I ain’t great, but I got g(r)it. How I overcome self-doubt as a Developer.

*I’ve written the following post with a soft reference to the version control system, git.

I’m now going into week 8 of the Web Development Immersive Bootcamp at Juno College. In that timespan, we’ve covered HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and Git. My classmates and I have done 2 tests, and submitted 5 projects overall. In such a short timeframe, I’ve been able to improve on my skills and learn new concepts. We’re now starting to work on our resumes and cover letters in preparation on entering the job market.

I wanted to talk about a little mishap I had during Week 7.

In Week 6, we started to learn React, a JavaScript library widely used in Web Development. With the introduction of React and the new concepts it presented— it’s an understatement to say React was difficult to understand.

Up until that point in the bootcamp, I had great momentum. I understood the concepts in CSS and JavaScript— I was going full throttle. When React came along, it seemed like I hit a flat tire.

g(r)it init

Start with the problem in front of you
# Create a new git repository for project 5
g[r]it init ~/project-five/

# Checkout branch for Project-5
g[r]it checkout -b project-five

Last week, we were assigned Project 5— to build a web application built primarily on React. We were given 7 days to work on it and it was due on Thursday 9:00AM the following week.

Not a lot of time to build a web application.

I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to build an application I’ve been passionate about a while back, but I didn’t think I had the right tools or experience to get started.

At that point I said to myself – “Why Not?” and “It’ll be fine”

I wanted to build my own personal Travel Diary where one can capture their travel memories.

Only issue was I had to build it on React!

I created a detailed plan for that week, breaking down the project to smaller tasks and assigning each task a day to work on it. The schedule was very calculative and precise. Any slippage in the plan would certainly miss the submission date. 

g(r)it status

Evaluate where you are & understand the problem
# Get status of project5 branch
g[r]it status

I remember the Monday prior to the Thursday submission day, I couldn’t get the code to work and I started to panic.

I started to question if I knew React well enough.

These negative thoughts started to spiral.

I started to think if I even belonged in the Bootcamp and if I even should be a developer. 

My mind started to ramble even further and thoughts of unworthiness started to pile on:

“I don’t have a university degree”“I’m not a great student”

I started to question my self-confidence:

“I need to be more social” and “I’m too anxious”.

I spent the next 8 HOURS debugging until I fortunately found the issue (I wrote my setState incorrectly in my Parent Component, which caused the whole application to break) 

Now it was really crunch time. I still had a long list of tasks to complete before needing to submit my project. My code was barely working and my once-calculated and precise plan to get my project completed was now impractical.

Things were not going so well, and I started to think I bit off more than I can chew and I started to feel more discouraged and anxious than before. 

I felt like the universe was against me and I had no clear direction to a solution. 

g(r)it add

Remind yourself on your passion and couple it with perseverance
# Add passion and perseverance to project-5 branch
g[r]it add passion.txt perseverance.txt

I remember a TedTalk I watched by Angela Lee Duckworth. The video is very short to most Ted Talks, but I’ll share a few snippets from her talk that stuck with me. 

Angela was a former Management Consultant turned psychologist, in New York City. She wanted to determine what were the characteristics that differentiated successful individuals from the less successful ones.

She conducted some research by doing some of the following:

  1. She studied students participating in the National Spelling Bee and tried to predict the ones who would go the furthest in the competition.
  2. She studied rookie teachers who were working in tough neighborhoods. She tried to predict which teachers would stick around for the rest of the year, and which ones didn’t.
  3. She partnered with companies and evaluated which salespeople were going to earn the most money and which ones were going to be let go due to not meeting their sales quota.

To her findings, it wasn’t intelligence… good looks…physical health… and neither was it IQ that defined the successful individuals. 

It was GRIT.

She defines Grit as the passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Two very important words— passion and perseverance.

She goes on to talk about a study she did in the Chicago Public school system. She asked thousands of high school juniors to take grit questionnaires, and then waited around more than a year to see who would graduate.

