Monday, November 29, 2010

Not Sure What to do? Do Something.

I know, I know. It's been a long time since I've blogged - I once again defer to my blog entitled "It's Coding Season" for my excuse! Like many I am back at work today after a long weekend - the kind of weekend that makes you forget about reality and work and you're embedded in a euphoric state of holidaydom with family and friends. But this morning it was back to the dreaded reality that I really have a lot to do. Darn it.

Like many Monday mornings, I grabbed a cup of coffee and padded into the office where stacks of virtual work awaited me. I was instantly grateful that I took the time last week before the holiday to clean off my desk and get the real stacks of paper off my credenza. But that ended once the computer was on, email was open, and my to do list was blaring at me. And so I sat here at my desk for a bit, not really knowing where to start, all the while knowing I needed to do something - no matter how seemingly small - to whittle down that to do list and make it more manageable.

By mid morning, I was starting to feel like I was accomplishing something. It reminded me of some of the students and novice coders I talk to who are so overwhelmed by prospects and job requirements that they're paralyzed by the fear of starting a new job. So if you're not sure what to do, here's my advice - do something. Eventually you will stumble onto something valuable that will help you get your foot in the door.

Does this sound familiar? The job description has a list of job requirements that you know you can do if given the chance, but you don't have experience. They call for coding experience, and you only have classroom hours. In addition to all the things you've trained for in school and basic office duties, they also want you to be a phlebotomist or rocket scientist. My point is, they probably aren't going to find a rocket scientist who can code and fix the copier, so stop focusing on what you can't bring to the table, and let them know what you can do. Are they looking for a team player? Are they looking for someone with project management skills? If your background and education (not just coding) brings additional skills to the table that they're looking for, this is the time to flaunt them. And be sure to let them know how passionate you are about learning coding too. With perseverance and hard work, by mid-morning, you might feel like you've accomplished something.