April 25, 2022

Dealing With Imposter Syndrome In Tech (I Don't Have Good News For You...)


IMPOSTER SYNDROME is everywhere. You cannot hide from it. You will experience it at some point. I invited on a few people to talk through some of their own experiences with imposter syndrome as they were trying to become developers (or focus on data). If you feel like you just aren't capable of becoming a developer, I PROMISE you that you're not alone. Hopefully, there's a story or piece of wisdom here that'll resonate with you.

Russell Anderson (guest):
Twitter - https://mobile.twitter.com/russbot250
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/russell-anderson-5201a7159

Eric Jiang (guest):
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-jiang-855a16107

Sydney Romero (guest):
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sydney-romero

---------------------------------------------------

►►  Connect with me everywhere (socials) - https://linktr.ee/donthedeveloper

🔥  Want more personalized help from me? Here are the paid mentorship and review services I offer:
https://calendly.com/donthedeveloper

❤️  If you find my content helpful, please consider supporting me by becoming a channel member and get access to additional perks. Every little contribution helps and is actually used to pay my bills.
https://www.patreon.com/donthedeveloper

---------------------------------------------------

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

📚  Web development books and other products I recommend:
https://www.amazon.com/shop/donthedeveloper

Transcript

Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another web development podcast episode, where we help aspiring developers get jabs and junior developers grow. I have lost count of the number of people struggling with imposter syndrome, trying to become a developer. I would argue like everyone that comes into my chat, my live streams, my podcasts episodes, you've all faced it. And if you're saying you haven't faced it, you're kind of full of crap. Like we've all faced those bombs. Try to become a developer. No one goes through an easy path entirely. So I kind of want to shed some lights on. For developers right here that have gone through some bumps in the road, trying to become a developer. It's not an easy path. And I kind of would, uh, you know, make this a bit more personal, dive into things a bit, and hopefully you can find this relatable by the end of the episode. Maybe we can leave you with some advice going forward. So I brought these fine gentlemen on my podcast. We reviewed coding temple, um, in the previous episode, maybe two previous episodes, but I brought him back. Uh, great vibe. So we're going to jump, I guess, you know, it let's go ahead and do our intros. We'll do like 32nd intro. Introduce yourself for those that have not seen the previous episode. We'll start with the Russell.

Russell Anderson:

All right. I'm Russell Anderson. I'm 40 years old. I live in the Southeastern United States. I've been a developer. Ooh, Ooh, six months now. Um, then a bumpy road, but, but, but a good one.

Eric Jiang:

Um, my name's Eric Jane. Uh, I

Don Hansen:

I've been a developer for almost a year now. Uh,

Eric Jiang:

that's pretty much it, nothing new going on.

Don Hansen:

Okay, cool. How about you Sydney?

Sydney Romero:

Yeah, I'm Sydney. I live in the Midwest, uh, around Milwaukee and, uh, not a developer, but mostly work in the data science field data analyst field. And, uh, as well from coding, temple graduated was part of that August cohort.

Eric Jiang:

Alright,

Don Hansen:

cool. Alright. So let's jump into the media things. Um, I'm going to share a few things and you know, if you've watched my live streams, you're going to hear a few things I've talked about in the past, but I want to share a few bumps in the road that I've hit. Uh, Because I, there were so many points where I felt like I wasn't going to become a developer. In fact, like I went through, am I even going to be successful in life? Right. I was faced with this decision of it's taking a long ass time to become a developer there's local mills. Right. I know people in the mills, I might just need a job to be able to pay the rent. So I stop hopping from home to home, try to afford rent. Right. That was the situation I was at when I was becoming an adult. I almost gave up. I truly did. I was picking up part-time jobs. Um, I just, I got lost. And, uh, for those that don't know, actually went to coding bootcamp at the end of that journey, it was like, okay, you know, what if I can't become a developer within like four or five months is so like, I really have to choose a different path at this point. I've invested way too much time into it. I remember going. I was surrounded by people, multiple peoples that had like computer science degrees and they were knocking data structures and algorithms problems out of the park. I'm sitting here struggling feeling so stupid. Like, so I'm like, how am I surrounded by all these people? Like, I just, I can't get it. Does my brain network like that? Is it not fast enough? And like, Man. I, I remember like second week in my train got stopped because I would take the train and commute was like two hours into Chicago, two hours out. And I would take the train into Fullstack academy and I got stuck and trucks got frozen. I was stuck there for like six hours. I was already struggling. I missed a little bit of class and I was already falling behind our member. Talking to, um, the director at the time, like, you know, is this even the right fit to continue this? Like I'm already, like, it was kinda just like, it felt like a sign for me to just give up and. I'm glad I didn't, I didn't. And I went to school the next day, but that was the moment that I almost just completely gave up on my journey of becoming a developer and that confidence, the thing is like, I didn't, I didn't think or do anything to like move me past that moment. I just kept going through. And that confidence didn't even come for like a year later into being an actual professional developer. Like I struggled all the way through a coding bootcamp and becoming a developer with like no confidence whatsoever. Um, man, I just, I came so close to giving up and when I talked to so many aspiring developers there they're in the same path. Right. Everyone has their different story. They have their different challenges. Um, I, I don't, I don't really have the secret to like, get past that imposter syndrome. Right. And for me, it's like, even when I give people that advice, it's it's, you have to just keep moving forward that a confidence will eventually come. You have to trust the process. Um, so like I don't have this formula. The secret to get past imposter syndrome is just literally continue moving forward, gaining more accomplishments until you slowly build up that confidence. But you know, that's sometimes I sell my journey is like an easy road to becoming a developer. It's not, it was a Rocky one. I took like two years, three months to become a developer. I finally got that first position, but that's kind of my journey. Um, I want to hear your journeys. Tell me, you know, share some of the, the bumpy parts of that journey for you.

