Quality Developer Qualities 06/09/16


I finished both the Independent Projects I was behind on! …and you were worried. Pfst! Not to mention how well my code review went. Now on to Ember.js. Rumor has it Ember is easier to set up than Angular, so there’s something to look forward to.

I’ll be visiting home (Chicago) this weekend and plan on binging on my Ember lessons. Keyword: ‘plan’. Seriously, I’ll do my best 😉 .

Enough IQ, on to EQ!

EQ, as defined by Wikipedia, is the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

Good to know right? Why is this relevant in a web developers blog you ask? Wellll…

The dream is to learn enough code to make tons of money, retire from Google at 42 and buy a small undeveloped island off the cost of Dubai. The only problem with is that it simply doesn’t work that way.

Many budding developers are being sold the dream of code being a path to wealth; a means to escape economic disparity. It can be, but not with just a novice knowledge of a single coding language. There are professionals with a mastery of a particular language, looking for a career in another. My Java instructor Perry Eising once told me over lunch, employers are looking for developers that are “tenacious, great problem solvers, and great communicators.” She mentioned nothing about knowing the most languages. Of course employers are expecting candidates to have a foundational knowledge of web development, but apparently these soft skills are highly sought after as well.

This comes as a bit of a relief for me. It’s encouraging to know employers are expecting me to continue learning through my employment, and I look forward to doing so.


Why Epicodus? Why Portland? Why not someplace closer? WHY?!?

Simple. Growth Mindset.


In 2010 I convinced an inner-city workforce center that my workforce training grant would be best used on a web development program over the usual CDL, CNA, LPN, and tradesmen training programs. It took me over a month and required a substantial amount of research and documentation on my behalf, but I finally got a yes. I would become a coder thanks to my tenacity, great problem solving skills, and great communication skills. (see what I did there?). It didn’t take long for me to realize, web development, not unlike learning a trade, would take months of practice to become a lucrative skill. Unlike a trade, there was no certificate or degree that would prove my ability. I needed an amazing portfolio to showcase my understanding of web development concepts.

So I set off on building a portfolio. In the mean time I freelanced in digital marking to practice HTML and CSS, and to generate income. I soon felt ready to apply for a junior developer position, and was politely informed, by several recruiter and interviewers, I simply didn’t have the skills. After all the work I put into my workforce training, and all the self-teaching I WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

I felt like for every new concept I picked up there were 10 more barriers to entry. I needed to learn a back-end language or learn front end JavaScript. I was already working in HTML and CSS so continuing on a front-end path only made sense, so I just started and kept at it. I maintained a growth mindset. I decided I could and would learn; that those so called barriers didn’t exist and that they were admission instead. Admission into the field of development, admission of my shortcomings, admissions of being uncomfortable not being knowledgeable, admission that I WOULD NOT EVER GIVE UP.

I knew I needed more education, and I knew I needed to be in a place that would be equally as supportive emotionally as it was academically, and I found that at Epicodus

Epicodus encourages inclusiveness and a growth mindset in addition to offering its curriculum online for free. With regard to having a growth mindset, the curriculum actually reads “If you have a growth mindset — if you enjoy challenging yourself and view your failures as opportunities to learn, not mistakes to be ashamed of — you’ll be much more successful at Epicodus.”.

Also from our curriculum is some inspiration I would like to share with you for the next time you aren’t feeling intelligent:

  • Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows.
  • Neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.
  • Our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.
  • People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure.
  • Mindsets can be taught; they’re malleable.
  • Praising someone’s process (“I really like how you struggled with that problem”) versus praising an innate trait or talent (“You’re so clever!”) is one way to reinforce a growth ­mindset.

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