bits & bites from the world of code

If You Build It…


“If you build it, he will come” -Field of Dreams

Baseball season is now in full swing and a line made famous more than 25 years ago still resonates with many today. Although our dreams may be slightly less lofty than turning a cornfield into a baseball field for legendary sluggers, our goals are no less significant. We are just as busy building, constructing and developing as ever before.

For those of us in the web industry, it sometimes seems that “developing” is all we do.

But, how can you build or develop something using a new technology or tool? Where do you begin when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory?

For many web junkies, development is second nature. But, like baseball, a little training is required before stepping onto the field.

Cover Your Bases

When starting out in little league, pitchers don’t start throwing curve balls before mastering how to first throw a ball on target. It’s no use trying any fancy tricks before first mastering the basics.

As developers, the same can also be said.

Reading articles, attending conferences, completing tutorials and seeking out other resources are a required part of gaining a basic understanding of what we want to master. Spending time learning the basics before beginning the building and developing process can help save developers headaches down the road.

If you don’t know what variables or if/else statements are, conquering JavaScript (or any other language) will be twice as difficult. Remember, some quality spring training time can help prepare for the big leagues…so take advantage of it!

Step Up to the Plate

Of course, every developer — just like every ball player — is eager to put his or her skills to use. So, once you’ve grasped enough concepts to feel comfortable in the knowledge your’ve obtained, you’re ready to step up to the plate.

Start jotting down ideas for a project you want to build…whether it is a website, an app or something else. Determine how can you use your newfound skills in your project and determine what you still need to learn.

I have to admit that this stage has always been the most daunting to me. While some people jump right into projects, I tend to do the opposite. But I’ve recently realized that while it’s important to develop a sound foundation, spending too much time watching video tutorials or reading books can also hinder your progress. And, as I’m learning, there is wisdom that comes with experience.

Senior developers who say, “just build something” are right…development is key to really learning the ins and outs of a language or a tool.

Just Keep Swinging

As you start the building stage, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll strike out a few times — I know I certainly have. But practice makes perfect. Eventually you WILL hit a homerun.

Remember, achieving dreams requires hard work, patience and determination. But most importantly, it requires action. Sometimes simply stepping up to the plate is the most difficult thing to do. But don’t just settle for benchwarmer status. Put yourself in a position to hit one out of the park.

If you build it, the knowledge, the skills and the confidence will come. And with that, who knows what else may come down the line.