Russell Anderson:

Well, for me, I mean, as a career change, I think, you know, one thing it's easy to lose sight of what success actually looks like. Um, it doesn't matter what you're doing for work in this country, your, your, your personal viewpoint of success. It could be drastically different than somebody else's. So it doesn't matter how much money you're making. It doesn't matter really. Um, really your stanchion in life. You know, you get satisfaction of it. If you go home and you're home. You know, you can make you make a good life. And, you know, that's one of the reasons why I chose software engineering, even though that wasn't my initial reason. And I came to that because of how difficult it is. Um, you're not necessarily going to have easy days as, as, as some of us do in some of our professions. And what I mean by an easy day is a day you just show up and you really don't do anything. You're not challenged in any shape, way, shape, or form. And the actual process of becoming a software engineer is the same. And I've had that process too. Um, imposter syndrome, um, unsure yourself. Uh, there's a lot of emotions and thoughts that go along with it, um, pushing through is really the only way, but, um, just like Don said, there's no right answer. Um, I know for me, uh, failing at the live interview has been new and it's been tough. I'm not accustomed to not looking good in front of people that I'm trying to get a job. It's hard to adjust to. Um, and I'll share a little bit more, a little bit later, but, but why don't, you know, we all, we all go through tough times. Um, w what I, what I have found in my personal journey, as far as this. There's been more, there's been a lot of dark days, but it hasn't necessarily been dark outside. It's just been dark inside. You still see the sunlight too. It's kind of weird. Kind of strange. How about you guys?

Don Hansen:

I guess I

Eric Jiang:

would add on, on the topic of imposter syndrome, uh, my journey has been, um, you know, also. Uh, coming from mechanical engineering background to a software engineering camp. Um, you know, there were days when, you know, I've broken down, right. There are days where it's like, damn, you know, why am I doing. Why not just, you know, switch to a different bootcamp would do something completely different something else. Right. When I just go to work at McDonald's, you know, as long as I'm paying the rent, you know, what am I upset about? Uh, but I, I, I think ultimately it's important, very important to have a very good support

Don Hansen:

system. Like I had my friends

Eric Jiang:

who had my back during that time. Right. I'm not going to lie. I have cried during. Uh, the, the duration of the bootcamp, but it was my friends and also my colleagues

Russell Anderson:

throughout the cold war

Eric Jiang:

that supported me that I'm able to continue my journey to this point. Um, and I wouldn't say probably the best lesson I've learned thus far is the connections you've made

Don Hansen:

with people in life.

Eric Jiang:

There are going to be a lot of people. They're all gone. They're all going to be your supporters. You know, they all have

Don Hansen:

faith in you.

Eric Jiang:

It, it ultimately comes down to if you have faith in yourself, but when you, when you struggled to believe in yourself, you know, reach, reach out to your friends, reach out to family

Don Hansen:

members.

Russell Anderson:

Yeah.

Sydney Romero:

I feel that so much. Um, yeah. From, from my side and maybe even going as to why I decided to go to the bootcamp, I think it was because I felt like an imposter to begin with. Um, I didn't go forward to become a full stack developer, but to, um, enhance it. And put my, my data technical skills on steroids. Um, I was a data analyst, but it didn't feel like one, the technical maturity stack that I had at best was Excel, Google sheets, and a couple of G suite API APIs, but that's not really using any technical skills. So for me, it was, um, I feel like an imposter because I look at other people that are data analysts at other roles at other companies, and they have, they have a stack and they can talk sequel and Python and all these amazing language. And they know what it means. Um, so I think for me, it was because of imposter syndrome. I wanted to get rid of it. Um, but then I ended up having a different kind of imposter syndrome where it's like, I'm uncomfortable, but that's kind of a good thing, but I felt that I didn't belong, but it was I think, because I want, I don't feel that I belonged. Um, but that was a good thing because it means I was not comfortable. Yeah. You know, the opposite of imposter syndrome would be, uh, not growing, just being static, doing nothing you're not growing. So I think feeling uncomfortable and feeling like an imposter is a good hit. It's a good thing in a weird when

Don Hansen:

you know, that's, that's interesting. So I heard a phrase a long time ago. Um, if you, if you kind of have a feeling, if you kind of have a gut feeling or an idea you're supposed to do something and you're afraid of doing it. But you have a couple options in front of you and this one is a bit easier, not so afraid. You know, it was probably more achievable. You absolutely should tackle what you're afraid of specifically. Like you, you gotta weigh, like what's actually going to give you the most value, but like that lesson essentially is like, you have to kind of charge forward into those uncomfortable situations. And you, like you said, you can use that imposter syndrome. You can like it's, it's a double-edged sword. It can be debilitating and it can fuel you. And sometimes, I mean, maybe this is unhealthy, but for me it's like, man, I'm not doing good enough. Like, I can achieve a lot more. I can accomplish a lot more and like, Having that constant nagging feeling of I'm not doing enough and I'm always critical. And I know I could achieve more. It's like, that's been very stressful in my life and that's part of who I am and my personality, but that literally is my driver. If I erase that I don't have a drive anymore. Right. So it's a double-edged sword that you have. I have to balance and you know, whether that's super healthy or not, maybe it is maybe it isn't, but like a common thing I hear with a lot of people is, you know, that can be a little bit of a fire into your, but it can't be that motivation, but how do you balance it and not completely burnout,

Sydney Romero:

completely agree. You can't have your cake and eat it too. There's the anxiety and stress part of it. But then I lost the fire in my belly. So.

