May 16, 2017

Baby Steps: When A Lot of Work Doesn't Get You Very Far

Baby Steps: When A Lot of Work Doesn't Get You Very Far

Making an app is hard.

I'm asserting that primarily as a fact, maybe secondarily as a complaint.

I'm trying to constructively kill the time until I start my studies at Fullstack Academy, so for the past couple weeks I've been working my way through the prep course for another web development school called Thinkful and I'm almost done. I just submitted an assignment where I had to make a quiz app that asks a user ten questions and then grades their responses at the end. You can see it here.

As someone who uses high quality applications all the time, I know that what I made is a useless piece of crap. It's only use was to teach me about DOM manipulation, events, and managing front-end state. But as the person who made that piece of crap, I just can't believe how much work it took. Like, it kind of makes me sad how much work it took. If something so menial can take a solid 16 hours, I can't imagine what it takes to build the core of an enterprise level application.

I've run into this feeling several times now: a lot of work doesn't get you very far in programming. It's all baby steps. You can spend days trying to develop some simple little widget that most people take for granted as a universal feature of all apps. The amount of work you put into that little feature won't even register in the consciousness of most people who see what you made. You'll probably even think it's pretty unimpressive yourself, despite the many hours you put into trying to make it just right.

It's a little disheartening, but I'm holding out hope that it gets better.

If you've experienced this as a developer, I'd love to know how you deal with it/think about.