Chris Nzuriwatu

My job as a developer is constantly changing and evolving. I’m always being called to learn new things and add new tools to my toolbox.

I’ve found that it helps to have rules that guide and inform. These are a few of the guiding principles I try to keep in mind along my journey as a front-end developer.

One, I needed a way to shut off my mind completely. I’ve tried meditation, yoga, massage, and many other relaxation techniques but nothing completely shuts out all the thoughts that fill my head in a day or leaves me completely at peace.

Another reason was that I was looking for some kind of outing that would force me to relax. A few years ago I used to work at a massage place where I always took the time to pamper myself. But since I quit I’ve barely been able to make time for me to go back and get a massage even once a year. I never just take time to myself anymore. It’s such an important thing to do and I’ve neglected doing anything about it for too long now.

Commit in small and concise chunks

Big commits which touch every single file in the system should be avoided. Break down your big feature into small committable stories. The commit history of your (master) branch should be readable, reversible, and resettable. No one likes to have a big fat merge conflict!

Put on your QA hat

I try to QA my own code and really, really try to break the thing I made. Then I write more tests to avoid the found bugs from happening unnoticed.

Underpromise & Overdeliver

Programmers usually work under some kinda deadlines. Don’t take on more than you can bite but really deliver a high-quality result.

Don’t count on frameworks or plugins

They can have many drawbacks: It’s hard to upgrade and maintain; It’s too complicated for what your need; It has shitty code behind the scene. Often times the pure, vanilla solution works if you are willing to tinker.

Don’t let title limit your knowledge

Everything is connected — designers should know how psychology affects design decisions and be fluent in HTML/CSS/javascript; developers should understand color theory, user interactions, how to talk to backend or how to create API; and backend developers should know how users like to use the application, what elements make an application user-friendly. Titles are for LinkedIn profiles, and  for other people to have an easier time categorizing you ,  but it should not stop your thirst for knowledge.

Learn when to stop learning

I used to be the kind of person who thought I had to know everything. It brought me lots of anxiety and self-loathing till I read about the flow from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The concept of flow shows us that we will be the happiest when the amount of challenge is just right. Too much challenge would make us give up; too little would make us bored.

Creative Zu is an online portal for Chris Nzuriwatu, a WordPress developer living in beautiful Los Angeles, CA.

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