The 5 Soft Skills You Learn By Coding

04-05-2021
#personal
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One of the reasons for starting this site (which I mentioned in my first ever post here) was to test out my coding and web development skills, which I have been learning since late 2018, focusing on HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build web pages like this one.

In this pursuit, I am proud to say I have found my passion.

I absolutely love web development and coding, thinking about it near constantly and always looking for opportunities to test my skills.

And in the act of learning this new skill, I have actually learnt a lot about myself, which I thought I would write down here for a reason that I haven’t quite figured out yet and have a sneaking suspicion is something to do with arrogance.

Coding soft skill #1 : Accepting being bad at something when first starting out

This is something I have heard multiple people say about learning basically any skill, but I don’t think I really took this to heart until I started learning how to code.

I absolutely sucked at coding when I started.

I still suck.

I will continue to suck for a while, maybe indefinitely.

But I am better than yesterday, and the day before that, and completely unrecognisable to the me that started in late 2018.

It takes a while to come to terms with being bad at something, but sticking to it and measuring your progress against your former self rather than others are the keys to not getting depressed at why your webpage looks like a 5 year old designed it.

Coding soft skill #2 : How to break problems into manageable chunks

Assessing the enormity of a challenge can be really demotivating. Many a time I used to look at a massive problem and say “why even bother?” or “where would I even start?”.

But coding has taught me that big goals, be it building your own site or developing a new piece of software and even goals outside of coding like running or learning to cook, are basically made up of lots of smaller challenges.

Yeah, I can’t cook a five course Italian meal, but I can learn how to cook the pasta in the right way, and then I can learn how to make the sauce and soon enough, I'll get there!

It reminds me of the old adage, "how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". God that sounds stupid now it's written down, but I'm leaving it in.

Coding soft skill #3 : The power of having ownership

Prior to starting my own site, I had never really owned anything 100% by myself.

My flat is rented, I work really collaboratively at work and I didn’t really have a creative outlet, but by creating my own site and learning a skill on my own time, I got the opportunity to have complete 100% control of an aspect of my life and as stressful as that can be, it’s an awesome way to learn and feel accomplishment.

Coding soft skill #4 : Artistic expression

I was, and I cannot stress this enough, absolutely awful at art at school.

I drew a fox once and 7 separate people couldn’t work out what I had drawn.

I painted an earnest self portrait and got marked down for “attempting an abstract” (I am just now realising that may have been a personal insult by the teacher rather than a comment on my artistic abilities).

But by trying new things, and sticking to them without worrying about what others think, you can find the artistic expression that you like, even if it's something really weird like annoying all your friends with your wildly inconsistent blog.

Coding soft skill #5 : Acceptance of mistakes

You may have noticed that I haven’t redesigned any of my old posts on this site and that each article’s styling differs wildly from each other (which is against best practice for web design).

When I started this site, I did it to test out new things and made the promise to myself that I wouldn’t change any of the old pages unless there was something technically wrong with them, instead leaving them as they were to having a living record of how I have improved as a web designer and developer.

By keeping my old, very basic and sort of terrible designs up, I can view my progress is a really satisfying way, and it gives me motivation to keep going and to keep learning.

Mistakes are part of learning, and if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying new things. Coding has taught me that it’s okay for others to see those mistakes as well.

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