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Sarah Dye
Sarah Dye

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Sarah Dye Returns to Coding in 2024

In 2016, I attended a PowertoFly webinar about finding a job in tech. During the webinar, one of the speakers made a point of telling the audience that it is ok to take a break from coding if they need it. She said it was important to take a break and then she got up close to her computer screen as she could to say that it isn't healthy for developers to stay at their computer the entire day.

I didn't follow her advice for several years and instead was firmly focused on getting where I wanted to go in tech. So I pushed myself by coding, writing posts, and trying to find a developer job.

I listened to coding podcasts and watched coding videos on YouTube. All the advice they shared I tried following exactly as I could. It finally took getting COVID at the end of 2020 to wake me up and take a hard look at what I was doing.

After lots of self-reflection, I realized I was on the verge of burnout because I was trying to do much at the same time. This wasn't healthy and was taking its toll on my health. As 2021 began, I became resolved to take better care of myself and create a better balance between coding and living life.

I started incorporating self-care habits into my life as I slowly eased my way back into coding. In the past, I always felt guilty when I wasn't coding. I remember going on a date in 2018 and felt completely guilty because I was spending my time doing something that wasn't coding or related to tech.

After getting COVID and doing lots of self-reflection, I still had those guilty feelings when I wouldn't be coding. However, I started to tell my mind that there was nothing wrong with taking a break since it would help me become a better developer in the long run. I still get those guilty feelings from time to time, but now I can easily stop those feelings when they start and remind myself it is ok to take breaks.

I haven't written any posts on DEV or Code Newbie in a while. I haven't pushed much to GitHub since 2020. However, I am still coding. Most of my coding these days is building the projects I teach at Coding with Kids to identify areas where students may struggle and what questions students might have.

At the end of 2023, I reflected on how 2023 went and decided I wanted to use 2024 to ease myself back into coding personal projects again very slowly and writing more posts on DEV and Code Newbie. I decided the best way to do this was by revisiting older posts I had written and looking at the code I used for projects I had already made.

As 2024 continues, I am still easing my way back into coding and writing. I'm still working towards my career and coding goals. I might not have the best streak on GitHub these days and it has been a long time since I've written a new post here on DEV or CodeNebwie. However, I am not overdoing it as I did in the past, and make sure I set aside time for myself to recharge and avoid burnout.

This year's WeCoded celebration is a reminder to be kind to ourselves.

We are often our own harshest critics. The voices in our heads are always the loudest and the first ones to say something negative once we finish a task or project. When you add that with all the negative things other people say and what is happening in the world today, it can be tough to be positive.

This year all developers need to use this celebration as a way to remind themselves to be nice in how you talk to yourself and focus less on the things you aren't doing or things you are doing wrong. Instead, focus on your accomplishments and what you can do now. Use this time to reflect on how you talk to yourself in certain situations and identify ways you can be nicer to yourself when you do catch yourself having a negative mindset.

Tech is working on being better and embracing equality in the workplace and communities.

Tech isn't 100% to this vision yet. However, the industry knows these issues exist and people are attempting to fix them so tech gets one step closer to being equal for all. Allies can help tech become closer to this goal by reflecting on how they treat other developers and what they say to developers from underrepresented groups.

The best allies in tech always keep in mind what it was like for them when they were starting in tech and how they felt at the beginning. These feelings influence how they talk to other developers and what they share with newbies getting started in tech. These allies treat the developers they interact with the way they would want another developer to treat them if they were getting started in tech.

It can be tough for every ally to 100% understand what every developer has experienced. However, the best allies know this and will acknowledge it. Every developer's journey is different and there are going to be different factors that shape every developer's story so they are all unique.

I encourage all allies during this year's WeCoded celebration to think of a mentor who might have inspired them or another developer who supported you throughout your coding journey. What qualities did this person have? What did this person do? Answering these questions will help you form a blueprint of how you can best be the best ally you can be.

This post was originally published March 1, 2024 on DEV. I made minor changes to the original post for CodeNewbie.

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