Russell Anderson:

But, you know, just like anything, you have to learn how to be successful. So in this process, you're, you know, you're learning something new. Um, you don't know what that's gonna look like when you get to the end of the tunnel. So you don't know. So you really don't know what success is going to look like. So, you know, as to what you say, Don, about imposter syndrome, driving you in and creating a fire on you. That's what it's really done for me while. The first month and a half, it paralyzed me. I'll be honest. It completely paralyze me. And there's many jobs houses like that. I'm not even apply to that because you know what? I know that they won't even, they won't even take a look at me, but after I, after I fell on my face a few times, I started to sit back and be like, you know what? It really doesn't matter how I feel. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. So, you know, let's go do something. If you don't, if you're too scared to do this, let's go do something else. You know, I think it's part of how you look at it, but also, you know, um, I have that same fire as you do Dawn, you know, there's been times over my life where I've switched up because I didn't think I do it enough. I wasn't happy with the amount that I was doing, whether it was right or wrong in the moment, it was irrelevant to me in my head. I just wasn't doing it. So, you know, I think it's a beautiful thing. This is one of those beautiful things where if you work hard at it, it doesn't matter how well or how bad it went. Do you work hard at it and get to a point where you see the results and you can see success and what you've done. Boy, that's sweet. And I know for all of us, as you get older, those, those chances or those opportunities become more, uh, fewer and far between. And so you got to jump on it when you got a chance.

Don Hansen:

I like the that's some wisdom right there. Um, you mentioned this idea, so. I guess I'm kind of curious what you guys think. I think it's crucial that you know, the direction you want to head in, in life. Right. And I feel like having that, even that long-term vision can be very, very helpful and sometimes it's even defined, like you said, as, um, what success looks like to you as you mentioned, Russell. Um, and it can be a little bit more short term. Right? What, what does success look like? Going into this coding boot camp. What does success look like? You know, trying to become a developer, or why am I even getting into tech in the first place? And you know, maybe it is like Russell, you felt like, you know, in some previous industries you weren't really challenged enough and you're like, I'm not doing enough. I don't know what it is, but like I got to do something else. Right. And you had that urge. Um, but do you do all of you feel like you have like a solid vision of like where you even want to be in five years? I would say, um, this actually came up in a few interviews. I've

Eric Jiang:

had, um, you know, my interviewer always asked, you know, where do you see yourself in five years? And my immediate

Don Hansen:

responsibility, the CEO of Google, uh, I feel like, but

Eric Jiang:

honestly speaking, I think roadmap wise, um, five years down the line, you

Russell Anderson:

know,

Don Hansen:

It's not certain

Eric Jiang:

right. There's things are gonna come up, right. Everybody's life is different. Um, and I think that's, what's exciting about life, right? You're never certain about what you want to do, but as long as you, like Russell, say, as long as you get that reward at the end of the tunnel,

Don Hansen:

you feel satisfied. You feel like you've accomplished something in life. And I think that's pretty much what everybody strives for. And every year, I mean, you laughed after you said it, but a lot of, a lot of very successful rich founders had a vision where people also laughed at. You know what I mean? And I think the difference is it's like, you know, of course you have to build like habits, like goals and habits. And like I'll even a lot of founders go through a lot of rituals in the morning to just even reinforce what they appreciate, you know, and really, uh, internalize that vision. I mean, everyone's going to have different strategies, but also there's tons of substance to get to that point. No one that was very successful. Didn't hasn't been laughed at before for their crazy, crazy vision. And I think, um, I mean, I kind of have that goal financially revenue wise, and I find that the higher, I set that goal. As long as I break down that goal into, uh, tons of, uh, smaller goals, break it down like a year, six months, three months, one month, every week, I feel like I definitely achieved my revenue goals, um, faster than if I set that goal a little bit less. That's just one thing I've noticed in myself. And I think it's just an interest. Phenomenon. And I could see that as long as you take the action and actually map it out to get there. I do think people end up further.

Russell Anderson:

So I think that's, yeah, I mean, I, I have a five-year plan. Um, I think it's important. I don't think it's important for everybody, but I do think it's important for some point at some point, it just, depending on what you're trying to do, I know with me personally, I had some things happening with family a few years ago that really, I wasn't really, I didn't really have a plan other than trying to get a vacation every year. And then with family members getting ill and understanding that I was going to have to take a larger role in being responsible around the house that I wasn't accustomed to. I knew that I was going to have to make changes in order to do. Um, I didn't end up in the software engineering because of that. Um, because of my plan, I ended up in software engineering. Well, initially it was financial, uh, why it was financially motivated. Um, it has become more of a physical, mental challenge in my eyes and more of a try to be better every day for me. Um, and the, hopefully the financial award will come at the end, but, um, I think everybody's different, but I think at the same time, Um, especially with this, if you're, if you're changing careers into software engineering, you need to have a plan and you need to have a vision about what you're going to do and how you're going to get there. Um, whether you want to call it a two-year five-year ten-year plan, you need to have something going, because it's really, really hard to get yourself off the ground. If you don't have a vision in which to get there, just because it's not that as a closed door industry, but with the newbies and especially somebody who's not familiar with, with software. You're going to have a hard time busting down doors. So you have to have, you have to have a plan in which, in which to get in those rooms. Yeah.

