From the start, it was clear that I was getting programmed by the engineers at elevio. I didn’t mind, I knew that I knew nothing and I knew that they knew that I knew nothing. This was my first full-time web development role! And so, on Feb 2nd I was born again as a Javascript baby, chucked in a time capsule with a laptop and whooshed through Javascript time and space, starting from 2008. Stripped of my knowledge of jQuery, I built mini-projects for a revamp of our website armed with only vanilla JS and ES5.

On Mondays, Paul began to regale tales of ‘Javascript land’ and ‘in the programming universe’ and ‘in Javascript world’ and deep inside I just wanted to be accepted as a real Javascript person. In vanilla JS did I feel the real plight of the Javascript people and MVCs and how shit just gets messy in a spiral of callbacks across several files and I didn’t want to be a Javascript baby any more, I wanted to grow up! For if people invented tools and new frameworks so society didn’t need to experience the pains of early Javascript, why did I have to?!

No Magic for Mortal Me! featuring the magical James, Paul and Luke.

No Magic for Mortal Me! featuring the magical James, Paul and Luke.

At certain levels of desperation, I even prayed to the Javascript Gods for better Javascript knowledge but they only whispered, “Chloe, just write more code”. But the Javascript Gods didn’t really answer. I realised I had to feel the pain of my Javascript predecessors to understand just how and why, we are where we are today. I learned how to shoulder the discrimination of the Javascript people from the Others like Keshav.

"Hey chloe come see something I wrote in one line in haskell that does what javascript does in 92837498 lines"

“Hey chloe come see something I wrote in one line in haskell that does what javascript does in 92837498 lines”

It’s been a few months and, sure, I’m creating little React apps, but do you know what I really learnt very early on? I learnt how to accept that I really sadly, shamefully, painfully, know nothing but, you know, I am learning how to own it like knowing nothing is a skill. Jon Snow knew nothing, and he owned it. He became a meme! He also became a real legend!

I don’t want to become a meme, but knowing how to know nothing is something in itself.

How do you own knowing nothing?

1. Accept that you know nothing / ~open your mind~

I did a twelve week programming bootcamp, after which you’re meant to be equipped with the all powerful and all knowing brain bits to start a new coding career! But let’s be real! Twelve weeks is nothing. Get rid of that funky smelling ego. Mastering something takes years. Read this and thank Keshav.

2. Like learning!

If you don’t like learning, you may be ignorantly blissful… but also very vulnerable, incompetent, tiresome, etc etc. (i.e. you’ll kinda suck!) It definitely helps to be interested in what you’re learning about; if not, you’re a little screwed. In any case, not my problem.

3. Ask questions (wisely)!

Be inquisitive! I don’t know if Paul has realised it but I unfortunately overthink things so I try and think of like 29874 different ways I can ask “Paul, help my drowning soul?” I say “Paul” with varying intonations, sometimes I slack him, I intercept him at different points of the day… I kid (or do I). Now I also do this to the rest of my team! Don’t be afraid to ask because how else will you know? Obviously try to solve your own problem first. If you’re unsure of what to do, what are the options that you think will work? So if you present a problem, at least you can show that you tried, or the possible avenues to be explored! Think about future considerations too, don’t ask questions every three minutes – ask yourself, “Do I really need to ask this now? Will my code commit seppuku because I’m not asking right now?” If not, save it for three hours of questions later, thanks Paul. But of course, set a time limit on your struggles. If your brain deficiencies will make you unproductive for the rest of the day, go get more brain from someone else. There is also a lot of learn from suffering, so it is important to withstand the pain. If you heed all this advice, you can really save the “I really have no fuckin clue” wildcards for later and make yourself look less dumb ┌( ಠ‿ಠ)┘

4. Evaluate whether you are around people who love learning too.

You’ll want that because they’ll want to help you learn! Thankfully, everyone at elevio answers all my questions. I can even ask if there are short NBA players are (I’m short and don’t know much about basketball) and get an answer.

MUGGSY BOGUES!Or how ping pong balls (really solid soundtrack and content, would recommend) are made and we’ll find an answer together.

So if you’re around people who aren’t interested in learning anything new, seriously reevaluate your surroundings.

5. Learn How You Learn

Sometimes, if something I’m reading or watching becomes too intense, I draw it out in a mind map or as a very bad doodle. Below, is my questionable diagram of dependency injections that I used to seek clarifications. You do you.

dependency injections

But all in all, I think I’m doing okay at knowing nothing. Everyone’s been g r 8, and I’ve been having a fantastic time learning the javascripts, so really, thank you elevio for having me onboard!

*lol i am yung no judgies

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Reflections from a Yung JS Hatchling on Knowing Nothing*

by Chloe Phua time to read: 4 min
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