New Routine or Do You Have the Hustle?

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I don’t have enough time in the day. I don’t know anyone past the age of 25 who does. I am constantly lamenting about how I’d like to do all these things, fit all of these new learning ambitions, building apps and sites, while going to school, maintaining three blogs, a podcast, and other social presences, as well as hitting the gym like I used to into one day. Yet I often, when not tasked with having to get up early, stayed up late and got up in just enough time to get my day started, go to class, come home, order something because I’d be so tired, do minimal homework, and not have time to do anything else.

This bothered me. A lot. I kept reading a lot of terrible life hacking articles on Medium telling me I should get up at an ungodly hour because things look better when you have a whole day to do something.

Night Owl

I am a notorious night owl. But as I age I find I can’t hang with the big kids anymore and by 10 PM my eyes are tired and I am unable to focus. I am also an insomniac so while I know I am tired I am more than likely unable to sleep without medication. But that’s for another story on some other (looking at you, Medium) blog. Would I be able to change all this staying up until 2 am and getting up at 10 am, 8 when I have class? I thought about it and decided to act, a two week trial run of getting up at 5 am on weekdays to get stuff done.

5 am And It’s On

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Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it. ~Richard Whately

So I woke up at 5 am on a Tuesday morning. It was easy as I had gone to bed at 9 PM. But I found that by 6 I was ready to go back to bed. So I drank a whole 2L bottle of cola and several cups of iced black coffee.

But what I got done.

I had purchased JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts at Udemy for a ridiculously low price and heard good things about it. I wanted to dive in. I did that for a whole hour. By 6 I was ready to move on to Treehouse.

I went to Treehouse and learned more about AJAX. By 8, 2 hours before I had to leave, I had done more than I would have if I had waited till the end of the day. I went and did some homework at 8 and by 9:30 I was ready to leave.

Hustle Now, Regret It Later

Some people are born with very little; some are fortunate enough to have it all. When I grew up, we didn’t have much. I had to hustle to get what I wanted… but I had that hunger for more. I didn’t always make the right choices, but I learned from my mistakes.
– Curtis Jackson

I was born poor. We didn’t have much. Eventually, through hard work, mom got a better position and lost it during the infamous PA furloughs of 88. She had garnered a better salary again eventually by longevity only. By then I was out of the house and on my own with no money of my own. I still don’t have money, and with the hand I had been dealt early I’ve had to struggle, get lucky, and hustle.

I want to build cool things. I want to be a full stack developer. Nothing has grabbed my attention like this. But I also need security. A steady income. I don’t have that right now. So getting up at the crack of dawn to improve my chances of being a good developer when I am all said in done is worth the tired eyes on the commute back home at 6 PM. Time to hustle like my life depends on it, because it honestly almost does.

Should You Be Copying That Code?

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Let\’s be honest: Even after your undergraduate degree, the majority of an entry-level developer\’s time is spent Googling how to get that code to work and aimlessly copying and pasting snippets from across the internet. You finally get the damn thing to work, but did you learn anything in the process?

I have definitely been the culprit of copying and pasting code without much scrutiny. In a rush to meet deadlines, I scroll through the blocks of text to get to the goods. I have yet to be burned by a stray

rm -rf

(or equivalent malicious code) by some jerk but that could brick my machine!

I\’ve learned that when I research online, it helps most to look at the big picture rather than just skipping to code blocks. I try to learn by following someone\’s thought process. How efficient is this solution? Why did they choose it? Is it even worthwhile? Over my first year in the industry, I\’ve gotten slightly proficient in discerning whether someone knows what they are talking about. It takes time.

When you are working on a project, it\’s important to follow the old adage of not reinventing the wheel. However there are a couple exceptions to this rule:

  1. Unless otherwise stated, the code on your homework exercises should be your own.
  2. You have a moment to dig deep into exploring your language of choice. For example, I\’ve loved sometimes abstaining from JQuery and finding the pure ECMAScript way of life. I sometimes do things that few people do in pure Javascript, and that forces me to learn from ideas and taking a shot of dealing with implementation from scratch. This means I cannot look for an exact answer!

Caution!

When you work on an assignment in school, it is tempting to copy entire code blocks, but take extreme caution. On a simple coding assignment testing your knowledge of syntax and algorithms, you will inevitably get busted for plagiarism.

In the end, I\’ve found that I\’ve learned the most from perusing documentation. I\’m lucky to be working mainly with Javascript using Sencha frameworks with some C# here and there, which all have excellent documentation. For the beginner, documentation can be scary and dry, but all of them follow common conventions which allow for quick get-in-and-out reference. Learning to love documentation is a must!