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Failure Will Make You a Better JavaScript Developer

June 23, 2023
July 12, 2023
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Failure is a hard pill to swallow, but it's failure that allows us to grow as developers. When you're learning a language like JavaScript, there are a lot of concepts to take in, and even more ways to accomplish the same task. Sometimes, you'll choose a method that works...only to find out later that it's the "wrong" way to do it because of security, or efficiency. When that happens, many JavaScript developers will take the failure hard and let imposter syndrome take hold. In reality, these things will happen to you, and they should seen as a steppingstone as you work your way through junior developer all the way up to senior developer and beyond.


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The Comfort Zone

  • This is usually where we spend most of our time
  • It’s a safe place where you use the skills and technology you are familiar and comfortable with
  • You convince yourself that you don’t need to know more than what you already know 
  • This can relate to learning new technology or putting yourself out there and meeting new people
  • Growth happens outside the comfort zone
  • You need to be ok with failing

Learn to Fail

  • Learning to fail is not something you can just switch on in your brain and do, you need to practice at it
  • Start small, attend a virtual meetup, join and participate in a discord community, build a small app in a new technology
  • In all of these examples, you will probably have misfires, stutters and failures
    - You say something you think is weird at a meetup
    - You don’t get a good welcome in a Discord community
    - You can figure out a feature in the new tech
  • These are your first tests to see how you respond to failure, do you give up or to do continue on and try something different?
  • Different types of failure:
    - Tech Choice: Choosing the wrong technology for the job (ie Mike chose Grid before it was supported by all major browsers leading to a scramble)
    - Implementation: Not being able to implement a feature (ie Mike implemented a slideshow that had a memory leak on devices that ran all day)
    - Social: Saying the wrong thing during a meetup, conference, meeting, Not responding to a message
  • Be comfortable being uncomfortable
    - When taking on new projects/contracts I’m perfectly ok with using technology and skills that I haven’t used before.
    - I tend to look for a 60/40 split, where 60% of what I’ll be doing is in my comfort zone and 40% is directly outside of it
    - For example, I’ve worked with node js and react but never used Next.js before. I took a project that required Next and was able to successfully complete it even though a good portion of the tech was new to me
  • Ok you failed, so what?
    - Unless you’re designing life-critical/finance-critical systems so what if your code doesn’t run correctly?
    - So what if you take an extra day or two to complete a feature?
    - So what if you need to refactor a portion of your code because you chose the wrong framework/tech
    - So what if you said the wrong thing at the wrong time? (Ok maybe apologize here if it was actually bad)
    - Even large financial systems are built on top of failures
  • Battling through anger/disappointment
    - You don’t want to be the person that has to sit out of a group activity, sitting there all day on their phone

When to Give Up/When to Accept Failure

  • It’s different for every single situation
  • Burnout symptoms are something you need to learn to figure out
    - Hating to wake up in the morning because of what you’re working on
  • If your negativity or failure is directly affecting other people negatively
    - For a significant amount of time
  • Is it ever acceptable to give up?
    - Yes
  • Sunk cost fallacy 
  • Take the lessons from the failure and move on