Good Enough

Published on July 15, 2022

Hey there again, buddy! The initial intention for this article, which I started writing about a month or two ago, was for me to rant about how I feel I am not good enough. But instead of doing that, let’s talk about growth and positivity, why? IDK, do you want to be sad?

Many people I know or who frequently come into contact with think I am an excellent programmer and know a lot based on my GitHub or the crap I post on Twitter or LinkedIn, but I don’t feel that way, I know I am not, and I frequently tell people so. And during the past few months, I’ve felt a strong urge to improve significantly in my field — not so I can live up to the hype, but rather for MYSELF. I recently started to realize that being a developer involves more than just writing code, and I made the decision to NEVER SETTLE with being “good enough”.

Despite appearances, I have received a large number of rejections this year since beginning to apply for ‘office’/full-time positions (over a hundred at this point, I lost count), primarily due to my visa cap, but that is not the point. I received a number of interviews whilst I was re-building my CV, I passed several, and even signed contracts only to have them revoked because my visa only allowed me to work 20 hours per week (even contract roles, sucks right?) And when I finally decided to just state that on my CV, it became even more difficult to get any interviews; and I was slowly burning through my savings, so at this point I was tired, and all I had left was to just build myself even more and resort to menial jobs because getting freelance gigs is harder nowadays, if you know what I mean, and not quite reliable for me when I have thousands of £ to pay in tuition fees and other things, only a handful of my friends; @_frokes and @ipariola knew about this frustration, often supported me and thanks a lot to them too. Spoiler alert: there is no “I started a role at Amazon” or “I 100x-ed my income” at the end of this article.

In between all of this, I’ve taken a few freelance jobs through referrals, but the feeling of not being ‘good’ enough lingered in my mind no matter how much I seemed to learn or practice. It wasn’t so much about learning more frameworks for me as it was about becoming more of an engineer and less of a ‘developer’; which entails having much more technical details and understanding (again, this isn’t just about the title), so I continued pushing. I bought a handful of Udemy courses, completed some of them, but they didn’t feel in-depth enough, I didn’t feel like I understood significantly more, and I was hungry for knowledge. Asking for help was harder(er) for me months ago because I wasn’t used to it; probably just like you, and I was even more terrified of being ignored. If you read my Twitter thread about never settling, you’d know I was a “lone wolf” for a very long time and I didn’t meet or know any other developer for over 3 years until last year when I got on Twitter (for context; the first time I heard about Node.js was about 8 months ago, shocking isn’t it?), so I’ll admit I was living in a bubble for the last 3 years before that with what I thought I knew, it felt like I wasted a lot of time because I did but it wasn’t too late either.

You undoubtedly understand my desire to create a community for all ‘Techies’ at Frikax; a community, or at least the people I’ve met, has truly helped me grow, and I believe it might benefit a lot of other people as well. I finally understood the importance of being ‘social’ at the time, so I joined LinkedIn, reconnected to Facebook, became more involved on Twitter, and met a lot of wonderful individuals, of whom I am fairly convinced you are one. In April/May, I began to overcome my fear of being ignored and simply reached out to a few of extremely senior engineers whose work I admired and respected, and a few of them did respond and offer to help out, which they did, but understandably, most of them were very busy with other things and I wasn’t offended either. I would contact several of them when I needed to learn something or know how they did things, and they would respond, explain, and point me to useful links, videos, or concepts. You might be thinking, “Why not just Google those things yourself?” Sure, I could, but I’ve discovered that I learn best with and from other people, thus you’ll find me ‘stalking’ a lot of repos and reading code there. Huge thanks to @pipedev and @lanreadelowo; I probably ask them more than I should, but they are extremely helpful still.

The other crucial aspect was applying the new skills and “advanced” concepts I had learned, but since I wasn’t going to get a company job or any major job that could really allow me to gain the experience, I did what any truly knowledge-hungry developer would do: I dove into old projects and rebuilt them, built even more new ones, and did as much coding as I did reading and watching videos in the unhealthiest way possible, and it started to tell on me so I also did learn to take short breaks (this is VERY essential, not just to prevent a burn-out but your health is also very important). Concurrently, I was working to overcome my urge to have everything turn out flawlessly (but obviously as a programmer or anyone reading this, you know things aren’t flawless) and avoid criticism while I was building these things. And at some point, I just stopped caring and started posting everything I’d worked on, fully anticipating the “You shouldn’t have done this?” and “Why do it like this?” comments no matter how ‘attacking’ they seemed (some people are naturally just trolls, I mostly not reply to those) - BLII.

I’ve spent the last few months learning not just about writing code but also about deeper concepts, tools, and operating systems, and I finally feel like I’m starting to understand how to be a good developer and what I’m doing. Eventually, I’ll understand how to approach things like an engineer, but in the meantime, I’ll keep building, learning, iterating, and improving, and most likely writing articles at aerdeets.com to share what I’ve learned and to help beginners; explaining as best I can. I currently work full-time/part-time, so I don’t have much time to write articles on a regular basis, but I enjoy working there too; the staff is fantastic!. I also do get a bunch of recruiter messages on LinkedIn and Twitter, but at some point, you have to acknowledge you don’t have to take on every single job at ONCEto ‘gain experience’ or ‘make money’ (you’ll most likely end up sucking at a lot of them even if you don’t have deadlines). Invest in your learning as well, and understand your health is just as important.

That’s all I’ve got for now; you can grow on your own, but it’s easier, better and faster to ‘scale’ when you’re with other people; don’t forget that. Enjoy your week or weekend whenever you’re reading this, remember to not just ‘write code’ or ‘just design’ or whatever you do, you could get a good life not knowing anything really, but you’ll agree it feels good to be actually pretty good at what you do, and if you also did fall off the wagon, it’s not too late to get back on it either. Ciao :)

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Disclaimer: This article represents my own opinions and experiences at the time of writing this articles. These opinions may change over time and my experiences could be different from yours, if you find anything that is objectively incorrect or that you need to discuss further, please contact me via any of the links in the header section of this website's homepage.