Afoma Orji
Afoma Orji's Blog

Afoma Orji's Blog

On Becoming

On Becoming

The Shedding And Gaining In My Journey Of Web Development

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Afoma Orji

Published on Oct 9, 2021

8 min read

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I had to choose the name " On Becoming " as the topic because the journey hasn't ended, the journey is still in continuity.

Remembering certain mistakes makes me feel bad about myself but reassuring myself to keep moving and look on the bright side of life gives me the courage and strength to keep pushing it. Without further ado, I would dive into the methods that are proving helpful in my web development journey.


Vulnerability is not equal to spinelessness

The old me used to hide in a shell and couldn't bring myself to opening up to people, whether it meant allowing you to see my code or asking questions when I was in doubt, the old me would never do any of these things. All thanks to changing my mindset, exposing myself regardless of my struggles, fears, doubts, and, weaknesses as a developer has helped me tremendously. Quite alright, there are mean people who might want to take advantage of people's weaknesses to shine, but being vulnerable has made me know those to weed out and those to stick with. Now I just wonder why I didn't do this in the past.


Believing I can do this

On many occasions, I feel like quitting, and feel like an impostor, especially when I'm stuck with debugging my code, or because I haven't yet found a job, or when I see that I still have a lot to cover. It makes me tell myself sometimes, " this wasn't meant for you ", " are you sure you are meant to be doing this ", or " stop deceiving yourself ". Thanks to positivity books like The Secret, I changed my mindset and started using positive and reassuring words to myself. Ever since I started doing this, my resolve has been strengthened like never before.


No time to be stuck

Before, whenever I had issues with debugging my code or had difficulties with understanding certain concepts that I was studying, I would try for long hours, days, weeks, and, even months, to unstuck myself from the situation because I felt that it would make me learn better. Quite alright, there was always this feeling of satisfaction that came with finally solving a complex problem that gave me a tough time, but ever since I started practicing this method, and giving those problems a maximum of a shot for 1 hour, and then reaching out to somebody for help if I couldn't fix it within that time frame, my productivity sky-rocketed and I had time to move to the next task.


Not comparing myself to others

This almost wrecked me for good. Going to Twitter, I saw developers who were far younger, more advanced in their skills than I, and who had already landed wonderful jobs in tech, I started feeling discouraged. I started to think that I was already too late for the party. But when I stopped comparing myself to other people, it felt like a heavy load was lifted off me. Now, I only see people as people I can learn from and that I'm not in competition with anybody. I can't be more glad to have come out of that dark tunnel.


Taking one step at a time

Going to Twitter, one might go crazy if one is not careful, by the time one would be seeing Tweets telling you all the JavaScript frameworks, languages, and, tools to learn before the end of the year. I started avoiding this problem by clearly writing the things I wanted to learn so that I wouldn't be overwhelmed with the stress of not knowing where to start from, and if at all I wanted to digress just a little, having the list would help me to add just one or two goals to the list without going completely off course.


Seeing tech tweeting and posting as journaling

I was once caught in the web of ONLY trying to gain followers, and would be wasting time only shouting out popular Twitter handles so that they would follow me back, without learning anything and adding value to the community. Can you imagine ๐Ÿ˜‚? Seeing tech tweeter as journaling removed the burden of shallowly trying to impress people without learning anything on my own end and creating value for the community.


Associating with only positive and supportive people on social media

I had to be intentional about the type of energy I allowed into my space. I am more active on LinkedIn and Twitter, and I have to be honest about the good this did to me. On Twitter, some people spread positivity and hope, others, negativity, and hopelessness.

On Twitter and LinkedIn, nobody spread hope and positivity like Danny Thompson, just when I was already so down when I was under the shadow of hopelessness, Danny's posts gave me hope, his posts resonated with me because I could relate with them, acknowledging his imperfections, his rising in the tech industry even without coming from a computer science background, how he grew on Twitter and LinkedIn, and, his constant messages of hope, and always taking delight in helping people.

People like Catalin Pit were extremely helpful to me because he was real, he knew what burnout meant, and emphasized the importance of working for a company that saw the employee as a person with dignity and one who had a life, it gave me hope to know that there were companies with an employee-friendly culture. Amazing people like Favourite Jome were always there for me, to answer my questions, and, Ayodele Samuel Adebayo was very helpful to me too.


Consistency

I had to be careful when I was including this in my list because I wanted to make it easier for me to keep up with. To make this method of being consistent easy for myself, I made it clear to myself that giving in 15 minutes to my task today was equivalent to the 2 hours I gave in last week along as long as I showed up every day. This way, coding, and writing became fun for me, they didn't feel like tasks anymore.


Being kind to myself

I had disappointed myself many times in the past, on my journey to web development, but learning to forgive and be kind to myself, and learning that mistakes are not fatal made it easier. I always tell myself to say those kind and soothing words I would have said if somebody were to come to me for advice.


Learning and building in public

I always see the amazing benefits this has caused in the lives of people who follow this rule. Last year, when I started frequenting my visits to tech Twitter and LinkedIn, but then I was intimidated by the guts some developers had - that of writing and sharing their knowledge and journey on Twitter and LinkedIn.

I was wrong to think that one must be advanced in tech to be able to share one's journey or knowledge. It was later that I discovered that some of those people were actually learning and building in public, they didn't wait till they knew it all before they started learning and building in public.

On the other hand, I have heard and seen many people in tech who don't build or learn in public make derogatory comments about those who build and learn in public, comments that portray those public learners and builders as people who are only intelligent in social media, but not in real life. To address this derogatory comment, I would refer us to Shawn Wang's article on Learning and Building in Public.

One of the good things I have noticed from learning and building in public is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone, to learn more because of the attention you have brought upon yourself, it challenges you to be consistent, and to top it up when you have many followers you have to never disappoint those people that believed in you enough to follow you, but to keep growing and giving value and to keep encouraging them in their path by not giving up in your path.

I created a new Twitter handle a month ago, and I can only say that I wish I started doing this earlier. However, it is not too late, and with the experience that I have had from the past when practicing this, I always remember to see tech tweeting and posting as journaling and not a mere hunt for followers.


Lifestyle changes

Eating and sleeping well, exercising, and occasionally indulging in some distractions like watching movies, giving myself an eating-out treat, swimming lessons, engaging in conversations with my family members and close friends is helping me tremendously.

I used to feel guilty for wanting to have a good night's sleep and for loving food, so I cut down on my sleeping and eating patterns. Not eating and sleeping well made me have a terrible burnout that took months to get over. Now I make sure to have a good night's sleep and eat good food.

I've learned that everybody needs exercise and that it unclogs the brain of things that can slow its performance. It also supplies oxygen to the brain and releases the feel-good hormone called Dopamine. Exercise makes me feel alive, and gives me that feeling of having a new brain and looking at problems with fresh eyes.


Thank you very much for reading up to this point, I know the article is quite long. I hope you had a nice read.

I would be happy for you to connect with me on Twitter @afoma_orji and on LinkedIn.

Do have a nice day ๐Ÿ˜Š.

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