If I Can Do It, You Can Too!
Written by Preston Lamb
Posted on Jan 21, 2018
I've tried to write this post multiple times. I could never find the right way to word it though, or felt like nobody would care. But I was thinking about how my career has gone so far, and how lucky I feel, that I want to give one other person some hope. So hopefully this touches at least one person out there.
I started college in the fall of 2010 at Utah State University, planning on an exercise science degree and then going to physical therapy. After the first year in that program, however, I realized it wasn't for me. After talking with my wife and a few others, I decided to try a computer science class. I really enjoyed it, and switched my major. I got an internship the next summer, got a job on campus, and started on this career path. I ended up graduating in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Computer Science.
After graduating I found a great job with a great company. I was creating HTML templates from designs for WordPress theme creation. It was great, but I wanted to get into web app development, and felt stuck. I was grateful for my degree, but didn't really feel like I'd been prepared for the workforce. I didn't know where to go and felt kind of lost.
At the time, I had a friend, Tyler McGinnis (some of you may know him) who had gone to a bootcamp and was doing some great things, and I saw his success and wondered if I could ever come close to that. I started talking to my wife about the fact that I might need to go to a bootcamp night program to learn what I felt I needed to get where I wanted to go. I also reached out to Tyler and asked if I could pick his brain a little bit.
I'll always be grateful for that chat I had with Tyler. He probably doesn't even remember it, but it made a big difference. I talked to him about some of my worries, and he basically told me, "You're going to be okay. You clearly know how to learn, since you got a computer science degree, and you'll be able to do this too." At the time, I was interested in AngularJS, and Tyler recommended a book (ng-book) by Ari Lerner, which I bought and studied. He also told me just to build stuff and practice it. This little pep talk and these two pieces of advice helped so much.
This all happened in the fall of 2014. I now sit here in early 2018, and I'm not sure exactly how I have gotten here. As I look back, it took a lot of work. It took a lot of studying. It took a lot of practice. It took a lot of dedication. But step by step, I get better and improve. I made mistakes along the way. I still make mistakes now. The code that I wrote early on was not as well-written as it might be now. But guess what? That's okay. In 6 months I'll look back on the code I write today and think about how I could improve it. That's part of the game. We all go through that.
The bottom line is this: if I can do it, so can you. If you're feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or like you're just not good enough, don't give in to those feelings. Be willing to work hard and put yourself out there, and you'll be just fine. There's nothing special about me that you can't replicate. I promise you can do it. Just keep going forward, one step at a time.