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How do you not panic about code?

I recently started my first programming job, and I'm basically enjoying it. My colleagues and boss are supportive, it's interesting work, there are a lot of challenges and new technologies to learn.

What I see happening for myself pretty often though, is if I get a complicated ticket that has to do with logic or data connection or something that I'm unfamiliar with, then I start to panic about how to solve it. This is of course very unhelpful, since panicking makes it much more difficult to concentrate on the conceptually difficult task.

I'd really love to hear if you have dealt with this panic about tickets, and how you overcome it. How do you calm yourself down to think clearly?

Top comments (3)

greggomatic profile image
Greg Thomas

Having been through this many times before, my one piece of advice - is breathe. Take that deep breath before getting yourself all worked up - remind yourself that you are a junior developer and you are a junior for a reason - even the best senior developers don't know everything.

If you haven't written it and are seeing it for the first time, you need to learn the syntax before you can jump in and start doing something with it. Hopefully, you have a manager where you are not the first junior they are leading where the focus should be on growth and learning and not that you know everything.

What helped me most was to then break it out into small tasks into what I needed to learn. If I didn't know it, I might create a little test app to replicate functionality so they can I could better handle myself. Looking back, many tasks are "thrown" to juniors because the person assigning it knows they are time intensive and no one else wants to look at them (good to remember). This has a big benefit for you because if you become knowledgeable in that area, all of a sudden you're the expert!

As a Manager now, the only time I get worried about a junior developer is if they are looking at their own code and go - "I don't understand what I wrote" :) But that's a different issue/problem to solve.

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Hey Holden!

I think this is a great question!

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a dev so can't pretend to relate entirely to the panic of trying to learn new programming concepts on the job which does indeed sound quite stressful.

But, in the past couple of years I've done a lot of support work for DEV ( as their community manager and at times have felt the panic that you're describing. The job is time sensitive and it feels like there's always something new and challenging that comes in... to say challenging makes it sound fun (and often it is) but to suggest that it's not stressful and at times panic-inducing would be a lie.

I think my best tip for dealing with the initial panic is to take some deep breaths in and out and relax your mind for 5 minutes, trying to detach yourself from any worries at hand. Basically, I'm talking about meditating... give yourself 5-10 minutes once a day to relax all thoughts and focus on breathing. It genuinely does make you feel better, but definitely takes practice β€” especially when ya feel like you should be working the problem at hand. πŸ˜… But seriously, getting that daily mental break and teaching yourself to relax in tense moments really is helpful for the mind.

roflano profile image

I haven't been panicking lately on principle, and I'm sure it's all a result of the fact that I've started smoking weed from time to time. A lot of people think it's a horrible drug that is nightmarishly addictive, but I've bought cannabis online several times, smoked it and felt more than fine. I think that's the main indicator of effectiveness.