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Efren Marin
Efren Marin

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Learning to Fail

I don’t usually post on here because I tend to be a somewhat private person but I feel like this might benefit others in the same boat as me. Like many others in the job market, I have had my fair share of rejection emails and non-responsive recruiters. I understand though, with the sudden influx of experienced developers in the market due to the pandemic, being a junior developer trying to break in is harder than ever.

Like many of my Junior Developer peers, I too learn, study, implement, and repeat all things Frontend. While there is a plethora of topics and skills that are needed for a Frontend Developer job, there will always be something that you might not be able to cover.

This brings me to my most recent experience.

I’ve had interviews and take home challenges before, which I feel like I get better every time I do one. I am fairly confident in my skills as a Junior Developer and can, for the most part, hold my own if given the time. With my most recent interview, I studied everything in the job description and then recreated some of their work for my own knowledge and practice. I felt confident and was excited at the opportunity.

The first 3 interviews went well, in my opinion. When I got to the technical portion, I was pumped! Then came the brain fog and I completely blanked. Using an online IDE (Codepen) when I’ve been frankly coddled with VSCode and their autofill, was not helping my brain fog. The lack of autocomplete and formatting threw me off. Then feeling self-conscious about the Senior Developer watching did not help. Long story short, I fell short of showing what my skills could do.

I knew I could do the challenge. I knew I could knock it out of the park. What I didn’t know was how ill-prepared I was to do this in two scenarios. One, being timed, and two, using an unassisted IDE. I felt as though I let myself down.

It came as no surprise that I received the all too familiar email, thanking me for my time but ultimately passing on me as a candidate. That heavy feeling at the pit of your stomach and thoughts of whether you’re cut out to be a developer or not.

After some time to reflect on the experience, I decided that I am not going to take this as a loss but rather as another way to improve my learning process. Sharpening my skills by getting to know more of the exact syntax without the help of VSCode extensions. Becoming a faster developer using small timed challenges. Finally, taking the time to peer program more to get over any anxiety I may feel when coding with others.

So if you’re in the same position as me, don’t let a rejection get you down. Take every interview as a way to hone your skills and sharpen your tools. We are in the industry of showing me not telling me, so being able to code out your solutions in front of others is a skill that we need to build up on top of our technical skills.

Keep your head high, stay positive and always remember:

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” -Oprah Winfrey

Top comments (1)

juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

You know, I really enjoyed reading this post. It reminded me some years ago where I was applying for entry level jobs and got the "you have an interesting profile but unfortunately the opening we have don't match the skills you have so thanks for your time" kind of response.

And that last thing you said is very true. We gotta get more used to learning how to fail but fail forward.