Category Archives: Self Improvement

Learning Web Design To Be A Better Developer

I know it’s been quite some time since you have seen my last post. Don’t worry. I did not disappear. I’ve just been consumed with work, and school. In case you were wondering I have not fallen off-track. I am still on my journey into web development. If you follow me on twitter you’ll see I’ve been posting my links to CodePen. I am working on improving my web design skills.

web design

If you navigate to the project section of this blog you’ll see that I have recently started posting my Free Code Camp projects there. I decided to do this to track my progress. And hopefully receive feedback. So, please, feel free to leave a comment.

I will continue posting more projects regardless of whether they are completed or not. So keep an eye out.

In case you are wondering why it has taken me so long to publish what I’ve built, I must confess: I am a bit of perfectionist. It’s terrible really. I did not feel comfortable posting my projects in the past because I am admittedly horrible at design.

Confessing this short coming is actually a relief. It allows me to seek out help and advice from others. And learn from the best. And hopefully it will encourage you to do the same, if you are in my boat. It’s okay to admit what you know or where you need to improve.

You are probably wondering, ‘where is she going with all of this? Does she have a point?’ Am I Right?
Don’t worry. I’m getting there.

It is critical for new developers to become comfortable in all areas of the stack, including design. When you state that you are full-stack, you should be able to fill the shoes of a web designer too.
As a full-stack developer it’s important take a harder line with yourself and develop your design skill in tandem with your programming knowledge.

If you are like me then you are not a horrible designer because of lack of artistic ability or creativity (because I honestly believe we all possess these qualities). Instead, it’s because you chose to only focus on programming, not design.

Focusing solely on programming places you at a disadvantage. It prevents you from learning anything about design beyond basic CSS. Important concepts like typography, color scheme, use of white space, responsiveness and alignment are fundamental elements of good design. Learning these concepts require time and energy and patience to perfect. So let’ dive into it.

In the coming months you will see my project page become fleshed out. I will redesign the web apps that I’ve been hording and post new ones in my project section.

I encourage you to do the same. Please leave a comment with a link to something you have designed and developed.

Never Give Up on Becoming a Developer

I read a quote today and it really hit home for me.

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Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway
~Earl Nightingale

Sometimes it seem like it will take forever to “become a developer”. Especially when comparing oneself to others in the industry. Or when good ole imposter syndrome rears it’s ugly head and self doubt chips away at your confidence.

Now you too may be wondering at what point does one become a developer? Is it after completing 10,000 hours (or 10 years) of practice? Or do you become a developer when you start believing you are.  Can we fake it until we make it?

The answer is all too simple! You will finally become a developer after you convince yourself that you are. Because if you don’t believe in yourself how can you inspire confidence in anyone else?

The truth is as developers we  never quite finish learning. We are lifetime learners. All that’s required is one part passion and one parts dedication. And of course a commitment to keep learning. So when imposter syndrome sets in or when you face a road block in your path just keep going. And remember it’s the journey that’s important not the destination.

The Pomodoro Technique

There is a growing epidemic among us…the disease of procrastination.  We all do it, probably without even realizing it. For some it  has become almost second nature. I  have suffered from this malady on more than one occasion. Handling the tenancy to procrastinate can be quite the feat, but it does not have to be. Realizing why we procrastinate is the first step in treating this affliction.

The list of things we may procrastinate about is endless, but the reason is always the same: We don’t enjoy subjecting ourselves to things we consider unpleasant. The desire to procrastinate is a coping mechanism of our unconscious mind that prevents us from feeling pain. So when we don’t want to do something it’s because our brain associates that task with pain. That said, procrastinators  fall into five different categories:

The thrill-seeker  who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.

“…If you’re a thrill-seeker, then you procrastinate because you actually get a rush from completing things last minute. You feel that you thrive under pressure and you love the adrenaline you get from handing in work in the last possible minute. But are you accomplishing your full potential when you’re spending so little time on your projects?” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog (Follow her on Twitter)

The Avoider

“…Who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog

The Indecisive Procrastinator

“…The Indecisive Procrastinator simply can’t make a decision. Usually, this is a result of the fear they will be blamed for a negative outcome. This type of procrastinator runs away from responsibility. After all, if they’re not making a decision, the result won’t be their fault.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog

The Perfectionist

“…Perfectionists set such high standards for themselves that they become overwhelmed. This type of procrastinator might even get started on work, which the other kinds of procrastinators usually have a hard time doing, but they fail to finish when they can’t meet the unrealistic expectations they set for themselves. 

Because they can’t do something perfectly, then nothing gets done at all. Cue cycle of anxiety and shame.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog

The busy Procratinator

“…Busy procrastinators are just too busy to actually get down to the bottom of their to-do list. Everything seems equally important and they can’t decide what to do first. Choosing only one task would mean that the others won’t get done. Just like in the case of the Perfectionist, the Busy Procrastinator might actually start some of her work, but will fail to finish it. What this type of procrastinator needs is a big dose of prioritizing.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog

Which one are you? Perhaps a combination of all five? The most common type of procrastinator  is the avoider. This little bugger is the voice inside your head with seductive distractions that steer you away from the task at hand. These distractions pulls us into what we call the “comfort zone.” The comfort zone is safe haven away, or retreat, from all unpleasant tasks.

How do we get back in control of ourselves and our time? In comes the Pomodoro Technique, a  time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo (he named his technique after a tomato shaped kitchen timer). The Pomodoro Technique breaks down work into 25 minute intervals with a 5 minute reward period. These breaks are known as “pomodori”,  the plural of the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”.  This method is great if you are a obsessively-compulsive-perfectionist- procrastinator like me. This method works wonders for your productivity!

Sounds pretty rad right? But how do we implement it? Well ladies and gents I present to you the Pomodoro Technique :

 

  1. Identify a task to be accomplished.
  2. Set  your Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings
  4. Take a 5 minute break
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break (10-15 minutes)

How to get started with the Pomodoro Technique:

All you really need is a timer. Any timer will do, a phone, or web app will suffice. I found a neat timer called Tomato Timer. It’s pretty simple and offers desktop notifications (in Chrome only), which is handy little tool for us developers! *Does a happy dance off in the distance*