Stuff I Learned This Year

But particularly in the past few months:

Vanilla JS DOM Manipulation is pretty cool and if you don’t have to support old browsers, pretty easy to switch to.

And despite having very little on-the-job experience with it, I am pretty decent at it. So yay.

I had this Remy Sharp article bookmarked for EVER and finally dug into it and MAN was it helpful.

Read more effing source code. Like, no. Really.

I thought digging into things that I came across at work when relevant was enough. No.

I’m at a point where I want to build up my knowledge of practical, maintainable, largish-scale JS project structure, so I need to see what’s out there and what works. Every week. Probably every day. All the time.

Front-end is getting very granular and there’s lots of different work out there — But Job Titles Do Not Carry Over.

“Front End Engineer” at one place may actually be beyond “Senior Front End Developer” at another.

There’s a breaking out of roles such as Web Designer (someone who builds look-and-feels for more static websites — themes, skins, etc) vs UX Engineer (builds out UX elements for applications — prototyping and eventually in prod as well) vs Front End Engineer/Developer (someone who works on application logic) vs Front-End Optimization Specialist (a point person for the rest of the team to help with processes, task-running, performance, testing, etc)

It’s important to both taylor your learning to your favorite desired role, and also to check that job titles you apply for meet your needs.

A year is too long for goals.

Life changes a lot and different things come into focus. Most of mine from last year aren’t really a priority anymore. At all.

Going to try quarterly for a new timeframe; might continue to adjust.

“Goals” as an idea might not be the best way to go— maybe concepts / curriculum / projects are better.

I have a ton to learn and I think for some areas, reading and absorbing might be enough. Don’t need a dedicated concrete “goal,” just need to touch a particular concept in some way.

Allows some freedom to research something, see where it leads you — do I need to go down a rabbit hole here? Oh, what’s this related topic I never heard of? etc

Do not learn in a vacuum, i.e. see what’s important to others and what’s going on in the community AND the job market.

The big takeaway here is that it’s good to shape your own learning pace and methodology, but leaving the curriculum / path up to your own opinions is going to lead to a flawed / incomplete plan.

My goals from last year reflect that — just a random hodgepodge of stuff I wanted to learn, thought I should learn — not really any feedback from anyone else.

Get some mentoring, somehow. Twitter is not in any way enough.

It’s easy to get lost. It’s okay to get lost. Don’t stay lost.

Reach out to people in your community. If you don’t feel like you have a community, work on it.

People like to help. Also, they are GREAT people.

Also, go to a flipping conference, Meagan, you are overdue.

Teaching is wonderful but don’t let it pull you away from teaching & improving yourself.

…Unless you LOVE it and think teaching is going to be the focus for your career — it’s not for me but could be totally valid for someone else. I’m talking about teaching more as a side-project / way of giving back.

I saw a Model View Culture article describe minorities in tech doing the bulk of activism work for minorities in tech as “the second shift” — they indicated that it was coerced by one’s employer in some cases, and this has NOT been my situation at ALL; I put it on myself. I made myself feel obligated.

There is overlap between things you want to do and things you feel like you SHOULD DO sometimes, and it’s good to be cognizant what’s driving you more at any given time.

Asking for things doesn’t make you a bad person — a lot of time, people will expect it.

Specifically I mean at work, and by “things,” I mean… things. Equipment to do your work better, recognition on a project you worked on, etc.

Not equating this with “speaking up” — i.e. when there is an actual active problem, letting manager types ignore it and waiting for you to come to them. I guess I’m thinking this is more like… add-ons, or making things more positive, as opposed to trying to correct a bad situation. There is some crossover though.

It’s hard (impossible?) for me to separate out the “I’m a female dev, these are my concerns because I see these traits in other women, too, and think part of it is because of my gender” concerns from the “I’ve always been an introvert with crap self-esteem” concerns.

I’ll just say I think my not wanting to ask for things / be confident in general IS related to my gender somewhat but I’m in no way saying women need to “speak up” and that will magically solve problems. If that makes sense.

Regarding diversity in tech: stop talking about the “pipeline problem” — attrition is, at this time, a more important problem.

I think I got a bit swept up in the “let’s get more women INTO dev” idea because it’s just so magical, right? It makes you feel good.

The second half of this year, though, I realized it’s much more urgent to do right by the women already IN dev. Which is a much harder problem but deserves the time and thought.