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An Epic, Thoughtful Blog Post by Yours Truly (a.k.a Yovel Johns)

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

― Thomas A. Edison

This post is about how I have re-framed thinking about two concepts that strike fear in the hearts of many: success and failure.

My name is Yovel. I live in Seattle. This does not make me a default techie, it just means I have a collection of rain boots and outerwear at home. I am also what you might call a “late adopter” of all things tech based. Why, I just got my first smart phone in August 2015, and that was only after my Dad kicked me off our family plan and I had to bid adieu to my beloved flip phone.

How I came to be interested in coding and how I became a Winter 2016 Cohort member at Tech Talent South’s Atlanta campus is a longer story for another day, but it did begin in May of 2005 when I graduated with my B.A. in English (success!), around 40k in student loans (doh!), and about as much clue with what would happen next as Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate” had (failure!). No one even talked to me about plastics.

Conservatively over the last ten years I have had 15,427 jobs, most of which I wore a name tag to (failure!?). The last one I worked at for five years, I loved it, and it provided me with the funds to go in a new direction I’m excited about (success!?). On January 11th, I started at Tech Talent South with the absolute knowledge I would be The Best Coder in the World (success…?).

To put it mildly, I have *not* taken to coding like the proverbial duck in water.

This is not to say that I don’t find it fascinating, I do. Most days I struggle to get anywhere with my homework (failure). I am usually very sure everyone in my class has way more idea what they are doing than I do. I signed up for an extra Intro to Ruby Class through the Girl Develop It! nonprofit so I can get more practice with the basics (failure).

Sick of me making intractable pronouncements over my life-or coding-experience yet? At some point I realized I was.

What I can accept is that I am a learner, and that part of learning is being a beginner. If I was going to school to learn welding, I would never berate myself for not knowing the first thing about the ins and outs of a welding torch. Just because more people have computers around their home versus welding torches doesn’t mean I automatically have to know everything about how it works simply because a computer is a more common sight.

What has been more helpful to me, and why I feel I do have a place at Tech Talent South and something to contribute to the dev community at large, is the idea that whether I am immediately successful or not at something I am working on, I AM working on it. So, ask more questions. Be slower than everyone else if you have to. Read. A lot. Form community. Test. Test again.

Enjoy yourself.

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