She discovered that the grittier kids would be more likely to graduate, even when she matched them on every characteristic she could measure, things like family income, standardized achievement test scores, even how safe kids felt when they were at school. 

The most resonating thing she said was this:

talent doesn’t make you gritty. Our data shows very clearly that there are many talented individuals who simply do not follow through on their commitments. In fact, in our data, grit is usually unrelated or even inversely related to measures of talent

Angela Lee Duckworth

I reflect on what Angela said in her talk.

All those negative thoughts I had— Not having a university degree… Not being the most out-going person… and Not having the most talent in the group— started not to matter.

It was encouraging to hear that successful people are the way they are— not so much on merits and achievement or intelligence, but more so on their level of grit.

Because on top of all this, having passion for coding, and the drive and perseverance to be the best coder I can be is what measures a great coder.

g(r)it commit

Apply any changes to your goals and execute on them
# Apply adjustments to project 5 plan
g[r]it commit -m "Adjusted plans and continue to NOT give up!"

If I can measure my Grit by my level of passion and perseverance, I’d say I got plenty of it.

I had to level-set why I’m learning to code and realize why I’m in bootcamp in the first place. I needed to mindfully remind myself about that passion for coding and start from there. I removed any self-doubt and negative thoughts I had and re-adjusted my mindset.

Then it was time to get gritty.

Back to Project 5, time was running out.

Although my project plan fell apart, I made some adjustments, re-prioritized and found the determination to keep going and battle thru.

Loaded up on some coffee from Starbucks (thanks to Uber Eats for home delivery).

3:00 AM became the new bedtime for the next couple of nights. On the last night before submission day, I stayed up until 4:30 AM. Also I woke up at 8:00 AM to make some finishing touches and submitted my project at 8:50 AM. 

I was tired, but it was worth it.

I did need to take a quick nap during lunch break on Thursday to catch up on some lost sleep.

I look back at the project and I’m extremely proud of the results. It’s very much in alpha, and I’d like to make some improvements on it in the future. Nonetheless, it’s something I can be proud of.

Project Five. Can be viewed here

This is not a call-to-action to sacrifice sleep to get the job done, or to overwhelm yourself to the point where it starts to jeopardize your mental health. (Mental Health is a priority, take care of that first!) 

I wanted to highlight that there will be obstacles, and if you tackle them straight on and continue to tackle them, you will overcome them and see results. No where in this process does it require you have some level of IQ or talent. All you need is straight up GRIT.

g(r)it push

Apply this in your long-term goals
8# Sets the new remote
g[r]it remote add origin https://www.Jenny.Dinh

# Verifies the new remote URL
g[r]it remove -v

# Pushes the changes in your local repository up to the remote repository 
g[r]it push origin project-five

I don’t know if I’m the most intelligent person, or the most sociable person in the room, or if I possess any much of the other characteristics society might classify a successful person might have.

But I can definitely control how much Grit I have.

If I could share a simple takeaway to fellow developers entering the field, or if you’re in the field and wanting to improve on your skills, it’s this:

Forget all the little doubts you may have, don’t compare yourself to others. Just remind yourself about your passion and persevere to be the best person you can be in regards to that passion… the rest will fall into place.

I initially had my doubts if I bit off more than I can chew. But if you work hard, even if it’s in small increments… the universe will reward you.


That same Thursday morning I submitted Project Five, at 9:48 AM, the universe decided to do just that.

I shared my project on Twitter, and a seasoned developer saw my project and messaged me with the following:

It’s not a job… it’s not even an interview… It’s just a small token of appreciation the universe decided to send me in response for my grit.

Hope this inspires you to work hard(er) and remove any self-doubt you may have.

# Pushes the changes to the remote repository 
g[r]it push origin jenny-dinh-professional-web-developer

xx Jenny

Published by that_jenster

Early Childhood Educator // Holistic Nutritionist Front-End Web Development in Training // Juno College Cohort 27 Full-Time Adventurer

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