A Crisis of Coding Confidence

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I’ve been dreading the new language week at Makers. Up until now I have probably been in the comfortably average camp in terms of my Ruby abilities. That position has given me confidence and space to breathe and the flexibility to experiment with my learning.

Week 5 has been a turning point though, and my confidence has plummeted.

I think its been particularly acute because we aren’t learning an obscure language like Haskell or Go or Clojure where we would all be on a (zero experience) level playing field. We are in fact, shifting to common-or-garden JavaScript and that is a language that some of my colleagues have experience with and many even exclaim excitement when they refer to it.

This process isn’t a competition of course, but try telling my ego that. As far as it is concerned I on the back foot and I feel nervous and panicky and remedial. In terms of what’s going on I’m my head: my ego is having a little toddler tantrum, it sees all the hideous brackets and semi-colons that litter JS code and throws its toys out of the pram.

via GIPHY

With my stroppy head on I am holding my hand up to block the onslaught of JS and refusing to like it – JavaScript is just stoopid!!

(Even if it does let you create really fabulous openstreetmap games that I am desperate to be able to emulate…)

My crisis of confidence didn’t just contain itself to JavaScript and instead spread throughout and convinced me that I was also useless at Ruby.

Still, I have mounted my defence now. At Makers, we focus on the wider application of a language, designing full web apps and as a result the nitty gritty of language syntax and usage doesn’t get an awful lot of focus.

I’ve decided that I need to go back over the basics to rebuild confidence levels and so have started both the Ruby and JavaScript tracks on exercise.io which is a rather fab resource for junior programmers. It’s TDD supported and all your work is reviewed and commented on by mentors. And its free – totally, generously free.

I’m also tempted to try out Sandi Metz’s book – 99 Bottles of Beer, but there is a high risk that I am going to spread myself too thin. If I get carried away with all this knowledge gathering, I will have to refer myself to my previous blog posts – reminding myself to suck up the discomfort and ego bruising and just hang on.