episode. 👊🏼 If you’re interested in starting a podcast, let me know, and maybe I’ll do a post on that in the future!
Peace, love, and code.