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Cover image for The Occasional Update - no.6
McKenna Bramble
McKenna Bramble

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The Occasional Update - no.6

cover image by yours truly

โœจ Hello โœจ

I have been struggling to be consistent about posting my learning updates, so I have renamed this series "The Occasional Update" to be more accurate. Enjoy.

๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ Let's get vulnerable for a moment

I often get very overwhelmed by everything I am trying to do: Apply for jobs, prep for interviews, post more blog content (i.e. technical blog posts), consistently improve/learn more coding skills, network, actually start coding my portfolioโ€ฆ all on top of trying to make enough money to keep my bills paid and making enough space for quality time with my partner.

For awhile now, I have had to prioritize my other jobs to make sure my bills are paid, and have had to put in more emotional energy into my relationship. I hesitate to write this. This blog, after all, is supposed to be focused on my coding journey. But I think it is important to be real with where I am at, because maybe other people are also struggling. I am overwhelmed. I am tired. I feel like I should be further down my coding path than I am.

Something I do when I feel overwhelmed is to try to focus on just one small step each day. So, for the next few weeks, I am going to just focus on one thing each day that will get me closer to my goal of landing a developer job. One thing.

To keep track of this, I created a tiny database in my Notion app. Hopefully this will help me see that I am still making progress.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ What I've been up to recently

A photo of a person in a crowd facing a stage. The photo has the text 'San Francisco Summit 2022 Back in the Castro'
This week, I virtually attended the Lesbians Who Tech Summit. It was fantastic. I was able to make a lot of connections with people, and even connected with some people who live close by! I got to talk 1:1 with a few recruiters, who pointed me towards some opportunities that I will be applying for in the next few days.

Even though all of the networking was exhausting, connecting with the queer tech community was so great. The majority of my code learning has actually been solitary. I have had to push myself to blog, post on LinkedIn, network, and otherwise engage with people. It has gotten easier in some ways, but it is easy for me to lose momentum. Whenever I do engage with people, though, it gives me fuel to keep going, keep learning, and to keep pushing myself.

If anyone reading this feels alone in their tech journey, I would HIGHLY suggest engaging with the tech community. Personally, I try to post on LinkedIn and comment on people's posts (but I want to be better about this); I am trying to be active on the Skillcrush Slack, but I am VERY inconsistent; I am blogging; and I am trying to attend virtual and in-person networking events. Actually, I met someone at the Lesbians Who Tech summit who lives close by that invited me to an in-person networking event next week!

๐Ÿพ Job Search Updates

I had a phone screening a week and a half ago for an apprenticeship at a company that I am VERY excited about. Its values really jive with who I am as a person as well as what I am looking for in a company. I should be hearing back sometime next week about next steps! ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž

( ๐Ÿค– Future McKenna, here. Before I got around to publishing this post, I heard back from {this.company}. I did not make it. That's okay, though! I did it, and I think a takeaway is that I really need to finish my React course. Also, I need to sell myself more and get my elevator pitch down ).

I applied to one other job last week. I am hoping I can start applying to one each day this week, and then increase it to two a day, then maybe three a day. But I need to start with one a day.

๐ŸŽ‰ A recent win

I finally finished Lessons 9 - 11 of my React course! I learned about lifecycle methods and saving states in the browser; using React Dev Tools to inspect the virtual DOM; and implementing presentational and container components to organize code. Hopefully I can ride this wave and finish React soon. I have four more lessons, which include two projects.

๐Ÿ“– Eloquent JavaScript Update

I am still reading Eloquent JavaScript. Books have always been a valuable source of information to me, and this is no different. Even though the book is covering concepts that I already know, it is providing me with more depth and nuance.

Something that came up in Eloquent JavaScript is Recursion. A recursive function is a function that calls itself. At first, I was worried. Do I need to know this? It seemed like an important but perhaps confusing concept. After reading this article, I realized that it is good to know, but itโ€™s not too complicated. The article explains what recursion is and how a recursive function might be pushed / popped from the call stack. If you are still trying to wrap your head around the call stack, reading that article might be helpful.

โšกGoals I have recently accomplished

โ˜‘๏ธ Finish adding documentation to my GitHub pinned projects
โ˜‘๏ธ Started applying to jobs
โ˜‘๏ธ Finished lessons 9 - 11 of React

โšกMy goals for the near future

๐Ÿ”ฒ FINISH REACT
๐Ÿ”ฒ Participate in Hacktoberfest 2022 & write a blog post about it
๐Ÿ”ฒ Apply to one job each day (at least)

๐Ÿค” Does anyone else struggle with feeling like they are progressing slower than they should? Any suggestions for engaging with the tech community?

Top comments (4)

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mistydb profile image
Misty

Hi, McKenna!

I really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability here. Learning to code in a vacuum where you don't have to worry about anything else (bills, jobs, relationships) would be hard enough as it is, but doing it while also managing everything else sometimes feels like an uphill climb. I do think that it will be worth it on the other side of it, even though that doesn't necessarily make it easier in the here and now. You've got this! But also, it's okay to be tired and to not feel great about the progress you're making (which is a lot!!) and to give yourself the space to tend to those feelings.

I have been floundering a bit myself lately. My next Skillcrush project is the GitHub Repo Gallery and for some reason (fear of vulnerability and sharing my projects, really) I've got a mental block about making progress on it. That's my goal for this week, though. If not to finish it it entirely, to at least get past halfway.

I'm so glad you were able to make a local connection and that you're going to an in-person networking event! That sounds very exciting and I hope it leads more to connections and more community-building for you! โœจโค๏ธโœจ

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mckennabramble profile image
McKenna Bramble Author

Thank you, Misty! I agree; once I am on the other side, it will definitely all be worth it.

You can do it, too! I think just trying to get a chunk of the repo gallery done is a good goal. Good luck!!

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sheblair profile image
sheila • Edited on

mckenna,

congratulations on all that you have accomplished and everything you are working on!

i know exactly how you feel, and i often feel that i am moving more slowly than i should, or than i had hoped i would. i've had to re-adjust my expectations for myself and my progress multiple times. i thought i would be in the skillcrush get hired track by now, but i'm still working through the courses! but honestly, i think the experience of chasing these moving goalposts has given me a lot of resilience and grit that i didn't have before.

not to mention, it's inspiring to read posts from people like you. because honestly, from where i'm sitting, it seems like you're crushing it! but it is a LOT. you're doing so much. and i super respect your vulnerability and authenticity in sharing with us what's going on for you right now. keep it up. sending you good vibes and big support!

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mckennabramble profile image
McKenna Bramble Author

Hi Sheila! Readjusting expectations has become a constant, for sure. Thank you for the encouragement and good vibes! ๐Ÿ’œ