Looking back before I got my first full-time job as a web developer, I was a full-time bootcamp student under a lot of pressure to prepare for the real world. Since I joined my bootcamp in June 2015, it took about 8 months total to start and finish my program to finding a job and making the leap. About two months afterwards, I got laid off and unemployed unexpectedly as the start-up I worked with got acquired. Before being a bootcamp student though, I had self-studied, took online courses (free and paid) to see if I even liked development. Once I found that it’s something more challenging and rewarding that I wanted to pursue, I then had to figure out what area I wanted to specialize in (which is a whole other process in itself that I can cover at a later time). Anyways, it was a time in my life that I felt like it was the right decision to make and I had sacrificed a lot to make it happen! My week day nights and weekends consisted of studying, even if it was only for a few hours. Sometimes I would wake up as early as 5 am before work just to get an hour or so of studying. But now, as a full-time professional in the industry I really wish I didn’t put myself in a position where I had to know everything as a student. That if I didn’t know it, then I didn’t know enough to be a web developer. The reality is, even as a working professional you can never know it all. And to be Okay with that. The sooner you accept that, the better off you’ll be because then you’ll know what you don’t know and go from there.
My natural reaction originally was that if I didn’t know something, I would immediatley find a book, lynda course, or make a project around the technology and spend time learning. Now, before I even do any of that, I make sure I’m 100% clear if learning it will benefit me in any way as a professional specialized in front-end and where my focus is. Or if it will divert me onto another path, or “rabbit hole”, that I won’t actually be pursuing long-term.
As a student, I’m really lucky to have been told this by one of the founders of the school in one of the courses in software development. But I didn’t exactly grasp it at the time. He had mentioned that in every team project he had been, he went in knowing about 40-60% of the technology being used (enough to have a general direction of how to approach the project). It doesn’t matter the exact percentage he used, he just made it a point that someone at his caliber of 20+ years of professional software development experience even runs into projects that requires him to learn new things at some level. I didn’t understand this fully at the time as a student, well, because I thought you can’t really be a professional specializing in something if you don’t know the in’s and out’s of every little detail. But now it’s starting to make sense as I just finished up my first project I was responsible for, which I’ll share with you soon!
Take away from this story, no matter if you’re a specialist or a generalist, full-stack, front-end, or back-end, you WILL run into scenarios you will have to figure out. The great thing is that everything is figure-out-able with the right mindset. I just wish I would have accepted this sooner, instead of instilling this unnecessary pressure as a student to “know it all” and force myself to study things that I didn’t have much interest in pursuing long-term as a professional. It takes experience to know these things, and perhaps, I had to go through this myself in order to fully understand it. Let me know if you can relate on some level to this regardless if you’re a bootcamp student currently or have been at it for years.