The Unknown Is Scary

A big part of being a software developer is facing a lot of unknowns. You’re basically faced with problems you’ve never dealt with before on a daily basis, and it’s scary. What if you can’t get your job done? What if it takes you much longer to figure it out than you have the time or budget for? Is it easier to just hire someone who already knows this or should I learn this myself? What if I can’t figure it out?

This is how I felt about a month ago when I wanted to add a custom modal to my website. I’ve never built a modal before, so it looked scary. To be honest, I dealt with it by putting it off and focusing on the easier tasks while I hired a front-end developer to just do it. It seemed easier that way. After all, modals look pretty cool and complicated, right?

Well, after I looked through the other developer’s code, it looked pretty simple and logical. You basically just have a transparent overlay with the modal form. I could have done it myself in a few hours (if not just an hour!).

I had a similar experience when I wanted to add some custom non-twitter-bootstap responsive design to my site. It turned out to be A LOT easier than it seems. But the unknown is scary and it’s hard not to procrastinate, avoiding the hard parts while listening to the self-doubting thoughts that come with it.

The big lesson I’ve been learning from facing the unknown every day and figuring it out is that computers are logical. Everything that looks pretty complicated is just a clever combination of existing common-sense puzzle pieces that I’m already familiar with. And, of course, it feels great to put the puzzle pieces together every single time 🙂 I LOVE being a software developer!

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  • Lawrence

    I’ve always said a similar thing to this, except for the scary part though. But I always say that 80% of my job is trying to figure out how to do my job. And when people ask me about that I say for some, that can be scary. Most people would like to know how to do their job and be good at it. I have found that I rather enjoy the uncertainty of web development. I have a serious addiction to learning and I love jumping into the unknown. With that said, yes our work is a lot like walking into a dimly lit room and trying to make sense of it…EVERYDAY!