Over the course of my development career I have found myself looking at job postings and taking note of the different technologies companies are looking for.
The next thought that usually follows is I pick one of those technologies and I try and build something with it to prove that I am capable of using that technology.
I've done this basically my entire career when it comes to job searching but in my latest job search I started to realize something.
Most companies really don't care about the tech you know even if they are looking for someone with a specific skill set.
What they do care about is that you have built stuff.
When I first graduated from college I knew some Java and had built a small Wordpress site but besides that I hadn't really done a whole lot.
Once I graduated I got a nice first job but honestly I had a lot of free time and for awhile all I did during that free time was watch a lot of YouTube. A LOT of YouTube. 😄
Finally, I had the realization that in order for me to move forward in my career I needed to build stuff. So I took a look around on the internet and found the ESPN API. Which has unfortunately since shutdown but at the time it was awesome for me because I was a pretty big sports fan.
I had no idea what I wanted to build but I started looking through the API and trying to come up with an idea then finally after doing that for a couple of hours I had one.
At the time ESPN gave nice summaries on almost all of their content and I really didn't want to waste my time on reading the entire article.
So I took those summaries and created a website using none other than Bootstrap to output the different pieces of content and their summaries. I called it thagist.com (thegist.com was taken 🙁).
My point is this, during this month or so I had a blast and didn't care about writing good code or making sure I used a framework that a company was looking for. I just built stuff and shipped it.
I followed this trend for awhile back then. I had ideas for stuff and I just built it. None of it was great and none of it I still have. 🙃
All I'm trying to say is:
If you pay attention to whats going on in the community you can see this message delivered again and again.
How do you get better? Build things. Lots of things. Build 1,000 things. Keep it up and don't stop. Seriously.
It still works and I did raw DOM manipulation 😱— Kent C. Dodds (@kentcdodds) November 28, 2016
shipping > "best practices"@mackcope
Now I know some of you are probably thinking that code quality and best practices are important and some would argue more important now than ever because the internet is getting fat.
So to be crystal clear, I completely agree that making sure you write code that doesn't slow down or ruin the user experience is important. But what is equally important is actually delivering something that the user can experience.
We need to remember that developing on the web can actually be really simple. I'm sure most of you can think back to your first website and remember how simple it was and that feeling of actually building something and sharing it with the world.
It's a pretty awesome feeling.
Try to remember that the web is a pretty simple place and if you wanted to build the worlds worst website ever then guess what! You can do that!
Get out there and build stuff!
I cannot stress this enough, if you have an idea go for it! Dream big and build big. Don't listen to anybody who says you can't do it for whatever reason or makes a comment like "well that code isn't going to scale well".
You almost certainly won't have to deal with that problem. If you do, consider yourself lucky and your idea validated.
Then go back and look at that crap code you wrote at 3:00AM on a Tuesday and try and make it better.
Until then go build!
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