Sydney Romero:

Yeah. I don't want to beat that horse to death, but I do agree on that roadmap of, um, I think having that intent as well for me, Uh, it took some time off from my last job. And I think being unemployed by design was one of the best things possible. I mean, sure. I'll still do a couple of gigs freelance to some, to some extent, but I think having that ambition and. Can sometimes be a blind drive and then it's just a rabbit drive towards the next role, the next job, but without a roadmap. So I think for me, what my mentor mentioned is like, Hey, you need to take some time off. You're very ambitious, but that may be part of your bottleneck. To have a laser focus of what you want to do. And even if you shoot straight to that line, the scope like might move a little bit, but you're still shooting in the same way. Give yourself some flexibility and a range of where, where you're going to end up with that target. It's not going to be, it's going to be a little bit more accurate, but it's instead of. Spray and pray where you, you may not know what's actually going to be shot. And so yeah, definitely would recommend exactly what the, both of you said, creating that roadmap and making it into digestible goals. Um, otherwise you're going to try to tackle everything at the same time when you're back to square one

Don Hansen:

and you get that lasting that you just said, and I think that's what people feel. They, they kind of have. A narrow vision or they perceived themselves to have a narrow vision of becoming a developer. But the actual reality of how they feel is they're feeling like they're tackling everything there they're feeling like. And I think that feeling becomes very overwhelming and I think you can alleviate some of that. Overwhelming feeling by narrowing it down. And maybe it, maybe it isn't just like writing goals down and breaking that down, but maybe it is just trying to solidify what, where you even want to be in one to two years. Right. Maybe that's just a start and trying to visualize it. I, I just, um, you know, I'm, I'm a sucker for, I, I'm constantly watching YouTube videos and audio books on like productivity and just like mindset. And I feel like I used to, when I would listen or watch this kind of stuff, I'm like, this is bullshit. Like all of this, they're just trying to sell courses. They're just trying to, you know, like get me into some kind of funnel and a lot of Mar I'm not going to lie. A lot of them are. There's I, but when you start hearing multiple, you can call them gurus mentors or people that are just successful entrepreneurs. When you start, like I'm telling you entrepreneurs, if you want to solidify really strong habits in a mindset, entrepreneurs had to overcome that. That is like the number one thing to be successful as an entrepreneur. And you start seeing like common patterns across all of these entrepreneurs and yeah, some of them are trying to sell courses, but you hear the same advice enough over and over and over. It's like, Maybe some of it worked right. And so I'm going to try it myself. I'm going to implement it myself. And I feel like man vision and just planning that out and even just like, and if you feel overwhelmed, breaking that down into smaller and smaller goals that are achievable. Even if it's not super accurate, you can kind of just see how things are going on in life and you can be flexible too. Right? You can, you could start for three months, like I'm going to go through, um, I don't know, I'm going to do free code camp and then maybe like Treehouse or something like that, whatever course you choose. And then, I don't know, you have to wash the kids an extra five hours a week or something like that. Or it's like maybe Treehouse they're full time program. I think I chose the wrong program for this, because I think they are flexible, but like your course, all of a sudden, like it was full-time now you gotta break it back to part-time and you, you can adjust your lifestyle and how you actually get to that goal. And I think you should be flexible. It shouldn't be incredibly rigid where you can adjust things, but if you're not even starting with that vision, Like you said, it's a lot of people are ambitious Sydney, but there's a lot of blind ambition in that very rarely leads you into what you're you think you want to achieve at an efficient rate? You're all over the place. Very often. Just trying to figure out what to do. I got to, I got to push forward. I just don't know exactly how to do it. Yeah. I just, I think this kind of thing is interesting. So.

Eric Jiang:

I'm sorry. I want to add one more thing. I feel like this idea mindset

Don Hansen:

can also be applied to, you know,

Eric Jiang:

people who are practicing for coding interviews. Right? Uh, a lot of people I myself are included in it, um, upon graduating, right. We know

Don Hansen:

data structure, right? We just need to practice a few problems

Eric Jiang:

and then tackle the interview. But a lot of people don't realize that the roadmap you need to create that roadmap, right. You need to do sit down and write, okay, what data structures do I need to practice for one week, two weeks, you know, for the whole month, um, that way you're more prepped for when the interview happens, instead of just, you know, blindly looking for a couple of interview questions, coding challenges, and then, you know, blindly going into an interview

Don Hansen:

with. Yeah.

Sydney Romero:

And just to maybe so, so I don't want thing that always bugs me too about roadmaps and plans is that they're great until they're not where they're not flexible enough because it's not according to the plan. So definitely want to readjust to like that laser focus you were moving from, like maybe things that don't. How that can remove the blind ambition, but flexible enough where he could still readjust and reevaluate your own roadmap. Otherwise, again, it's kind of like almost blind roadmap icon it's on the roadmap. I can't do anything else because that's what it says. So I think Eric, you called it out already, I think beforehand. So yeah, just wanted to adjust that doesn't know and follows my bad advice.

