I’ve been in Chicago for about four months now (wow, I didn’t realize it had been that long until I wrote it) and I’ve been steadily working on a few things. I’ve been working on my writing by just doing more of it in more places. I’ve been working on getting more connected with the Chicago web development and design community. Combined with that I’ve been constantly working on my web development and design skills and found myself feeling the need for some additional instruction and mentorship and ended up at Code Academy. As part of these last two items I’ve been attending some Meetups in Chicago focused on the various skills I’m trying to better myself at and areas in which I’d like to meet some people.
Two days ago I attended a Meetup of the group called Refresh Chicago which is a group that essentially encompasses all of my current interests and aspirations. And as an added bonus one of my instructors at Code Academy, Shay Howe, is a co-organizer. The topic for this month was UX and Russ Unger presented. Russ is an expert in the field and spoke about the field of UX in general and the current state of it.
A point came up during his talk that really struck a cord and got me thinking. He talked about the need for a “fake it till you make it” mentality. This is no new idea, but one that I’ve realized I’m no good at. The reality is, as I’m coming to see, that I am way more capable and knowledgeable than I give myself credit for. I end up getting hung up on some of the things I’m shaky on and letting that dictate how I present myself and even the type of work I try to go after. “Well, that description is asking for some .Net experience and I have none therefore I need to be smarter for that job.” That’s my mentality and that as it turns out, isn’t all that helpful. By going down this path the feelings of inadequacy will never end.
In this field being full of shit to some extent appears to be more than common. It’s really a necessity. I think a lot of the people that are hiring in this category aren’t completely sure what the hell they’re even after (just look at some job descriptions for a web developer). Folks that are working in the web world are by and large capable in multiple areas, and more importantly, very interested in learning new things. Being a web designer or web developer or UX designer can be really broad titles will all sorts of varying expertises. It’s just impossible to know everything that seems like is required. I’m realizing I’m not the only one seeing this and it would have been really nice if one of you would have told me about this sooner (jerks…actually, you’re all pretty nice).
The professions in the web industry are all so young and are still being figured out by everyone. Roles just aren’t clearly defined and a lot of the time different skill sets blend together or separate depending on the job. Being at least a little full of shit is just part of the current state of affairs. Or maybe it’s just part of life in general. Ok, that’s a little too deep. We’ll leave that one for another day.