We are Willing to Learn

Great stuff.  If you’ve never seen Stripes, do yourself a favor and watch it this weekend.  Or now.

“No we’re not, but we are willing to learn.”  A great sentiment.  I listened to a great podcast the other day.  It’s called the Front End Happy Hour and it combines two of my favorite things- programming and drinking.  Anyway, they were discussing ES6 and all the cool new features.  The discussion went to knowledge and training- something I’ve found interesting lately.

With the internet at our fingertips, most info is available in seconds.  So the memorization of methods and syntax becomes far less important than 2 main factors.  1) How to apply that info, and 2) The willingness to keep learning about new info.

#1 speaks to the difference between copy/pasting some snippet of code off Stack Overflow into your app/site versus taking the time to understand how said snippet works, why you’d want to use it, and what the possible alternatives are.  You can get away with the blind copy/paste for a bit, but eventually, you’re going to have to know how it works- or know enough to recognize that an accepted answer might not work for your use case.  A personal example is regex – the few times I’ve had to write one, I’ve had to look up the syntax (thanks MDN!).  Every time- I’ve just never memorized that aspect of my job.  And it wouldn’t really make much sense to- it’s readily available and I know the basics of how the regex works and when/where to apply it (I know- the answer is ‘never’!).  Or some of the built in methods for manipulating strings – sometimes I’m writing JS, sometimes Python, sometimes C# and the call is different in each.  I’ll forget and type the wrong one, then do a quick search for the correct syntax.

#2 is what they discussed on FEHH.  It seems like every week there are new frameworks or tools to use in frontend dev.  Or the next ECMAscript release is bringing new tools.  Or there’s a new way of doing a task that you just have to know to stay current.  The willingness to learn new things becomes very important in a rapidly changing industry.  The panelists on the podcast had some really great things to say on the topic.

To bring it full circle, we come to imposter syndrome.  That heavily used term meaning that you feel like you don’t belong in the position you’re in.  I like to say I have imposter syndrome because I am, in fact, an imposter.

And it’s true- I don’t have a CS degree.  I’m not accredited by any governing body to code your Angular app or hook it up to a database.  I started learning this stuff because a job allowed it and I found it interesting.  So yes- I have to Google a lot of things during my day (point 1 above).  Why?  Because I’m still learning.  Every day.  And yes- this can lead to the feeling that I don’t really know what I’m doing.  That I’m an imposter.  But maybe the best way to combat that is to remember point #2 above.  We’re all still learning this stuff.  When you look something up and feel like you don’t really know it, dig deeper and learn about it.

Mostly incoherent ramblings, but if you take one thing away, take the link to Front End Happy Hour – it’s a good listen!

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