Altconf Events

AltConf 2019 – Pay it forward by being you

July 1, 2019

Disclaimer: this is a series of posts about the AltConf and WWDC 2019. For all the posts and an introduction on what they are, check this post. Now, let’s get started.

I gave a lot of thought about the order that I was going to post my keynote reviews. “Should I post it in chronological order?” It makes sense right!? But then I thought “I should post first the ones that touched me the most”. Those that I could not stop talking about, the ones that made my eyes sparkle, the ones that made me move my hands all over the air when I’m was talking about them.

With that in mind, I want to start with the keynote by Mayuko named “Pay it forward by being you”,  not coincidently the name of this post. It was SO touching to see a keynote about feelings, cause… you know… besides being developers we are… humans! She talked about taking it easy on yourself, how to deal with the imposter syndrome, how to recognize the folks who work with you, basically, how to contribute with the next generation of developers.

But before I get into the keynote, if you haven’t heard of the imposter syndrome yet, let me give you a quick explanation and share a little bit of my experience with that.

“The imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud” – quoting Wikipedia, which quotes someone nicer

 I’ve been a software developer for over three years now and I have dealt with this “disorder” every single day. And it sucks! Not feeling good about yourself or confident you can do something is self-diminishing and self degradable.

So, what can we do to change that? And even help the people that surround us to be less impacted by it? In her talk, Mayuko summarizes what we can do in three steps:

1. Figure out who you are

2. Show people who you are

3. Best is subjective

Let’s go over them in more detail and I’ll give my perceptions on each.

1. Figure out who you are

Every now and then I start to think “do I still want to be a developer?”, “what am I going to do next?”, “do I wanna follow the management career or do I want to dive into the engineering?”. Probably most of you have thought about that or have had other doubts about your professional path. It’s important to look that closely and find a way to understand yourself and discover what you like, what are the things that make you feel human. There’s a good chance you can relate your job with the things you like to do.

2. Show people who you are

Express yourself, let people know who you are, what you like, what you do. Technology has filled us up with options to share stuff. Facebook, Instagram, Medium, WordPress, Youtube, Tik Tok, Snapchat, whatever your communication skill is, there’s a tool for that. And if there isn’t… well… you’re a developer *wink face*.

Showing our insecurities might feel daunting but that’s a really good way to connect with others. In your workplace, try to create a safe space, where you and your fellas can share the difficulties you have, the uncertainties, the fears. I bet that you will all feel much better after a bit of talk, a warm coffee, and a good hug (if you’re a hug person, of course).  Recognizing day to day accomplishments is also a good shot! Did someone develop a really cool feature? Send a “you go dev!” message! Does your coworker look upset? Try sending a “hi, I’m here for you”. Then scale it up, talk to your managers and try to move that into the company’s culture.

At the end of the day, we are humans with feelings. It’s crucial that we don’t forget that.

3. Best is subjective

I could make a whole post only about that but I’ll control myself, promise. On this subject, Mayuko talked about how your best is different from someone else’s best, how people want best in different things and how there’s no way to tell what best means for anybody. We tend to force ourselves to be “perfect” and achieve perfection in each project we do. “That painting isn’t good enough. GARBAGE!”, “that SDK isn’t good enough to open source. GARBAGE!”.

How much are we wasting not publishing those stuff? Wouldn’t it be better to achieve a certain amount of “best” and release it? That’s when Mayuko says “80%”. Just get to that percentage of the project and then let it go. You’ll probably be just picking minor details or doing unneeded tweaks at that point. So don’t be too harsh on yourself.

❤️

Overall, this talk was about dealing with feelings, understanding yourself, showing what you are to the world and taking it easy so you won’t freak out in every project. With technology advances, I think it’s extremely important that we don’t forget the *human* side of people. Let’s talk about our feelings, share experiences, we can lean on each other and grow together. It will certainly help not just you but also the next generation of developers.

Hugs! <3

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