Web Development Adaptability Skills

Season: 2 Episode: 40 Published: 4th October 2019

Peter Fisher

Being able to adapt to different circumstances is very important in a web developers career. In this podcast I discuss certain ways to improve your adaptability skills and how to alter to new situations. We talk about accepting inevitable changes and how to cope with uncertainty.

I also take this opportunity to talk about the podcast in general and mention who will be on the show in the future.

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Peter Fisher: [00:00:00] Welcome to the How To Code Well podcast a show all about web development and programming. My name is Peter Fisher. I am a freelance web and mobile applications developer.

Hello coders and welcome to another How To Code Well podcast. For those watching on the YouTube channel you'll see that I'm on my own - I'm on my tod - there is no guest here.

This is done on purpose because I think what I would like to do is a couple of times a year, maybe every quarter is have a video podcast where it's just me where I am talking about the podcast and I'm talking about what's happening with the podcast with How To Code Well and also discussing a single topic that I want to talk about and this topic we're going to be talking about today is adaptability having that adaptability skill in your career in web development.

So before I get into any of that let's talk about the podcast. So the podcast is doing super well, it's doing far better than I had ever anticipated, ever expected and this is in its first year. So the podcast came out last November and that was when I first created it. So we had November and December and I termed that as season 1 and then this year in 2019 this is season 2. So we we've just come out of September and it is now October. So this is the first year of the podcast really and it's doing really well. We've reached more countries than we haven't reached and there are tens of thousands of people listening to the podcast which I am so happy about it's so cool and especially for something that i do in my spare time. I say spare time; I make it sound like I've got a lot of spare time. I don't. But this is what I do in the spare time, and it's awesome to have this sort of reach and audience and it's so great to be able to talk to all of the guests that I've had on the show and I'll be talking about the schedule who's coming up in the show what we're going to do at the end of the year and so forth later on.

A massive thank you to everybody who's listened who's watched who subscribed who's contributed to the show? It's awesome to have you on. Let's talk about adaptability. So, adaptability. We can break the word up into two sections. So it's the ability to adapt so this kind of means that you know throughout life throughout life things happen things change things, you know, we have to cope with various things that happen in life that perhaps weren't expected or perhaps we have been told various things that are going to happen in the future or in the near future and we therefore have the ability or the time to then adapt to that change to plan for that change. Sometimes things just happen and we have to adapt and react extremely quickly.

So I'm going to be talking about this in the context of web development, but let me just talk about something that I'm going to have to adapt to and change and this will affect the podcast and it's happening very quickly, very soon.

So this weekend is the final weekend where I will not be aware of what it's like owning a dog. So next weekend we're actually picking up Murphy pup. Murphy is an English Springer Spaniel. He's so cute. He'll be a handful of weeks old - well 8 weeks old and he's a bundle of joy.

Now I've never owned a dog before I've been around people with dogs. My wife's had dogs in her life. She knows what to expect to a degree, but I don't I have that sort of I've never been I've never needed to walk the dog. I've never needed to look after another creature apart from my cats and we were discussing this the other evening and we both can't remember what it was like before we had cats.

Right. So we've had cats we've had Flick and Pixel for such a long time that that becomes the new normal. So when the cats get poorly we take them to the vet. When the cats need food, we feed them obviously and so forth but cats are very sort of hands off in that regard. Usually they just go around and sleep in random rooms, perhaps even him in the office here with dogs it's slightly different because you know, there is more I'm not I don't want to say that they're more high maintenance but there's certainly more that you have to do to train a dog, especially a puppy, you know to house train a dog to train the dog socially with other dogs and all of that stuff cats just get on with it. With Dogs you kind of need to have a certain degree of input and and stuff when you're bringing up a dog. Now this is not any other dog. This is an English Springer Spaniel which means that there's going to be a great deal of activity that is needed. So we are both aware that we are need to change our lifestyles to adapt to this change.

We don't know by what degree we need to do that, but we are aware of it. We've made Provisions for things like you know buying toys and you know buying dog beds and extra food and all of this stuff. So we're prepared in that sense, in the supply sense and the resource sense, but we're not prepared perhaps in the knowing what we need to do, you know on a daily basis because we both haven't been in that situation. So that's an example of where one needs to adapt quickly but has the opportunity to sort of, you know prepare for it. So we found Murphy when he was a couple of weeks old and we've been interacting with the breeders for a very long time, you know during, and we've seen Murphy a good few times during that which is great and we've been able to purchase various things that we need in the house for the dog to be here.

