by Jonathan Puc

Why documenting your journey will lead to success as a developer

I recently wrote an article on how I landed my first job as a self-taught developer. One of the points I made was to build a personal brand by creating content and putting yourself out there.

I’m here to expand on that point and explain why documenting your journey will bring positive benefits.

Before I even wrote my first line of code, I knew I was going to start a blog and write about my journey as a self-taught developer.

At the time, I had discovered Gary Vaynerchuk and was binge watching his videos.

Gary preaches documenting your journey and explains how stories are what sells. So I took the advice.

I began blogging about learning code and my endeavor towards self-improvement.

It was the best thing I could have done for myself, and I’m pretty damn sure I wouldn’t be here if I had hesitated to put myself out there. Big call? I don’t think so, here’s why.

It opened a door to a community

Like attracts like. By putting my projects, current circumstances, and future goals out there, I attracted like-minded people. I was able to build relationships with individuals who had the same drive and hunger for success as I did. These relationships allowed us to bounce ideas off each other and grow together.

Furthermore, people who were new to the programming and self-development world approached me and sought guidance. As we all know, the greatest learning happens when you are teaching. By helping others, I also reinforced the fundamentals I had picked up along the way.

People sometimes asked me insightful questions that challenged me to view things from a different perspective and helped me grow. It’s often the questions that bring the most value, not the answers.

My absolute favorite is when I’m in a slump, and somebody asks me for advice. I’m reminded of why I started in the first place, and soon I’m back on track.

It gave me a sense of responsibility

I told the world who I aspired to be and what I had set out to achieve. Blog posts, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos with lengthy captions. There was no way I was going to quit now, I had people following and supporting me. Most importantly, I wasn’t going to let myself down after putting myself out there.

I developed the mindset of a creator

Whether you’re writing blog posts, shooting videos, or recording podcasts, you are a content creator, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if you have a following of 100 or 1000.

With consistency, it starts to feel natural and you soon start to think and act like a creator, which is a valuable mindset to have.

Creators don’t just mindlessly consume.

Creators continuously give back to others by creating valuable content.

Creators strive to improve themselves as a way to improve their own work.

The mindset of a creator is one that thrives in any field.

It’s a great form of reflection

Learning code isn’t easy, especially if you’re taking the self-taught route. Sure you have things like Stack Overflow, but sometimes the answers you seek aren’t there and you have to just grind it out until it works. Sometimes that grind can be hours, and all motivation flies out the window.

This often happened to me.

By documenting my journey, I had something to look back to and reflect on — my past struggles and how I was able to overcome them. Believe me, there is nothing more motivating than reading your own success stories.

It became a lot harder for negative thoughts to kick in and have me questioning myself again as I had success stories to remind me of how much I had progressed.

It allows you to differentiate yourself from other candidates

When you start looking for that developer job, you need to stand out from the rest.

A career in tech is hot right now, and you’ll be up against a crazy amount of candidates. I don’t believe a CV and cover letter will cut it anymore. They may draw initial attention, but you’ve still got a whole lot more to sell.

Having a place where employers can go and learn more about you, beyond what your CV and cover letter show, is a big plus:

  • It shows them you are willing to go the extra mile.
  • By documenting your journey, you show you have a sense of self-awareness, which is really attractive to employers.
  • You give employers the opportunity to connect with you and relate to you. If they’ve already gotten to know you through your content before the interview, you’re already ahead of others.
  • Your journey is a story. Who knows? They may be intrigued by what comes in the next chapter of your story and want to invest in you.

Conclusion

People often tell me they’re afraid to start documenting because they don‘t think they’ll be able to produce interesting or entertaining content.

The key word here is document. You are simply keeping track of your progression and experiences. Some people may find it valuable, and some may not. The most important thing is that you remain consistent and not get too caught up in trying to please others.

Here is a great post by Gary Vaynerchuk about documenting.

Done reading? Well what are you waiting for?!

Draft up some ideas, pick a channel/platform, start creating, and reap the benefits!

Here’s to wishing you luck on your journey! As always, my inbox is open to anybody in need of further advice or have questions.

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