I'm wearing a hat

August 25, 2020Coding

I've been writing code for over ten years now and much of that time I've done it professionally. I don't, however, always consider myself a developer. Some would classify this thinking as imposter syndrome. To me, it's something else.

I think of myself as the guy that gets things done. I'm not in love with any technology. I'm not in love with front-end or back-end. Technology, coding languages, and design frameworks are all just a means to an end. I'll learn whichever technology I need to get a project done, to solve a problem, or to fulfill some needs.

I love to think through the entire project from dev to design to marketing to customer service. I want projects to be sustainable and organized. Part of that equation is writing code that is elegant and easy to understand and maintain. When I'm wearing my developer hat — I am a developer.

Hats are interchangeable and I have a number of hats at my disposal. As a person focussed on outcomes, sometimes I need to wear every hat I've got. When a problem presents itself and it's out of scope for the hat I'm wearing, I look for another hat.

As humans, we love to categorize and label things. It makes the world easier to understand. It's a lot easier to apply labels outward onto others and harder to pin down the labels that apply to ourselves. Outward labels help us to think that we understand what we see and experience. It's harder to distill something that we know very well, like yourself, into categories because it's easy to see how little that categorization actually covers.

The categorizations you give yourself can start to feel flimsy when you meet people in the world that, in your eyes, fit the description better. What's worse is that when you see someone online, you can easily over assume qualities of the person and forget your own. When we talk with people in person, we try to connect and find things we both relate to. Reading and browsing online, however, is a one-sided conversation you have in your head and can easily make you feel much worse than you should.

Somebody else's shiny hat doesn't affect your own. For me, I like being able to change hats. I have strong curiosities in many areas and sticking to one style all the time is not what I need. For others, polishing and growing one hat may be exactly what they need.

At the end of the day, it's just a hat. It's up to you to decide how much that hat defines you.

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