So there's those things that we've done in order to become adaptable. I will bring him on when we do get him and I'll introduce everybody to Murphy. But let's talk about this from the career sense. Adaptability. So, there's a lot of things that happen in a career and one needs to adapt to them.

Let's say for example, let's talk about some of the negative things that could happen. So let's say for example, you get made redundant. Let's say for example, the company goes bust. Let's say for example, something happens that you know, suddenly a project goes wrong or something like that and you have to jump onto it.

So these things can just come out of the blue. These are things that you're out of control of? So the best thing to do in that circumstance in my opinion is to seize control. So try not to see these negative things as as a real negative try and see them as much as you can as a positive in the sense that it's an opportunity.

Let's say the real worst one is that you lose the job for some apparent reason perhaps there's a problem with you know, the company's gone under or something. It's going to be really difficult. It's going to be really hard, but eventually this will become an opportunity to do something different to change what you're doing or to work for someone else because eventually you'll get another job. So it's the journey that that takes that you can prepare for. It's going to be very difficult. It's going to be very stressful. The other ones are let's say there's a massive bug in the system that everybody has to suddenly react to that's a very spontaneous thing. So that's very different but you have to change your mind space. You may have to go right I was working on this but suddenly the alarm b ells have gone off and everybody's been told that they need to work on this means that I need to shift my thinking and this can be quite tricky and troublesome for some developers because we get into this zone and this zone is very sort of good when we're in it but coming out of it and then trying to get back into it again is quite difficult. And trying to change logical thinking can be quite challenging as well. But these are things that happen as developers we have to cope with these things.

They are sort of non technical things that we have to adapt to there are obviously a technical things that one needs to adapt to as well. So let's say for example, you learnt PHP and you are now trying to learn a framework around PHP you are there for. Trying to adapt your thinking and your learning to a framework and you are learning that framework.

You've learnt the actual underlying language which is fantastic. Now, you're working through up an actual framework and you have to take the you have to think. Well, you know the more I learn on that the less I'm going to be learning on this and you mould yourself to be there particular developer that you want to be.

This has happened to me a lot of times throughout my career and I've accidentally fallen into this full stack developer role where I've been asked to do various things in my career and I've just done them. I've just learned how to do them and I've adapted to that. And therefore you could class me as not a master of one but a knower of many in the in that sense. I was having a conversation with a recruitment agent the other day and we were talking about the skills. That I had and we went through a long list of skills, very broad list and sometimes developers would like to rein that in and go. Well, actually I want to be focusing just on these particular skill sets rather than have some knowledge in lots of different things but not have a refined knowledge in one.

Also in a developers career a developer could change from being a coder to a manager. So there's an awful lot of things that one needs to adapt and change to as well. There's a lot of sacrifice that has to go into that as well because you're doing less coding and more managing and you know, we've talked to people on the podcast who have done that and that's been really interesting to hear how they've dealt with that because it's a case of changing the scope of the problem. Okay, you're solving a different problem or solving the same problem but in a different way. So that's really interesting to check out Jeremy Onions podcast interviews on that because he's a technical director and he used to be a coder we used to work together at Fasthosts. He's gone through several changes and adapted to various different circumstances. Of course that also includes him traveling and all of that stuff. So I just want to go through this article on cleverism.com. It's about adaptability and the importance of adaptability.

I guess one thing before I go through this is that you shouldn't ever go and think well, this is what I'm doing now for the rest of my life. You know, I'm just PHP developer and that's it. I'll never look at any framework. I'll never look at any JavaScript. I'll never look at any HTML. I'm just a PHP developer. I really don't think that that is a good mindset to have. I think that you have to be flexible to a degree.

I think that when you're working in web development, you need to have some form of awareness of these Technologies other and technologies that PHP can use and utilise and at the end of the day PHP is used on web servers. So you need to have some sort of awareness of what that web server can do and all of that good stuff.

This article is pretty interesting. It's all about how to improve the skills of being adaptable. So for example, observing and monitoring changes in your environment. So being aware of what might happen and adapting for that. I'm always trying to find various different plans. So for example, if I was to change my career, I would want to have a plan B if I wanted to buy a sofa I would want to have a plan B. I would want to have three quotes at the very least when I'm getting my fence fixed, you know, you need to be aware of the other opportunities you need to observe and monitor or so the changes in your environment and these things there can be quite subtle. They could be quite subtle changes and you need to react to these as well.

