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3 affirmations for the next 365 days: on improving myself as a developer

On this day exactly one year ago, I published a piece on in which I talked about 6 habits that I wanted to create in order to level up as a developer (you can read it here).

I re-visited it a few days ago and found this little retrospective very valuable and enjoyable, which gives me more than enough reason to write an updated piece for the coming year. This time I am changing it up a little bit by turning it into a shorter list of โœจaffirmationsโœจ that I hope to manifest (because truthfully, calling it "2021 goals" makes it sound like a checklist and gives me too much pressure).

I'm again sharing this publicly mostly for accountability reasons, but hopefully this will also inspire you to think about some things you want to work on during the next few months!

1. I am getting better at creative problem-solving

Whenever I build features, I have the tendency to solely focus on making things work and getting features shipped at a steady pace. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, I often find myself criticising my own code for not being "elegant" or "sophisticated" enoughโ€”the implementations I come up with are oftentimes rather basic and in my opinion are nowhere as clever as some of the implementations built by my peers. Although my code also gets the job done, moving forward, I'd like to pay more attention to how others structure their logic and to the feedback I get in PRs in order to improve my problem-solving skills.

On top of this, I would also like to improve the quality of the code reviews I conduct. While I tend to test and review PRs of others quite thoroughly, the feedback I give has often been limited to nitpicks. I believe that deepening the understanding of the stack I use daily will also play a valuable role in levelling up my creative problem-solving skills (which I hope to achieve by doing more of the next item on this list)!

2. I build side projects to boost my learning and development

You don't need to code 14 hours a day and have 50 side projects that are all hosted on dedicated domains to call yourself a developer. I do think, however, that working on small projects every once in a while is a great way to learn new skills. Last year, my side project completion rate was a whopping 66.7%! My secret to success, you ask? Well... (whispers) I only finished 2 out of 3 tiny projects I started. Yes, you read that right. I can count the number of projects I started on one hand. I also started 2 different courses and out of those, finished a grand total of 0.

Because of these not-so-impressive key results, I will be recycling this item from last year's list and hopefully start more projects (and finish those courses ๐Ÿ˜…) while still saving time for other hobbies, too.

3. I am an active voice of new/junior developers

Even though my employer dropped the junior term from my job title (hooray!) at the beginning of the year, I still find it extremely important that every single engineering culture is one that's comfortable for all engineers regardless of their experience level, and one in which everyone gets heard (especially in spaces where senior engineers vastly outnumber junior engineers).

This requires (but is not limited to) documenting clearly where needed, communicating with each other in an inclusive way, leading by example, and creating a psychologically safe space for everyone. Having this type of environment will not only empower junior engineers, but can also be very helpful for engineers who are new to your codebase.

This means we're going to have to fight a few misconceptions here. I want to continue spreading the message that accommodating to new developers does not mean you are going to slow down the pace at which you ship, or that you're going to lower your code quality standards. It means being empathetic, inclusive, and contributing to the growth of others (because every senior engineer was once a junior engineer, too).

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ’š I'd love to hear from you: what are some affirmations you're setting for yourself?

Discussion (4)

wrldwzrd89 profile image
Eric Ahnell

I am striving for eventually reaching 100% code coverage... and this is the first time I have ever written unit tests. Along with that, I am ensuring my efforts are well documented enough for someone else to pick up where I left off.

shanicedoes profile image

This was such a great read! Reading this, it's a big relief to know that becoming a web developer isn't as intimidating as I'm making it out to be because it's forever a learning process.

I've set my affirmations for the year, but they aren't specific to web dev so here they are:

๐Ÿ‘พ Learn how to work GitHub and post projects.
๐Ÿ‘พ Complete at least 2 of the bootcamps I've signed up for on UDemy.
๐Ÿ‘พ Build a basic website to host my portfolio of 5 website designs (I already have 2).

Thanks for this! I think I'm going to make this a part of my first post ๐Ÿ˜Š

avatargreggles profile image
Gregory Nimmo

Yay for accountability, I will find you and scold you if you do not meet your own goals! Jk Jk. It's inspired me to do some introspection and find our what goals I want to set for myself, thank you!

aswinbarath profile image
Aswin Barath

My affirmations this year are:

To post consistently on python concepts
Complete the courses I started just like you๐Ÿ˜…
Get better at problem-solving
Build projects