Never Stop Shipping
Going to one of top high schools and colleges in Illinois in terms of technology curriculum, I’ve been very lucky to have so many classmates who are not only interested in the same areas I’m interested in, but also are very talented at it. However, for all the great talent that’s out there, I am not seeing all of it.
One issue I see is that those who may be really talented choose to keep their ideas/code/product secret instead of publish it to the world. With tools like Github available, one of the best actions a young developer can take is to publish all their code on the web. It is a very empowering feeling when you can work on something that you show to the world (and being proud of what you’ve accomplished is a nice bonus). Companies are even starting to replace resumes with Github profiles.
The other pressing issue is that those who want to get better aren’t putting enough effort in. Let’s say you want to get better at manipulating a webpage with CSS. You’ve learned all the basic tags and now are trying to make some more advanced designs using transitions, shadows, etc. In a very fast-moving landscape such as CSS - especially when you have to deal with browser compatibility - practicing once a week is not enough.
There are Chrome and Firefox versions being released every month (or even shorter than that) and what you learned one week may not be supported anymore in the next. if you want to stay on top of things you must practice every day. When I was on the swim team in high school, we had practices 6 days a week. I only went to them 5 days a week, and sometimes had to skip even more. My performance suffered. To make progress I had to practice every day, and at the end of each one I needed something to show for my work. Yards, seconds, etc.
If you really want to get better at anything, you need to do it every day. And you need something to show for it, to publish - some record of progress: lines of code, a screenshot, stats, a few words. So build something every day - “Stay Focused & Keep Shipping” as the poster on my wall says. The scope of human accomplishment is mind-boggling.
I hate it when people say I’m a computer “genius” or a technology/Internet “god”. It’s not genius. And I’m not a deity no matter how many times you call me one. It’s almost 8 years of putting in consistent work, searching the web every day, coding until my wrists hurt, and fixing broken tech more than I can count. If you put in as much work as I put in, you’d be as good as I am.
Now go forth and Never. Stop. Shipping.
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