Fear and Intimidation

by Jess Brown

This week I started working on a new project. Like all projects, especially existing ones, it can be a little overwhelming in the beginning.

The emotional side of the brain...

Some projects I'm even intimidated. This new project was one that I was particularly impressed with. It was using a lot of newer technologies I had not used (luckily I was mostly aware enough to know 'of' them). It had tons of models, used all kinds of services, a new database I actually hadn't heard of, multiple API's I had never used, etc, etc.

When I get on projects like this, thoughts creep in to my head, "the previous developers are way more advanced that I am...what if I can't make it work, my client will think I'm not qualified when it takes me forever to figure things out." The list goes on.

The logical side??

However, when I think back to projects that have come up like this in the past, I look back and remember how much fun they were to "figure out". I see how much I learned and developed as a programmer. I say to myself, "you know, I always figure things out"...there's never been a time when I just gave up and couldn't complete a job.

Also I'm not sure why I do this (and I'm hope I'm not the only one), but I put too much pressure on myself and expect to be able to just look at github repo and know exactly how it all works. I'm supposed to within a few hours of tinkering, figure out what took other developers years to build. Why do we do that? If start a new book, I don't expect to know what happens at the end. It takes time to become familiar with the business logic, the stories, flow, the methods the previous developers used, etc. The tests and code should tell a story, but you have to read the story to understand it and make contributions to it.

So I conclude...

A programmer's job is to solve problems and figure things out. That doesn't mean you're not going to feel overwhelmed and intimidated at times. If you don't, you're probably not challenging yourself enough. I encourage you like I encourage myself, embrace the challenge, be thankful for the opportunity to level up and remember, you're a hacker, you'll figure it out!

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