This time, 3 weeks ago I was suffering from a massive crisis of confidence regarding my web development abilities, but this week the tables have turned and my confidence levels couldn’t be higher. Funny that.
I’ve always been happy to admit that while I’m not the best PHP programmer in the world, I am competent but, three weeks ago I was coming to the end of my tether whilst trying to write a small snippet of PHP code. the code was suppose to work out how accurately-matched certain pages within a CMS were to each other based upon the tags applied to them. I asked colleagues for advice which I got (but, couldn’t comprehend); I’d put the actual coding off while I thought about it for days; I’d written dozens of variants of a function for the task all of which didn’t quite work and came to a frustrating dead-end; I’d even drawn the problem out on paper in pseudo-code (numerous times) but nothing was working.
This was really getting me down. “I’m not cut out to be a web developer,” I thought with pure self-deprecation, “maybe I should change careers and get into SEO.” At the end of the week, I spent the weekend moping around and dreading Monday morning and more despair at the hands of the dreaded task. Then, all of a sudden, on the Sunday evening came my eureka moment* and I knew exactly what I had to do to fix this problem.
* In actual fact, I realised a few days later my eureka moment was only to come to the same conclusion that my colleague came to, in a split second, the week previously when, I asked him for advice.
On Monday morning, I went to work with a renewed vigour and solved the programming issue within 10 minutes and discovered a php function (array_diff()) that pretty much did all the work for me. Hurrah!
I always find it amazing how 1 week I can be on top of the world, my blog is getting more readers, I’m learning new things and getting projects done at work with ease then a few weeks later I can be down in the dumps wondering how I’m going to get through the next few days. I know what you’re thinking and for the record, I’m not bipolar.
To climb out of the slump, the solution, for me anyway, is to take some time out to relax. Make sure I’m reading up on new things and make sure I’m being active at home i.e. sitting at home all night watching TV is great once in a while but if I find I’ve been doing it non-stop for a couple of weeks I’ll belatedly realise I’ve been a bit despondent during that period.
It’s my belief that everyone goes through the stages like this, and it isn’t unique to web developers or people still carving-out their careers. Attacks of confidence stop you from becoming a bit of a know-it-all and adds a bit of humility to your character which is surely a good thing.