To give fair warning, this post starts out a little hippyish but I promise this is circuitously related to web development so bear with me. I am currently reading the bestselling book of fiction Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for the first time, which reminded me of her more recent bestselling non-fiction book which I read first and recommend without reservation, Big Magic. In the latter book she talks about being moved as a young adult to perform a kind of personal ceremony of commitment to writing because she felt that she loved writing so much that she wanted to make an official deal with her writing that she would stick with it her whole life, whether it was easy or not. Reading this inspired me so much as I have always been the type of person that was elated about a topic for a few years, then would become disillusioned with it and move on to some new fascination. But my life circumstances and perspective has changed so much that I want a career I can be good at, love, grow with, and most importantly adequately support myself and my family with, because truth be told, this art major and child care provider was flat-out tired of being perpetually poor.
When I officially decided I needed a career change about a year ago, I knew I wanted to change to something that I could actually stick with for the rest of my life. The idea of doing web development first came into my mind when I was reading a Mr. Money Mustache blog called Ridiculous Student Loans Vs. The Future of Education, in which he conducted an interview with Treehouse founder Ryan Carson, who claimed he could train people to be web developers for inconceivably little cost. After much time dabbling, doing extensive research online and interviewing people about web development, I finally decided I wanted to do it myself. I felt I really needed to commit to it in a similar way so that I would not give up when it got hard. So I made a little deal with myself in an admittedly less ceremoniously than the way Elizabeth Gilbert made to her writing (though it was an OFFICIAL commitment nonetheless).
So back to this post. I was inspired to write this post from a deep yearning to be more disciplined in my learning. I’ve been listening to various podcasts in my spare time, and can’t help but being surprised by how often Dain Miller makes use of military references in his web development podcast called Start Here FM. Also with my husband being an infantry soldier and shouting the infantryman’s creed in a startlingly loud drill sergeant’s voice, I can’t help but be a little jealous of his purpose and conviction in his work. So I decided to write a web developer’s creed as a sort of mantra; a composed amalgamation of motivational phrases and common bits of wisdom I’ve picked up from my learning thus far. Here it is:
I am a Web Development Professional.
I build tools that provide excellent solutions to problems.
I have concrete goals and take steps to achieve them.
I consistently attend meet-ups, talks and events.
I program every day.
I identify my weaknesses, and ruthlessly practice until they are destroyed.
I stay current on new technologies.
I write semantically correct code.
I run unit tests.
I don’t hesitate to ask for help when I need it.
I hold myself accountable for my contributions to the project.
I add value to my team.
I always ask for feedback on my work.
I implement advice given from senior engineers.
I don’t turn from difficult challenges, I seek them out.
I work through my fear.
I appreciate the unique perspectives of others.
I continually build connections and reach out to my contacts.
I am poised and ready for new opportunities; I keep my resume and portfolio updated with my best work.
I embrace diversity and work to make tech more welcoming and accessible to all.
I help new developers.
I use my advanced skills to benefit society.
I know what I’m worth and insist on a fair wage as well as a sustainable work/life balance.
I recognize my strengths and celebrate my achievements.
I know my definition of success and move closer to it every day.
I never stop learning.
I never quit.
There it is- though I may edit it in the future.
by the way: if this is more intimidating than inspiring, just think of it as a list of things to strive for 🙂
Feel free to share and also I encourage you to comment and let me know what you think.