Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How We See Ourselves as Developers

It's common knowledge--among the female developer community, anyway--that women often under-represent their skills. Women say they can do what they've done before, where men say they can do whatever they think they can do, whether they've actually done it or not. It's kind of a confidence thing.

So, I've been calling myself a "Junior Developer", which is what I feel like most of the time. I feel like I'm being honest: I know I know a LOT--more than a TON of developers I have seen get hired. But I don't have consistent experience in a long term intense production environment--this is what I feel makes me junior.

Today I received this feedback (via a staffing agency) from a technical screener who is a 20-year veteran. It was just the confidence boost I need. Furthermore, he rated me between a 7 & 9 out of 10 in FED skills.  
"Mary has an extremely evolved and intuitive grasp on javascript and the front end. She certainly has a talent for merging graphical design with data delivery. Her skill set seems to have started from more of a design discipline, but in our conversations she demonstrated a strong understanding of how different architectural components would fit together. She answered strongly technical css questions as well and showed confidence with html. I would have no problem saying she is very technically competent. 
She certainly has the ability to perform well as a Mid to Senior front end developer on a team with several others or a strong lead, as she could use more experience with different frameworks/architectures, workflows, and some confidence building. 
She certainly seems to have a strong skill set topped off with terrific communication skills. I would highly recommend her for a position which will really allow her to grow quickly."
It kinda blew me away, and it has made me realize how I do downplay my skills--but I'm not sure why I do. I don't know if I'm trying to be humble, or manage expectations or what, but I need to knock it off.

Sometimes it's just good to gain some perspective on where you're at from someone who has no agenda other than completing the task of giving an honest and accurate appraisal of someone's skills. He gets paid whether it's positive or negative, and he's got a reputation to maintain.