You Belong

I'm a real developer.

It's been a long hard road, but I've finally arrived at my destination: I'm a real developer.

I can write clean, performant code in multiple languages. I built an enterprise level high-traffic lead routing engine for a multi-million dollar company. Then, I did it again in an entirely serverless stack to even faster and more efficient results.

I built tools that saved my employer thousands of dollars in man hours, and piloted new products that generated substantial revenue. I've worked with NoSQL databases, relational databases, cloud microservices, and I've even built cross-platform iOS & Android apps.

I'm a real developer.

Right?

I used to spend late nights in front of my computer trying to get (what I was told) were the simplest things working. Nothing is more frustrating and self-esteem eroding than struggling with learning things that everyone says are simple.

It means I must be stupid, or that development just isn't for me. It means that this is a world for which the shape of my mind just doesn't fit. I'm just not getting it, and I probably never will.

I would think things like this on almost a nightly basis. It was the drum that beat in my head when I would feel like I was at the bottom of an insurmountable hill.

Sometimes, I would be at the point of tears because I felt so inadequate. And of course, I knew I was the only one feeling this way. Tutorials and other real developers could pick this stuff up in no time. I was certain I was a piece to the wrong puzzle. But, what I didn't notice was the growing forest for the trees. While I wasn't building groundbreaking tech, I was putting in time.

After what seemed like forever, I saw light. I began to understand small collections of concepts. And like any good investment fund, it began to compound with time. The more I learned, the more I learned how to learn.

Fast-foward to today, remember that serverless lead routing engine I built for my employer? When I first began that re-write, I didn't know much of anything about serverless. I was actually pretty crap at JavaScript, too. I had to google the most basic things about JavaScript and ExpressJS while I built it. A co-worker had to come in after me and re-factor my code because what I had written wasn't good enough for production.

But, I'm real developer. Despite years of constant learning and efforts to be as good as I can be, there's always a mountain I'm still at the bottom of.

If you're just learning to code, you're not an imposter.

The truth is, there is no destination outside of the road itself. Being a developer is not a checkbox; it's a sliding scale, so no matter what the gatekeepers in this community may tell you, you're a real developer and we're lucky to have you with us.

You belong.