Don Hansen:

No, I liked it. Um, well let's pretend you guys didn't go through. A huge struggle with a lot of people is how do I know I'm improving as a software engineer? Like, what were those moments where you felt like, oh, cool. Like, I didn't know that a few, few weeks ago, or like, I like, my code is it's better quality now. Like w like, whatever that means, what were those moments for you guys? When I pressed a what the

Eric Jiang:

play, where wonky and the code runs

Don Hansen:

flawlessly, no errors, no bugs.

Russell Anderson:

Okay. Well, I mean, being able to recognize actually what code is saying. And so it was a good little period where eat then matter what it was. It just looked like gibberish to me. And because I was because I had certain little buds things memorized, I could get. But especially with JavaScript. Um, JavaScript's one of those real elegant, if you can read it, um, and read it the right way as well. And so once, once I can start reading it and that of light started coming on and that's when I really started to be like, okay, now, now I'm starting to understand this a little better. And then. Software engineering. There's a functional understanding. There's a technical understanding. There's a, uh, abstract understanding. There's a whole lot of different levels that you can get by in certain conversations. But, you know, um, once you can actually talk about what you're doing and actually talk about it intelligently and every little aspect of it, that's when you know, you're on the right path.

Don Hansen:

I like once you. Explain it to someone that's not as technical as you as well. And break that down. That's a really hard challenge to de.

Sydney Romero:

I'm glad that you brought up the abstract part of it, Russell. I completely agree with it. I think, um, at least from the data side, it can be a little bit different. It's still the same, usually the same functions, the same systems thinking and logic. But I think when I was able to basically put a. There's this abstract idea of what to do with data. Once I started creating workflows and pipelines and processes, and I was like, oh my God, I actually get it. I can now put it into a way of working versus it was just a tool or a formula or a language. Now I can use it as part of a process that is now a tool, not just a language. Um, so breaking down that abstract into something that's digestible, and then you could explain it to someone else. It's part of a process. Now it's easier.

Russell Anderson:

Yeah, I hope so.

Eric Jiang:

Absolutely. I'm sorry. I absolutely agree with Sydney too. I just wanted to add that. Um, for me, uh, during the time, right? I know a lot of people say you need to have the mindset for coding, right. Need to develop that mindset. Um, and at the

Don Hansen:

time I didn't quite understand what they're talking.

Eric Jiang:

But through like

Don Hansen:

practice,

Eric Jiang:

you know, a lot of experimentations, you start to realize, oh, you can visualize what the code should look like. You can visualize what the coach should do. And I feel like for any software engineering, that's a very big,

Russell Anderson:

uh, role to have, but I'll also talk about imposter syndrome and kind of reeling it back into what we're talking about now. I think that's, what's hard to do. When you start this process, you start this process. And, um, even if you're not, uh, it doesn't matter how you start. Like even when you're watching tutorials that guy's smarter than you, he knows way more than you do. And he's telling you how to do something and he's teaching you and you feel good about it. And then you get in a room with people who really done it. Now, all of a sudden, the game changed because you recognize what they're talking about, but you really can't participate in the conversation. And so we have to be easy on ourselves because it's all about. Like 20 years ago when I was a cook and I was running around this five-star resort, you know, not knowing anything, I was just working hard to look like. I knew what I was. Yeah, I didn't have the capacity really to learn how to be a great cook at that point. I was just trying to follow along with everybody else. You know, sometimes we forget what it was like to be young and not knowing anything. And we put pressure on ourselves and you know, one of the reasons, even though in my new job, learning Java has been, it's been tricky. It hasn't been as hard as, as six months ago, but it's been tricky. And you know, one thing is I'm starting to enjoy getting myself. And you know, that wasn't really the case a few months ago when I was imposter syndrome, every time I get an error, I start freaking out because it's like, well, if I can't fix, this is never going to get this afternoon. We're going to be dead now because I'm never going to get past it. So, you know, there's a process as it it's, it's, it's painful and beautiful at the same time. And you know, we've got to embrace it because, you know, uh, you know, it's kind of like being a kid again in some small way, just because even though you still have to deal with your life as an adult, you get to enjoy these small victories. Um, that you just don't, that you just don't as an adult sometimes. So, you know, and, and you know, the imposter syndrome, it's, it's painful and it's painful when it's happening, but there's bleeding moments where you can actually look at and be like, man, I was going to kind of be silly. I,

Don Hansen:

um, any of you ever just kind of like, not necessarily use it as an escape, but kind of just get lost in coding and like really get entrenched in it. Has anyone not experienced that?

Russell Anderson:

I've experienced it. I've, I've experienced it. And then I try to be careful with it because you can get tunnel vision sometimes, especially when you, especially when you're in a groove and you hit and you hit a problem and you know, the problem isn't hard to overcome, but it's just taking longer to get to where you need to go. So, um, and that's one of the reasons that's really, uh, lit my fire for coding is just that, that aspect of. Um, being able to solve problems, um, not necessarily in a direct way, you know, not brute force, you got to find a way to do it. So everything is still working and, and, uh, you know, I would hope that everybody had that moment, but if you did it so far, it's, it's coming, it's coming. It does. If you're going to do this professionally, it's common. You're going to get to a place where, where you just can't, you can't not look away from the screen.

