Secrets to Avoiding Discouragement When Starting Out

Secrets to Avoiding Discouragement When Starting Out

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Scotty Parlor

Aug. 18, 2020

Read Time 4 min


I'm so glad you are here.

If you are reading this, I can only assume that you are a.) starting out, or b.) have previously started out and stepped away under the pressure and ocean of information.

You are not alone.

Throughout my career, I have explained my experience with the following analogy:

Starting out in development with no real experience, education, or support is hopping in a rowboat and kicking off from shore. At first, its exciting and adventurous. You are doing it! But after a while, many things start to sink in. For one, there is an ocean between you and an unknown destination. There are also other sailor's with larger vessels moving at multiple times faster than you. They are also more equipped to handle large storms and waves. They have navigation instruments and sometimes even a crew to help them through.

"Maybe this isn't for me." "Maybe I will go home and wait until I can afford a bigger boat."

"What if I fail?"

These are real feelings you are having. They are also normal feelings. The reality here is that the hardest part is not "kicking off from shore" so to speak. It is committing to not turning around during adversity.

I wish I had some really easy and full proof, 100% tested and vetted answers for you. I really don't.

However, here is what has helped me get through.

  1. Put your work in front of others for correction and criticism.

    You may or may not know people directly who can do this for you. A few ways to achieve this are online forums (stackoverflow), finding developers guilds local to you (very easy to find on linkedin), and of course looking for paid or free coding bootcamps.

  2. Get your foot in the door somewhere and find a professional mentor

    I got my start at the bottom level of a Fintech startup. While there I showed enough uneducated initiative to catch the eye of a VP of Operations. It was tough. He would push me, raise his voice at me, tell me when I would appear lazy, and tell me when to take an opportunity. FIND THIS.

  3. Make personal progress and publish it.

    Start a github account. Build your portfolio. Then go back and see how far from the shore you've really gone since you started. When I started, it seemed like i'd never even be able to build a site from scratch. Looking back, I feel silly for the discouragement I allowed myself to feel. The journey will change you.

  4. Recognize that you will never know everything, and what you do know now will be irrelevant in 5 years.

    Seriously, in 3-5 years you will be on a level playing field with your peers in the industry. It's like you are rowing along and all of a sudden all your peers in yachts are going your pace. It's opportunities like these for you to learn a new technology and jump to a ship that will get you to the other side faster.

  5. Don't sweat the little things

    Just go with the flow. You have no idea what else is out there or what will be at this point. So go where the tide takes you and have fun doing it.

As always, is here to help you in whatever ways we can. Don't give up. Commit to the waves.