Dealing with doubt and change as a techie.
With a pat on my shoulder, the teacher looked at me and said “keep at it!”. What? I asked myself. Am I coming to university to hear such nonsense from a teacher?
At that time I had no idea how impactful this simple phrase could be. As I progressed through university, learnt new skills, and grasp abstract concepts in courses, I noticed the increasing frequency at which I had to tell myself “keep at it”. Maybe my teacher was on to something!
Hey all, welcome back! I hope you and your family are all safe during this pandemic. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the the battles young tech students, and professionals face. Therefore, i’m writing this article to discuss some of those battles and how you can overcome them.
There are two specific challenges that I want to discuss, namely self-doubt and dealing with changes.
In simple terms, self-doubt can be defined as a feeling of uncertainty regarding certain aspects of yourself, such as your skills or talents.
self doubt can be crippling to anyone’s progress throughout life. With the nature of the tech industry, letting self doubt run free will most certainly result in you losing out on opportunities, relationships, and much more. Understanding your doubts, and learning to deal with them can be empowering.
Self doubt may appear in different forms. You may find yourself saying things like “am I good enough or ready to do this?”, “will I be able to complete task?”, “are my skills enough to apply for this internship”. You may even notice some levels of anxiety, procrastination, and difficulty making decisions when you’re experiencing self doubt. For me, I tend to ask myself “can I do this?”. That’s how I know that some form of self doubt is creeping in. So, how does one cope with self doubt?
These are some simple techniques that I’ve found to be helpful:
Change the way you view self doubt
It is important to understand that some level of self doubt is normal when you are faced with new or challenging situations. Use self doubt as an indication to self assess and identify the areas/skills that you may need to improve on in order to accomplish the initial goal that triggered the doubt.
Use past success to push yourself
If you look back, you’ll definitely find a past experiences where you had some level of doubt, but still propelled above it. Use these experiences as a source of strength to overcome your current situation.
“Doubt can only be removed by action.”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
After you start to work on something you’ll start to notice that your doubts gradually dissipates. Personally, this is something I keep in the back of mind, “doubt can only be removed by action“. So I do my best to take action regardless of my doubts, knowing that eventually, at some point, the doubt will fade away. Then, surprisingly at the end of it you realise that it really wasn’t as bad as you thought.
For example, in 2018 I worked as a software developer for the first time. I was tasked with implementing an image cropper as a feature within a web application. At first I was uncertain about my ability to complete this task, but I worked on it regardless. Eventually, the doubt faded, and soon thereafter the feature was implemented.
Ironically, at the time of writing this, a friend reached out to me asking for assistance in implementing an image cropper.
Dealing with changes
Changes are inevitable, and it seems to happen every hour in the tech industry. It can be a daunting task for tech students, and professionals to keep up with or adjust to the changes happening. However, it is important be able to do so. So, how do you manage changes?
Here’s some tips that may work:
Be open to change
Never make the mistake of becoming overly attached to a particular technology, language, framework, or process. This will make you a bit resistant to using an alternative. Thus, making it harder for you to adjust accordingly in the event that what you’re using has suddenly becomes obsolete (which could happen before you finish reading this), or there are truly better alternatives which you should consider.
Without having to go into details, I can confidently say that the current pandemic has taught us all to be open to change
Fall in love with learning
Being a part of the tech industry means that you will be continuously learning something new in order to get things done. Learning is an everyday aspect of this industry, and changes usually means you have to learn something new. A new language, framework, way of doing things, way of thinking, or something new about the things you already know. You simply have to love learning so that you can stay atop of things.
This doesn’t mean we should try to learn everything there is. I was once like that. Learning something takes time and effort, so you should ensure that the decision to learn something is an informed one or one that simply had to be made.
Follow experts on social media
Follow industry experts on social media to get insights into what’s happening or is about to happen. Experts are usually on top of the different shifts happening in the industry.
Doubts, and changes can prove difficult to handle. I have shared some things that I do to deal with both doubt and changes. Regardless of the challenges you may face in dealing with both doubt and change, it is important to stay on course, never give up. Simply, keep at it!
I hope you found this helpful. Until next time, think, learn, create, repeat.