You need to put things in place like I mentioned with the planning and you also need to be willing to learn so observing your environment isn't enough. You also need to learn how the environment changes and the mechanics and the players behind that so you need to be observant of maybe you're working in a company and people are moving different into different departments. You need to be aware of this and ask if it is an opportunity for you? Is this going to impact what your currently working on that kind of thing? There's also a point here about avoiding procrastination. So this is something that I'm struggling with because usually what happens when I'm I've got lots and lots to do which I always have I find myself doing something that is completely unrelated to all the things that I need to do. Sometimes I'll just go through and I'll just tidy something up. I'll just randomly go into a room in my house and I'll just tidy the room up. Usually I'm thinking and processing a problem of a bug or something whilst I'm doing that which is fine. But I'm not actually actively working on the thing that I should be working on.

Try and avoid procrastination and try and avoid the lunch breaks where suddenly the lunch breaks have an extra half an hour on and you're just downstairs watching TV or playing on whatever or talking on Twitter is a really bad one for procrastination. Sometimes I'll make a cup of tea and instead of going back up the stairs.

I'm actually still down there holding my tea. And it's half drank and I'm on Twitter and I'm sending Tweets to people which is not great and also acknowledge the fact that changes are bound to occur. So changes are all ways going to happen in life. You know, it's perfectly fine. It's perfectly reasonable to stay in the same company for years and years and years, but you need to be aware that your comfort blanket might be pulled away from you and when it does it will be pulled away from you, or if it does it will be pulled away from you by an external source, and you probably won't see it coming. So you want to have that ability of acceptance you're accepting the fact that change will happen.

You let your accepting the fact that you will need to alter your course and change and go down a different fork in the road. So something from my personal life. I've I have recently finished a very large contract, which means that I have space to do other pieces of work, so I have been talking to recruitment agents.

I've been talking to my existing client base. I've been talking to various different people and none of those things that I've done are the same as what I've done for the last few years with this other contract that I was working on. So I have to accept the fact that whatever I do in the next few years isn't going to be the same as what I do or have done in the past and this is a real important thing I think of life and as developers, especially if you're a contractor because things happen really quickly, you know, I was on the phone call the other day and they were like, right if this happens the interview will happen this afternoon or tomorrow and then you know the next day if you get past that interview, there is a Skype call and then boom you're straight working there and you have to travel and do all this Jazz and stuff. So it's very immediate right? It's very quick.

It's very snappy to do and you have to accept that so when that happens you have to put things in place like, you know Travel and Transport you have to put things in place like, you know costings and fees, you have to talk about negotiation. You have to set up your CV and all of this stuff. And it's those things are in your control. They are in your control and you want to try and have as much things in your control as possible because I find that the more you have outside of your control the more external sources and things that are controlling the changes that are being made the more anxious are become the more sort of like because I'm not planning this I'm not in control.

It makes me sound like I'm a bit of a control freak but you know, I like to know that if this fails then this can happen or I can just put that in place. Like let's say for example when I was moving house when we moved to Gloucester originally I called this project switch Shire because we were moving from Wiltshire to Gloucestershire and I had a series of houses that I was looking at a series of places that we were looking at. It was a case of you know, if this went fell through we would then just do this and I would have the phone numbers. I would have the addresses ready and going through and it was almost like a factory, you know, I got a little bit disconnected emotionally from the whole process and I was looking at it from a flow diagram perspective I suppose. Which is a good thing in some ways in a bad thing in others because obviously you need to be attached to the house that you end up in. I was only renting at that time. So it wasn't like, you know the house that we're in now, but we had to do it in a rapid sort of succession.

It was like, right we move to Gloucester because I'm moving careers I or I'm changing my career. I'm changing my job. I need to work in Gloucester. We were originally in Wiltshire. So it was like right I'm doing this. I need to find a place to rent regardless of where it is. It has to happen. So it was a case of trying to go through various different sort of logical steps and procedures. We had our requirements as you would expect and the ones that didn't meet the requirement they were just out of the door. We didn't think of them again and it was this sort of very quick almost like a Sausage Factory type sort of thing.

It was like boom, boom, BOOM and then before we knew it we landed in Gloucester. And we had to start work very quickly and then we had to adapt to that particular environment pretty quickly as well. And then we found our feet and we moved here and that's kind of the story but that that's the whole sort of being adapting in life and in general.

With web development i think that you know when we get bugs and we get problems and we get challenges and we get career difficulties. We have to adapt to those as well. Also we need to be empathetic to other people who are adapting to the environment as well. So for example, Going from a degree or going from college or going from a bootcamp to going into your full-time career and your first ever development job that is a huge step and ginormous step to take and one that you have to quickly adapt to and progress and then moving from Junior to sort of mid to intermediate to senior or whatever the titles are these days, you know that there's a there's different responsibilities that one has different things that one needs to be aware of and cope with.