Don Hansen:

So I want to elaborate on what you're saying, Russell. And kind of, I guess, on what I'm saying to a lot of software engineers do experience it in the beginning. A lot of. Many don't and they're like, well, is it for me? Because they hear other software engineers talking about kind of just getting lost in the code spending hours and like, oh my God, I got to eat. Oh my God, I gotta go to sleep. Right. And some people are it's like those three hours. They don't fly by there. This sucks. I hate this and I'm going in the next file, trying to debug this. I hate this. I hate this. Right. And I think, um, you said something really important. I, I like it. Um, because when you look back on it, it is kind of silly, especially when you're being critical of yourself over nothing. But like, if you, I mean, thinking back to like when we were children, when the pressure was a bit less and we didn't have all these responsibilities, it's like, you. Dive into coding with that mindset. And I think that's, um, it's a very, very unique thing that not a lot of industries offer and the way the types of challenges that you're tackling, you can kind of get really excited, like you used to as a child and like tackling a new challenge and you weren't super critical. Like, oh my God, I'm gonna fail it. It's like, I just want to do something fun. Right. And like learning to have fun with coding is so. Like once you can start achieving that. It's so crucial for your, like, your growth is going to accelerate and like your mind's going to start opening up to it. You're not going to be so frustrated and like, you know, I think part of it is just realizing it's like, just because you don't get a bug in three hours, You know, how many other software engineers have taken days to like solve a similar bug, right? Like you're going to encounter that stuff. You have to realize it's, it's inevitable. It's not, if it's when and it's over and over and over. And if you can go into it, like I'm just going to play around, it's going to be a playground for me today and I'm going to figure out what's going on. Right. And I think maybe sometimes it is like, Maybe you got a warm yourself up to it, like eat a, eat a healthy meal before like exercise each day, get a good night's sleep. Like all that stuff can help. But if you can go into that three hour session with that playful mindset, the world of software engineering, it just changes. It becomes easier. Learning becomes easier, becomes more fun. Like as we get older, we start like, Uh, we don't have the luxury of everything being super fun with no responsibility anymore. And I think you have to like challenge that mindset that you've developed over time and yourself to have fun and treat it like a playground and just dig into the code like that without stressing yourself out.

Sydney Romero:

I'm really glad you brought that up. Because obviously not a full-stack developer, but just the skills and the logic, the syntax, the ways of thinking I think has actually affected my ways of working on soft skills and inter communicational and ways of working in general, where like, instead of seeing it as this is my job, I have to do this and I just happen to code or look at data now. Are there ways to improve how I work as well, working with others, where are we doing it this way? Oh, this is actually kind of based off the logic of a loop or how do we repeat this process to scale it better? I've seen it affected in more of my soft skills, I think, than anything. Um, without even noticing it. I'm not sure if that's just, when you explain it, it makes sense to me where I love that joy. And now I see it, that I apply it to other ways of working, not just on the technical. And then everything becomes more digestible and you can actually make some better ways of working better changing the sides from working individually as a individual contributor. Um, that's just me though. It, it just, it changes their mindset.

Don Hansen:

I think you find a lot of things relatable. When you talk about implementation, it feels like as you're learning, you feel. And correct me if I'm wrong, but you feel like things started becoming more enjoyable and clicking for you when you could involve it in a process, involve it in something that's actually achieving something or making, you know, making your job easier, making your life easier, just like, uh, a process you're implementing it into a real world scenario. Um, is that kinda what you were getting.

Sydney Romero:

I feel like you're my therapist. Cause I think you described it better than I would have done it. So yeah, I think you're yeah, you explained it way better than I did. Yeah. That's that's how I would say it.

Don Hansen:

Okay. So that, okay. So that is like, I feel like that's a huge, a huge key factor in everything clicking. And not just like your enjoyment with coding, but your understanding of it. I feel like so much depth comes from that implementation. And I feel like, you know, the advice to give aspiring developers essentially build personal projects. Like what the hell does that mean? Like, what do I even want to build? What am I supposed to build? What am I going to get hired for? And like a thousand other questions pop up, but like, This is why I highly recommend. It's like, well, you know, what's a real, do you have like a freelancing gig? Is there a tool you could build for that? Do you, um, do you want to make extra money? Like maybe that is you just want to see if you can make extra money by building some sort of extension or like your own website and build your own shop on it and, or maybe you, um, I don't know, you just kind of want to build landing pages for businesses, maybe. Try to start a company and build like a pricing model around your product that you're launching. Like, there are so many ways where you could start thinking about like how to actually. Take your, all this knowledge you have swirling around in your brain in dive into, like, you can just up your game, your skill level by diving heavily in demo implementation. It's like every time I see people struggling, 99% of the time they have. Like they might've built like a cat project, like a portfolio of casts or somebody, but it, there was nothing, anything realistic that benefited them or anyone else. And I feel like when people are like, oh my God, I actually like, this is way off topic. But like, man, I kinda just want to build a script for my X-Box. Like, I kinda just like want to do this random, random thing. I never thought I could ever build it like three, four years ago where I to, you know, my wife kind of just wants to, she has her own, um, shop at the mall and she could get more business if she could just create a website, um, and you know, create a blog around it. And I, I, I'm already starting to think about like all the things that I can build. That's actually kind of useful. And you can, I'm just saying there's so many different things that can influence you in spring. You wanting to build that personal project that matters to you, but it's when you finally dive into implementation that matters to you or anyone else, I just see everything start clicking for people. And it's getting people to realize that and trying to really think about what they want to build, or even just like adapt into their process of how they even tackle everything in life. It's. Um, but yeah, it's. I feel like I'm just ranting now, but I feel like the implementation is just key. And a lot of people aren't quite accessing it as soon as they should.

