Things I Say to Motivate Myself

Here is a list of some of the (cheesy) motivational sayings and when I use them…

When I can’t solve a problem and I have to look up the answer… “I’ll get this next time”, “I’ll know this next time.”

When I’m too tired… “I’ll just do 5 minutes, or just a few seconds.”

When I really am too tired… “No more for today, I’ll rest, recharge,  and be ready tomorrow.”

When I get stuck… “This means I need to go for a walk.”

When I feel like I can’t do it… “If others have done it, then so can I.”

When I feel like I am horrible, that I am not making enough progress… “I just have to be better than I was before.
“I just have to go from sitting to crawling to my first steps. I can worry about running and climbing later.”


How she landed a Google internship in 6 months

Check out this great post by Joanna Chen: How I landed a Google internship in 6 months

She has has great advice on building, practicing coding problems (, meeting people, applying, etc.

Special thanks to Siddharth for being the first to introduce me to for free interview practice.

Coding Concentration Tips

Here are a few of my tips for focusing while coding (YMMV):

  • Have a compelling reason or goal for why you are coding or learning to code
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique
  • Experiment with music, white noise, no music
  • Take walks when stuck
  • Make sure to take breaks to recharge. During breaks focus more on your senses rather than your thoughts.
  • Use pen and paper to brainstorm especially before coding.

Most importantly, remember why you began coding–because it is fun. Focus on doing fun coding tasks as much as possible and the concentration and flow will often take care of itself.

Gearing up for success

Check out this amazing article on learning programming: Gearing up for success.

I wish this had been written when I first started.

I have especially benefited throughout the years from using The Pomodoro Technique, concentrating hard and then going for a walk/resting my mind, and focusing on the process of fun and learning instead of the outcome.

But to get all of the actionable tips read the article here: Gearing up for success.


Never quit

I first started learning programming in June 2012. It was fun and interesting. Coding made my time fly and just felt right to me.

However, I have definitely gone through all of these stages: Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard.

Every step of my journey, from learning, building, sharing, working, basically every single step has had its challenges and difficulties. I keep things in perspective by reminding myself that coding being challenging is a great thing, because the opposite would be a career or job where things are repetitive and boring. Still I have gotten discouraged when I have challenges with code, challenges with people, and challenges with code and people 🙂

But I will never give up. As long as coding remains awesome, as long as it stays fun and interesting, I will keep going through the process of try, fail, learn, and improve. I will keep having fun and learning, I will keep going, I will never quit.

On Data Structures and Algorithms…

I have started doing coding challenges at LeetCode. Even though I took a year-long Data Structures and Algorithms course in 2014, I am extremely rusty and cannot solve very many problems.

I was feeling overwhelmed until I saw this video: Watch Flavian solve three Rubik’s Cubes…BLINDFOLDED!

I read more about how he solved Rubik’s cubes while being blindfolded here: SpeedCubing win 2015 edition of Romania’s Got Talent with quick Rubik’s Cube solving.

This part stood out to me:

The group, called SpeedCubing, went on stage and solved Rubik’s cubes, blindfolded. This representation, for which they have memorized no less than 4,000 algorithms, got them the big prize of EUR 120,000.

I now feel much more confident about my goal to be able to solve problems by applying only a dozen or so algorithms–without a blindfold and without millions of people watching 🙂

Limiting Beliefs

Here are a few limiting beliefs I had and how I overcame them…

I need a degree to get a job 

I learned that this belief is simply not true by reading these success stories: You can get a coding job!

I have to get the most out of my potential

I learned that this is not true by taking Calculus III and Linear Algebra classes. I hated these classes. These classes made me realize that the most important thing to me is doing fun and interesting things with code.

I cannot build unless I have a tutorial

I first started learning how to build without a tutorial here: How I built my carousel image slider.

I really learned how to use Google, documentation, others’ code starting with this post: How to Get Inspired about Web Development.

I have to build a single massive portfolio piece with many features 

Many recruiters and technical people told me to put all of my learning and building into a single multifaceted website. But I ignored them because I had already started my daily sites and I was too stubborn to change course 🙂

I am glad I ignored them because I learned much more through repetition and daily building than I would have by building a single site. Special thanks to Omar for encouraging my daily site building.

Here are the lessons I learned from my daily sites:

I can’t do it. I can’t get hired, I can’t build a website, I can’t do this or that…

This belief is actually true. I cannot reach the outcome of many of my goals.

But I can take the next step and focus on the right actions. I can focus on the process and let the outcome take care of itself. This is liberating, to know that I only have to focus on the next step.

Impostor Syndrome

I have written before about Dealing with Coding Insecurities including experiencing some feelings of inadequacy at work.

I have found this video to be an amazing counter to my coding insecurities: How To Fight The Programmer Impostor Syndrome?

John Sonmez explained some great points such as compare yourself to where you were one year ago, or to where you were 5 years ago. When you compare yourself to your past self, you can really see how much progress you have made.

Another great point was that if you are not feeling overwhelmed, then you are not challenging yourself enough. The goal is to get into tough situations sometimes and really grow and improve from the adversity.

Check out the video here: How To Fight The Programmer Impostor Syndrome?


What is special about web development?

When I was building my daily sites I had a realization. I showed my psychologist friend Priya the first of my 88 sites: Are you likely to get sick? She immediately recognized the site and said, “It’s the Holmes and Rahe stress survey!”

This experience taught me that web development can be a bridge between computer science and psychology.

Web development is special because it can build bridges between computer science and finances, satire, and adorableness.

My question to you web developers both future and present: What bridge will you build next?

How to give yourself a coding boot camp

Here are the steps you can take to learn web development and get hired. This advice is based on my experiences so it is extremely biased 😉

  1. Save lots of money, ideally enough to cover 2 years of expenses. This would give you the option to quit your job and focus 100% on coding.
  2. Learn for free and get free help.
  3. Get inspired. Read How to Get Inspired about Web Development and You can get a coding job!
  4. If you have done steps 1-3, you can now begin your boot camp.
    Commit to building a site every day and blogging about what you have learned and built. Remember Jennifer DeWalt’s advice:

    Throughout the project a start small, keep going mantra was in my head. It is important to understand that you don’t necessarily need to understand to get things working. It is just as important to keep moving forward. The understanding will come eventually.

  5. Fully commit. Be willing to build 30 sites in 30 days, 100 sites in 100 days, 180 sites in 180 days, whatever it takes to get hired.
  6. After 30 days of building, revamp your resume and start applying for jobs.
  7. Prepare for interviews by doing code challenges. Free Code Camp has fun problems as does Code Wars.
  8. Don’t give up. You can do it! Keep going until your dream job is your day job 🙂