Episode 87 – Use Repetition and a Continuous Learning Mindset to Achieve Developer Excellence with Wes Bos

 In Podcasts

In this episode Phil talks to Wes Bos. Wes is a Fullstack web developer and designer who spends most of his time working with JavaScript, CSS3 and HTML5. Wes is also a lead instructor at HackerYou, an instructor for Ladies Learning Code and a regular conference speaker on everything from Front End Dev to ServerSide JavaScript.


­­­ (1.00) – Phil asked Wes to tell the audience a bit more about himself? Wes says he has been a Fullstack web developer for about 10 years now. He spends most of his time writing JavaScript. Mostly React on the frontend and Node.js on the backend. He also builds web development courses and has been running his own podcast for about a year now, which is regularly in the iTunes top 40.

(1.53) – Phil asks Wes for a unique IT career tip. Wes starts by saying that for his whole career he has been teaching people how to learn code. Over the years, he has noticed that most people become frustrated with their rate of progress. They want to know what the secret code is in order to understand things. I always tell them that there is no secret. Repetition is what you need to learn. You have to keep putting in the time and just build stuff. Developers need a continual learning mindset and they have to put what they learn into practice.

(3.40) –Wes is asked to share his worst career moment. Wes explained that this happened when he was working for an oil and gas company. At the time, he was earning great money. It was a 4-month summer co-op deal, which was fortunate, because Wes hated it. For him, that time was his career low point. However, the experience taught him that he was far better off running his own business. That is what he has done and it is working out really well for him.

(5.12) So, has your focus been courses as much as anything else? Wes, says yes, but not only courses. He has continued working as a freelancer to ensure that he stays sharp. But, right now, most of his income comes from his courses and teaching work.

(5.53) – Can you take us through your career highlights or greatest successes. Wes ran a blog and wrote a book about Sublime Text. At times he doubted anyone would read it. However, when he finally published it, within a month he had been paid way more for his time than he would have had he used that time to work as a freelancer. It was a good feeling.

(7.04) – Phil wants to know what excites Wes about the future for the IT industry and careers. Wes finds it amazing how fast things are developing. He likes the way an ordinary person, a regular developer, can radically change things. That is exciting, so is the fact that industry moves so quickly. It means that anyone can start learning now and be at the forefront quickly if they are prepared to apply themselves.

(8.38) – Are there any particular technologies or languages or anything like that, that you think right now are the ones to look at? For Wes it is learning JavaScript and things like TypeScript. Ordinary people can learn how to use it and within 3 or 4 years be doing amazing things with it.

(9.28) – What first attracted you to a career in IT? Wes’s dad worked in IT, so they were the first kids on the block to have a computer, followed by the internet. He got used to, and liked, being at the cutting edge of everything and he loved computers. For him a career in IT was a natural progression.

(9.57) – What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Wes tells Phil it was “double your rates”. He tried it and it worked. This enabled him to work part-time on client work and still have enough money and time to spend on other interests.

(10.46) – If you were to begin your career again, right now, what would you do? Wes said he would start by spending a lot of time on YouTube just soaking in much as he could.

(11.28) – Phil asks Wes what career objectives he is currently focusing on. Wes says he has always “optimized for happiness” and still does today. He is currently able to spend as much time as he wants with his kids, take holidays whenever he needs to, and he feels happy with what he produces. So, his focus is on maintaining that freedom, staying happy.

(12.35) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career, so far? Wes says funnily enough it is writing. He sees himself as a terrible writer who is always making grammar and spelling mistakes. However, he can convey what he needs or wants to be done, in succinct emails, which is a great skill to have. He is also able to write good copy for marketing websites, which is also useful.

(13.41) – Phil asks Wes to share a parting piece of career advice with the audience. Wes says – “Just go out there and start. Start doing it rather than sitting around pontificating about it.”


(2.30) WES – “I always tell people, there’s no formation without repetition.”

(3.36) PHIL – “Learning is only balanced by the doing. That’s the vital ingredient from my point of view.”

(3.40) WES – “You definitely have to have a mindset of like a forever learner and you should always be picking up new skills”

(7.31) WES – “Technology that you’re able to put into just a regular web developers hands or a regular IT person’s hands is super powerful”

(12.22) WES – “If you really work at it, you can do it from anywhere and you can you can make your own rules.”

(14.00) WES – “You’re going to get where you want to be by actually putting in the time and building that skill whatever it is that you want.”


Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/wesbos @wesbos

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wesbos/

Website: https://www.wesbos.com



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