Russell Anderson:

That's the hard part though, is because you can't have fun because you don't understand as well. It's harder to have those real moments. And so, you know, to your point, Don, when I wasn't doing projects and I wasn't planning anything and I was just kind of piddle paddle around with the two little things I was, I was trying to keep going. You know, it wasn't fun. And then when I figured out there was a couple of projects that I was kind of did a little research on and I wasn't really interested on them. And then I found another one that kind of helped. They kind of helped me learn SAS a little bit. And, uh, I got a little bit deeper into react. All of a sudden six days later I've slept maybe two to four hours each night. You know, depending on, you know, uh, depending on how close it off paying attention, 10 to 12 cups of coffee over the course of the day. So, you know, it took, it took something to your point on something that I cared about, but it also, I had to have my interest peaked in some way, shape or form, even though I understood, even though I, even though I knew kind of, I knew how to make the react project. I knew how to get my render stuff onto the screen. I knew about my components, all that. Um, I still wasn't speaking to me in any sort of type of way. And, uh, you know, that's the one thing I envy about somebody who could just. Like that was the thing that was really annoying about the whole learning process. It's the other people that could just dive in and screw up and break the stuff and not care because I care and I didn't want him to break in like it matters and why it mattered, but it just mattered. And so to your point on it is hard to have fun. It took me a while to have fun, took a good while to have fun. And then there's still fleeting moments when I'm not having fun. I'm quite honest. Um, but I'm not, but I also don't sit down. I don't think of coding as a fun thing to do on the weekends if I'm not doing anything either. So there's a flip side to that as well. Um, I'll be able to step away from this job easier than I would have in my other careers. Cause I've never been able to let my other careers I'd take home with me and I never stopped thinking about it. So, um, it just depends on how you look at it, but to your point, understanding of. Makes it easier to have fun unless you're, unless you already think it's fun just to play around with it. And I can, I can go down this dark hallway and I'll screw it up. And I don't care. Some of us just are wired that way. Like I know I'm not wired that way.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. That's an important thing to recognize in yourself and that, you know what, and I was just talking about it today. Um, Everyone obviously is wired differently and they tackle this with a different mindset and their mindset evolves in a different way than other people's. And you can see some commonalities, but like the big portion of this, I just feel like software engineering is this weird field. Like we've been. Train through traditional education to like just think a certain way and just learn a certain way and be able to recall information. And a lot of it like lacks implementation. And I feel like software engineering is just this weird, unique industry that forces you to challenge that narrative that, you know, traditional education is built up for so long. It's it's I don't know. I feel like it's just really interesting. And you have to, I feel like you're almost dislike. You have to break down habits, you have to break down the way you look at things, the way you learn, like really break them down so you can build them up in a way that's gonna make you a much more successful software engineer, but you also have to be able to. Analyze those bad habits. Like, what am I doing? This kind of that blacker. And that's a really hard thing to do. Yeah. It can be very self-defeating and very painful,

Russell Anderson:

but that's the fun part. And you got to ask her and just like we've already all, I think all four of us has said it so far. It does. You've got to ask yourself that question before you start. And so, um, but, but it's, but don't get me wrong. You can know what you're getting into and still not be able to. And so I think depending on like, I know as a young person, I would have been learning this as a young person, that man, I was already cocky, but Boyle boy. So I am glad that I am learning this later, but, um, at the same time, uh, being able to have the humility to understand that, you know, you're not just getting advice from people who've done this before. You're almost getting. And you're not able to process the whole roadmap, but one day you're able to see where that maps don't leave you. And so, um, and being able to have faith in that is it's tough. It's tough because again, you're gonna have to make changes. Um, and you're gonna have to be honest with yourself and face some facts about you know, who you are and what you do well because software engineering will expose your weaknesses. And then if you lack strengths, uh, or you have few of them, it will then expose that.

Don Hansen:

I like that. That's very insightful.

Russell Anderson:

Um,

Don Hansen:

okay. Here's what I want to do. I feel like, I feel like this is kind of just a casual conversation that I enjoyed, you know? Pick it apart like our journeys and what that means. But like, I, I feel like you guys are pretty insightful at analyzing, you know, some of the troubles that you went through and how you overcame them. And you'd be surprised at how many people have trouble doing that as well. And sometimes people just feel overwhelmed and they have no energy to do it. They're just trying to get through like, think about like coding boot camps and the intensity. It's like, we're talking about like trying to analyze their habits and break them down. They're just trying to survive, go to sleep, wake up and go to the coding bootcamp again. You know, I can really empathize with that. So it's, it's a long process and I feel like everyone's path is going to be different, but these are the kinds of things I'm, I'm telling you. It's. When you look back on it and even back on your behaviors and like how you gave up too easily, that one time, a lot of it does seem silly when you look back on it. And it feels very real and overwhelming when you're currently experiencing it. Some maybe it's helpful just to hear it's like, we've all been there. Um, but so I, I feel like we've given a lot of good advice, but I want to wrap up with this. Um, if you had to think about like your old self. You're very different now. Right? Your old self, even before you started the let's just narrow it down. Let's think about like before the coding boot camp and after the coding bootcamp, what advice in terms of like imposter syndrome and, you know, thinking about how you're going to do it, do you even have the ability to do it, the confidence to do it? What advice would you give your old self before you started this journey? I would say, um,

Eric Jiang:

actually create a roadmap because I went in blindly. Um, actually I have a roadmap and actually put in the effort to study some data structures outside

Don Hansen:

of class. Uh, you know, make

Eric Jiang:

like, like how everyone was talking about, you know, having the mindset, um, creating a roadmap, figuring out what exactly you need to do. And I know for a lot of younger

Don Hansen:

generations, uh,

Eric Jiang:

we tend to not care cause we don't have that responsibility on our shoulders. But, uh, for, for me, right, if I were to tell, uh, before the bootcamp self, I would be like, you know, you know, really. Finding out what I need, what I want to do, sign out, uh, what I need to study that way upon graduating the camp. Right. I wouldn't

Don Hansen:

have had as much of a struggle as I would have had good advice.

