Short feedback loops are one of the big things that attracted me to software development. When I first started it was through rails and the constant back and forth of hacking away in my IDE and switching to my browser to see what if anything changed. When I learned about TDD and automated tests, the feedback loop got even shorter. Well, at least in theory.
In reality, because of my lack of experience, TDD sometimes makes my feedback loop non-existent. If I can’t figure out how to write a good test for code I want to create, I’m stalled. When I’m stalled, there’s no feedback. There’s just helter-skelter research and a prayer that something I’m stumbling upon will help unclog the mental pipes. I waste a lot of time in this no-man’s land. The worst is when I end up giving up (in a way). I decide that there’s no possible way for me to conquer the stuckness on my own and that the only recourse is the torture of hunting through pages and pages of results for perfect piece of code that will solve all my problems, as if that has ever happened.
The more difficult things become, the more I have to learn and the less time I have to do it, the more I tend to default to No-man’s land. I’ve thought about it, and I think it has a lot to do with self-efficacy. As I understand it, self-efficacy reefers to my belief in my own ability to to something. Generally, I think I have pretty high self-efficacy, but recently, I think it’s dipped and it’s getting me into trouble. I think it’s dipped because of the extreme newness of everything I am working on. I don’t even see the starting point half the time, and with that lack of vision, the way towards the goal is definitely obscured.
I think I’m finally feeling the pain of coming at all this from a non-traditional background. Increasingly, I feel like there’s a lot of ground to make-up and not that much time to do it. As such, I guess it makes sense why I opt for apparent shortcuts.
All this makes me feel like I’m strong on pride and lacking in humility. It’s below the surface for sure, but to me, shirking away from feedback implies a fear of being wrong.\ Furthermore, the way I’ve been approaching getting feedback is usually, to affirm my assumptions instead of seeking ways to discredit them. I think the latter probably is more valuable.
Anyway, this is devolving into more of a journal entry than I would like. I’ll leave off by saying that despite the feelings of inadequacy and the stress that comes with it. I’m still loving this career switch. I can’t really imagine anything I’d rather be doing at this point in my life. There’s a real joy in figuring things out. I want to remember that.