A lot of these things will come automatically right because you suddenly get used to the environment that you're working in. You get used to where the office is, you get used to the people that you meet on a daily basis, you get used to the different types of meetings and all of this stuff and then you you know, you might at some point be hosting those meetings holding those meetings the meetings that you weren't really aware of when you were doing a boot camp before you were actually in the industry. So you know, a lot of things you can do very sort of automatically over a period of time. I think though it's when things have to happen rapidly and I think that it's when the control is outside of your scope that is when the pressure gets put on and I think that at those times it's a case of you know trying to take as much control as you can and planning as much as you can. I would personally be more surprised then disappointed. So let's say for example, I put all of my eggs in one basket. I would be very disappointed if that basket fell apart. Right? What you want to do is try and spread and diversify, you want to try and have different plans in place.

If this doesn't work out you do this if that doesn't work out you do that and that kind of thing and also if you can try and sleep on it as well. Try it, you know, if you've got the time to think about it and think about it. I think that's good. But don't think about it to the point where you'll you are getting yourself upset about it.

All right, because these things come with a time frame, you know, this is going to happen at this time. So you have this period of time to worry about it. Well, don't worry about it this time to prepare and plan. So that's the adaptability stuff. I hope you don't mind that little rant.

I want to talk a little bit about the schedule coming up. Because obviously the next week we're going to be going back to our original schedule original planned programming. So it's not in any particular order. I'm just going to go through some of the names who are coming on.

So we've got Jenna Charlton. We're going to be talking about software testing. So she's a software tester speaker an awesome person on Twitter. So we're going to speak. And we're going to do an interview Jeremy onions also coming on we're going to do a podcast take over. He's interviewing me. We did that a few weeks ago. That was very fun. So that's coming on soon.

Ted M Young, he is a streamer on Twitch. He teaches Java and TDD and all the other good stuff around Java and spring and stuff. So do check him out on Twitch if you haven't done so already. I used to know Java. I say I used to know I if I if someone put Java in front of me, I probably wouldn't know what it was, but I was taught that at Uni so it's a very interesting to watch his streams.

Then we have Matthew Glen. I say then we have these aren't in any particular order. We're going to be talking about how it's like to get into the web development industry, which is going to be pretty fun Adam Culp coming on again. We're going to be talking about Beach Casts and YouTube and other bits and pieces as well.

So if you haven't done, so please check out the previous interview I did with Adam. We've got do Drew McLennan coming on and others as well. So it's going to be an awesome fun-packed few months on this channel, and I'm really excited to talk to everybody who's on this schedule and we've got other people on the schedule who I haven't actually put on the schedule yet because we're talking about dates and other bits and pieces.

If you fancy coming on if you want to be interviewed on the How To Code Well podcast then please do get in touch. You can drop me an e-mail or you can send me a direct message, direct messages are probably better on Twitter. There is also a Discord Channel. You can go to you howtocodewell.net/discord and that will forward you on to the Discord invite page so you can get invited there. For those who watch my twitch streams and for those who are pateons, then you can get access to the pro channels as well. So that's a pro voice chat as well as the pro chat as well. I am creating a Discord bot in node.js which. Turning out to be a right challenge and that's fun. So we do have a Discord bot but it's kind of in a development stage.

Also I'm working on various different things on the Twitch to do with Microcontrollers and micro Python and all of these good little chips and stuff. So we've got our own a ring light, a neopixel ring light that's flashing up and I'm going to be building that as part of one of my courses that I'm doing which is super, super fun. And also, also we have our invoice application that we're building with PHP.

So if you're watching on the YouTubes, if you're listening on the podcast, if you're watching the twitch streams, if you're you know, chilling out on Twitter, send me a message say hello say that you've listened. Tell me what you think. It's very awesome to hear from you.

When the YouTube channel does hit 10,000 subscribers, which I'm hoping will be fairly soon because I think we've got eight and a half thousand at the moment. We're going to be doing an ask me anything and I'm going to be doing this on YouTube.

So if you've got questions and I've got a bunch of questions at the moment, but if you've got any questions, then do send me those doesn't have to be anything related to programming doesn't have to be late related to web development could be any think ask me anything.

I'm totally open for that. But anyway, I've taken far too much of your time. I want to just say happy coding. I want to say do look after each other and be kind to each other. Happy coding everyone and I'll see you again next time. Cheers, bye :)