Getting myself in the ‘Full-stack’ frame of mind!

I have been a front-end developer for many years, and had been able to sort of keep moving along, career-wise, as a self-taught, inner-motivated person. Always picking up classes on new coding topics here and there…but, only able to learn many of these new skills in a shallow way. The demands of life and work always left me with insufficient time to dig into any new JS frameworks or into any backend frameworks in any deep and meanigful way.

I was surprised when I was laid off in October of 2017 from what seemed to be a nice, steady job at a nice, stable company. I was shocked and stunned, needless to say.

After a few days of self-reflection, I could see that my road as a self-taught front end Dev — with a nice,  but very limited, bag of JQuery tricks and shallow knowledge of vanilla JS, a few PHP snippets and general working knowledge of a variety of backend and front end frameworks — was coming to a dead end.

Obviously, losing my job is something I took very personally as I have made it part of my identity, as many of us do. My first few days  of this  “full-stop” in my daily going-to-work routine were filled with the typical, stereotypical self-recriminations. I take so much pride in the work I do and in my reputation as being a good colleague and I took it very hard for  a few days.

However, on about the third day of this self-imposed DooMarathon I had to snap out of it… I started to see that this WAS the opportunity I had been looking for: I could look for a new job while teaching myself deeper skiils and knowledge in areas I am weak in.  I set a plan towards full-immersion in learning what I was missing in my toolbox as a Dev: Full-stack web Development including  Rails, Ruby, Sinatra, React, test-driven development with RSpec and Capybara,  vanilla Javascript in the delicious “ECMA 6″ flavor, SQL and Databases…you name it! I have started toward that path, gobbling it all up. As I work towards bettering myself I can also see how the circle of jobs that I am able to apply to now slowly expands as I gain self-confidence.

That is my new adventure, it is exciting, scary, frustrating and extremely satisfying all at once.  It is a tough and competitive job market. I combine my days with code and job search, that is the new habit.

The days are SO LONG, and yet, it seems as if they are TOO short…so much to do, learn, long hours into the night digging into new, challenging concepts and practicing over, and over again. There is LOTS of stumbling but eventually something happens and it all comes together makes sense. The discomfort if very real, but I have embraced it, fully.

I”ll get into a more detailed explanation of all the stuff I have been digging into in another post. Needless to say, I think this was the right leap-of-faith into the abyss of uncertainty that I needed to make! :)

This effort I am putting forth is very reminiscent of my approach to bike racing. Training is hard, painful, many pain-caves are embraced, but the payoff is real when you cross the line in third, second, even first. That emotion, that endorphin payoff is worth it.

I am now in my coding Pain-cave, hoping the effort I put forth now will eventually pay dividends soon.
In the words of Yogi Berra “The future ain’t what it used to be.” :)

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