Working in the technology sector can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. First of all, it is the many hours we spend daily, sitting in front of the computer. After a while, you start to feel rusty, back pains, wrist pain and many others. Besides that, it is the mental toll due to the immense amount of information out there. Also, because of the tools that get released so often.
We want to avoid that and make working in tech easier and more enjoyable. Thus, the purpose of this article is to show you how to do that.
Many people try to learn and memorise everything. It is prominent in beginners, especially. However, the truth is you are never going to be able to know everything. There is not a single person that knows everything, and you are not going to be the first one.
Google, Stackoverflow, GitHub, and similar platforms are there for a reason. A more important ability than knowing everything is knowing how to use these platforms. Every senior I came across had the powerful ability to know what to search, and where. On the other hand, I have never seen anybody admitting they know everything.
Therefore, if it is one thing I can advise you is to stop trying to learn and memorise everything. Learn how to make use of the resource available to you.
Run your race
Due to social media, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to other people. There is the illusion that everyone is better than you because you only look at the highlight reel of someone else. You do not see the struggles they have been through because nobody shows that on social media.
Everyone is struggling. It is just that you do not see it, and you only see the results. Therefore, the morale is to stop comparing to someone else's highlight reels. It is perfectly acceptable to look up to other developers and get inspired, but do not compare. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it is also unrealistic.
Understand that there are always people better than you. But on the flip side, some less experienced developers look up to you too.
Working when not working
Not switching your brain off after finishing work is the most significant energy drain. Many people are always-on. That means replying to emails after working, overworking, thinking about work, and so on. They never have peace of mind, and they never enjoy the present. Their mind is always at work.
What I am trying to learn, and what you might want to learn too, is to switch off from work. Life is more than work. Learn to rest, and enjoy other things also. I am learning, as well.
Master of everything
Do not try to become a master of everything. I know, it feels like every month, ten new shiny tools and framework are released. But you cannot learn them all. Let alone master them. Just because new tools and frameworks are released, it does not mean you have to know them.
Pick several technologies you want to learn and stick with them regardless of what is being released. It is so easy to jump around and lose focus. By jumping from tool to tool, you will always be a novice.
But that does not mean you need to ignore newer technologies. For example, you should not overlook React or Vue and stick with jQuery. What it means is that if you know React, it does not mean you have to jump on Vue or vice-versa.
For instance, pick a stack and stick with it. Do you want to learn the MERN stack? Stick with it regardless of what is released every day. It is better to be good at a handful of technologies than average at 100 technologies.
We are all imposters
There is a picture that drives the point home in the best way. As the image below shows, we all have it. Some people struggle with it less, and some struggle more.
The impostor syndrome is a developer's best friend when appropriately managed. I also believe that the impostor syndrome is more prominent in software development due to the large volume of knowledge you need to possess, and the constant changing of tools and programming languages. The programming language and tools you are using today might become obsolete in a while. That means "starting from the zero" (an exaggeration to emphasise the point) again. It is a very dynamic environment where you have to learn continuously.
However, you can use the imposter syndrome as a motivation to become better, instead of letting it defeat you. Perhaps, you could have a look at the article I recently wrote about the imposter syndrome.
Step by step
Take things step by step. Break big tasks into smaller tasks. Do not set out to build the next big application straightaway. Instead, try to create a simple server, create routes, and so on. In no time, you will have an application up and running.
Completing these smaller tasks over time, you will be surprised to find out that you actually did a lot. Besides that, achieving smaller tasks do not seem like a huge mountain to climb and builds your confidence. You are more motivated to do your work.
Always try to break tasks into smaller pieces. You save time, build confidence and achieve things easier.
- Do not try to learn and memorize everything.
- Run your race, and focus on yourself.
- Learn to switch your mind off. Stop working when not working.
- Everyone struggles with the imposter syndrome, more or less.
- Break tasks into smaller tasks.
- Take things step by step.