Sydney Romero:

Yeah. Uh, I think mine was two things. I would definitely tell my younger self at any point of my younger self, um, which I think would organically lead to exactly what you mentioned the for the first one would be just be kind and be patient with yourself. Um, cause you think you're super. But you're not. Um, the second one would be, find a mentor because you're not Superman and you can't do it all your damn self. So be kind to yourself and patient and find a mentor that can help you maybe find the same advice that you just gave. Eric. I would have never found that out without my mentor.

Don Hansen:

I like that, that invulnerability that we think we have when we're younger. It gets corrected.

Russell Anderson:

Uh, I would tell myself, um, number one, uh, understand what the basic skills of software engineering are and live in that, um, loops conditional statements, uh, how to, whatever language you're in, how to render the basic way. Um, focus on that because all the other fluff will make it look good, but that's not exactly going to put the work on the screen. So if you don't know how to put the work on the screen, all the rest of this stuff is, is, is, is, uh, isn't important. And then also when you're learning a language, go deep dive into it that, you know, try to immerse yourself while you're learning it while you're being taught it. Um, just because it's only going to be there for that little period of time and try to look back while you're learning something else. It's very difficult. Uh, which is I did way too much. I had my head, I had my head in three weeks back and in the same week as we were learning and it was just a whirlwind. So by the time everything caught up, it was over. Um, but, um, just like, just like Sydney, just be kind to yourself. I, I don't know why, but I was really hard on myself. And even though I was enjoying it and. I was living in the moment and, uh, the experience was wonderful, man. Weekends were miserable. Um, I lost a lot of sleep on weekends. I was working on something or not. I mean, there was a couple Saturdays where I was up till three o'clock morning, just staring at the screen, not doing anything, just staring at, kind of went to sleep at 11 and not hurt anybody. Got the same amount of stuff though. So just be easy on yourself. And this is. I was telling this to myself, but I just didn't actually fall through with it. It's hard. It's hard. It's not simple. And like, even if you're learning off of a tutorial, it's hard. It's not easy. I don't care who tells it to you. It's. So you're going to have some tough moments. You ready for it? Have you ever sealed whatever weapon you need, whatever. Be ready for a Russel. Cause it's common. It's common. Don't be, I got hit by the bus and I just wasn't ready. And I was really upset with myself because man, those have those headlights are right there and I just think get out the way. But uh, but I mean just echo the same things we both guys said. I mean, it's just, it's a. It's just one of those things. It's, it's fun. It's it's, it's, it's a murder scene. It's all those things all in the same time. It's really, it's really cool. It's really cool and terrible.

Don Hansen:

Essentially. Have your sword and shield ready as what you're saying, Russell. Right. Okay. I like it. Um, Damn. Yeah. Very unique, very unique perspectives and advice from all three of you. I loved it. I think it's going to be, um, I think this is going to be a good episode. So anyways, you know, in the comments, if you're on YouTube, I want to hear what you guys think. Um, I'm telling you like this. I don't even have to tell you, like, this is like the number one thing that just makes this journey so difficult. And I think sharing stories and realizing it's going to, it's going to be fucking miserable at ed parts. And like, it's going to be long. It's going it's it's not going to go the way you think it's going to go. And that's okay. And that doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't smart enough. That doesn't mean that you weren't capable of this. Right. But I. And I think taking some extra time out to try to have fun and explore it a little bit, um, can really go a long way as well. I really liked that. Vision of just like, you know, acting kind of like a child again, and like putting that weight off your shoulders and diving into the code. And it's like trying to forget about those responsibilities and, and not being so critical of yourself and just exploring like you would like you're a child again. It's, I've never heard that before. And it's just an interesting way to. Okay. That's it as the end of the episode. Uh, so, you know, let us know what you think of the episode in the comments below, but, um, let's go and do our outros, uh, Russell, if people want to reach out to you, where could they reach you?

Russell Anderson:

Oh, Russ bought two 50 on Twitter. Um, I am also in and out on LinkedIn. R Anderson. There might be some numbers in there. I'm not sure. Um, but hit me up. Hit me up. If you see me I'm I'm around. I'm always around.

Don Hansen:

How about you, Eric?

Russell Anderson:

You can find me on LinkedIn.

Eric Jiang:

Uh, Eric, Jane, something, something I'm always on LinkedIn. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up. I have, I'm literally bored with my life,

Don Hansen:

so. Okay. Be careful what you asked for, how about you

Sydney Romero:

Sydney? Yeah, same LinkedIn. Uh, Sydney has an Australia dash Romero or Sydney romero.com.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Cool. Well, I appreciate you guys coming back on. I think it's going to be a good episode, but like usual stick around for a couple minutes, but seriously, thanks so much for coming on again.