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Hello, world. And why I'm blogging.


tl: dr;

This is my first of hopefully more-than-one blog posts. I have high hopes for this new endeavor, as you may notice from the 5 separate instances of the word "hopefully." If anyone learns something from this — about web development or about me — I'll consider it a smashing success.

I'm blogging! Look at me go! Ugh, I already hate every word I've typed and it's just downhill from here. Now that I've finished my compulsory meta commentary where I write about the experience of writing, I'm ready to get down to business.

Blogging Goals

1. Contribute to the Web Dev Community

I'd like to be an active participant of the wide and wonderful world of web dev, not just a passive consumer. If it's possible for me to write some thing that one stranger on the internet finds useful, I'll have knocked this goal out of the park. I know I'm setting the bar pretty low, but hey, baby steps!

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that right now I'm most well known for having a neat portfolio website. Don't get me wrong, it's totally cool having any kind of recognition for your work. But I made this portfolio site over one weekend in 2015 while attending Startup Institute, and I totally cribbed the initial design inspiration from a website I found in the "Showcase" section of the MaterializeCSS docs . I never got to say thanks, Joel. So, thanks!

So yeah I'd like to have a more interesting and meaningful impact, and that's a big part of why I want to start writing.

2. Enhance and Document My Learning

I've learned so, so much in the last 8 9 years (I just had to look up the exact date on my resume, I must be old). How much of it do you think I've written down? Survey says, not nearly enough!

Case in point, we started using Redux at work about 6 months ago, implemented in a few places, and then everyone on the team basically forgot about it. We found a new use-case for it last week, but it all looks like gibberish to me. If you don't use it, you lose it, obvi. So when I inevitably lose it, hopefully I'll at least be able to peruse it in my copious, sometimes public notes aka "blogs." And then, you know, put it back into use!

I've also found that teaching is one of the single best ways to learn something new. It can help solidify a familiar practice, iron out the nitty gritty details of something you only know at a surface level, and it can reveal quirks that you would have otherwise never encountered. Maybe I haven't yet mentioned it, but I also love teaching, and I've done a fair amount of it. So when I can't be teaching or mentoring regularly IRL, I can use this as another outlet to document my learnings so that both present day me and future me can better utilize that knowledge.

3. Communicate with Future Teammates or Employers

Crazy, right? Using this blog I can literally talk with people I don't know yet... from the future.


- Keanu Reeves

In point #1 my audience is unknown, random folks hoping to solve a specific problem or learn something new. In #2 the audience is me. And in #3, my audience is people I may one day have the pleasure of working with. It's important to me (and hopefully to them, too) that we understand each other as well as possible, and I don't feel like the standard tech interview process always succeeds at accomplishing that. Sometimes stuff gets lost in translation or never gets translated at all.

For example, one of the best parts of my job as a full stack developer at WeSpire is giving and receiving code review. It's an incredible opportunity to learn from others, to share best practices, to collaborate on different ideas and and approaches, to improve the product, and to champion the accomplishments and success of your coworkers. I can hear some of you at home (I've moved my audience goal post from one stranger to *gasp* multiple strangers, and the first blog post ink hasn't even dried yet! Ambitious.) are wondering if all that should really be within the purview of code review and, OK, that's fair. But the point is that communicating effectively is such a crucial part of being a good developer, and until now only a very small amount of people have gotten to see or hear me do that.

If you, potential employer or coworker of the future, want to know how I think, how I express myself, or what I'm curious about, then I want this to be a good place to start. Hopefully you'll find my writing to be a more engaging and accurate representation of my work than the outcome of an arbitrary whiteboard algorithm session. I mean, those are totally fine for people that enjoy or excel at them but I'm not one of them.

I've already written way more than I expected to for my first post. If I get all my great ideas out now, I'll have nothing left to write about and this will have a been a fun but very short experiment.

Stay tuned for the next positively scintillating post, which may or may not discuss:

Wondering if I need to sign my blog posts,

- Andrew

P.S. I love my cat.

P.P.S. My girlfriend/editor wrote that last P.S. But she's not wrong! 😆🐈❤️