I confess that it's a difficult question to answer because I've changed a lot not only as a professional but also as a person - and for me one thing is linked to the other. However, there are a few thoughts I would like to highlight that I think it would have been great to have known 15 years ago and I hope can help you now.
Some advises I would like to have before
1 - Stop trying to be a perfect professional
I remember how fascinated I was when I entered the IT field and how many things I wanted to know to become a great web designer. At some point these feelings were incredible because it motivated me to study a lot, however, many times they also left me frustrated and severe with myself. I was torn between design and front-end code and was putting too much pressure on myself to learn both at the same time and become great at it.
So my suggestion is to take it easy and enjoy the journey a lot. Have a path that gives you the necessary motivation to reach your goals, but also remember to be at ease with yourself trying to learn one thing at a time in the beginning of your career and understanding that knowledge takes time to be obtained.
2 - People are different, so don’t compare yourself to others
Totally connected to the previous topic, sometimes we can fall into the trap of not feeling good enough when we compare ourselves to others, which can lead to anxiety and disappointment. This behaviour is super common in IT and until now I had to be careful not to do it, but experience has helped me to deal with this situation better nowadays.
Understanding that each person is different and has their own journeys, when you get upset about comparing yourself to others, try to make it an inspiration and fuel to keep looking forward. Look at yourself, your achievements and celebrate it.
3 - Don’t be afraid to failure, just do it
As a developer early in my career, I remember how many times I wanted to take more risks not only in terms of professional, but also as a person. How many doubts, projects and networking did I leave behind for fear of failing as a good communicator, of wasting my time, of not having interesting things to say. Many times I sabotaged myself.
“Go ahead”, I would tell myself in the past. Be yourself, use the tools you have and try to build bridges with them. If it fails, try again. Don't let fear paralyse you. You can overcome it.
What I think of when I look back on my IT journey
My experienced self can certainly advise my novice self a lot, but that doesn't mean I regret it, on the contrary, I recognise every step taken to reach these years of experience and how much I feel accomplished as a frontend developer nowadays.
There are many things I can celebrate, such as actively participating in the web community by helping to organize frontend events, bringing trends to the companies I worked for and helping them to change some processes, leading teams, living and working as a developer abroad… So many awesome things!
We have always been able to look back and identify what could be different to alleviate mistakes, fears and anxieties, but it is important to emphasise that all of this is necessary to build who we are today and who we want to be tomorrow. Through our own experiences, we can also help others on their own journeys. What a magical thing, isn’t it?
I hope this article has helped you feel comfortable with yourself and remember to take your journey in stride.
See you next time. 😁