Warning: incoming torrent of thoughts and generally being annoyed at my situation.
I’ve been doing this for years and feel like I’m getting nowhere. I can throw together something pretty decent and still not really remember what I did. I’m beginning to feel I wasn’t “made” for this.
On the one hand, I’m seriously good at analyzing and systemizing, but on the other… I could swear I just wouldn’t “cut it”. I have a crappy min-wage job and it’s been a few years since I graduated. I planned this long ago, I had visions I’d be a front end developer, and now I’m at a crossroads, wondering how I can transfer these skills to a different career or whether I should stick to it.
Here are some of my major concerns (I’m freaking out):
-> My degree is in IT. I know this is okay as long as you know your stuff, but 1) this means you have to try harder than a CompSci major (and I either don’t try that hard or I do but it’s ineffective), and 2) I seem to not really know my stuff. I sound like I know what I’m talking about when I speak in technical terms, but when it comes time to walk the walk… that’s when it hits the fan. Why? Read the next point.
-> I “intuit” through a lot of my projects. They’re all pretty much a blend of copy-paste, refactoring, looking up methods, abstracting from tutorials, and my own/new code. This means if I were given a blank file, I could probably put together a responsive HTML/CSS/JS site, but I can’t for the life of me remember even some small things off the top of my head because by now they’re “boilerplate” to me and I don’t do things from scratch any longer.
I can’t, for example, remember what the Foundation grid classes are called, although I’ve used it many times in the past, just not regularly enough to recall it without looking it up. Same goes for CSS3 animations. Is this normal? Do I need to be more ‘present’? What if that’s just not how my brain works? Like… I can’t compartmentalize much and make logic leaps (I try stuff out because I somehow “know” it works), which solves the coding problems but I feel like that’s not what employers want. I’ve just realized that all this time I had been doing it out of enjoyment, and while I’ll have coded an awesome looking project, my productivity is abysmal. Which leads to my next point.
-> I either go too slow (this is when I try to understand, in depth, everything I’m coding, which is not productive and leads to hyper focusing/memorization) or too fast (this is when I “intuit” through things without paying too much attention to how I solved a certain problem unless it’s something I’m REALLY stuck on, even then I’ll ‘lose’ it after a few weeks and only remember the abstraction).
-> It scares me when I read about technical interviews, I get really afraid being put on the spot. I’m no software developer or any type of “engineer” where I know design patterns and architecture details. It seems they want someone perfect: someone who can remember all syntax (I don’t), someone who has awesome workflow (I don’t), someone who reacts well to being judged on their code and thinking process while put on the spot (I really, truly don’t), someone who can do algorithms without breaking a sweat (I don’t), etc…
-> At this point, I’m considering I could just start at some small agency and work my way up from there?? I can’t even intern at this point, I’m too “old” and no longer a student. It’s either that or I change careers altogether. But my resume is dripping with technical skills, how is this transferable? Even designers need to have like 2 art degrees nowadays.
Anyone want to help put me at ease? Am I right that I’m not cut out for this? I’d love to be able to Skype someone and have them quiz me and tell me what’s up with my brain because I’m about to call it quits.