Imposter syndrome, why is it dangerous for developers

Imposter syndrome is a state of mind where you think that you achieved a success by luck, timing or deceiving others into thinking that you’re intelligent. Basically, it’s when you say to yourself this thought: “I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out“.  A research conducted in 1980s suggested that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds. Don’t think of it as a disorder, because it is not. Overcoming imposter syndrome is not hard but it may become a threat to your career, academy, or life paths.

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Why it is dangerous

The syndrome can happen to any individual despite the level of their success. It happens to presidents, scientists, engineers, and any individual in any career or position. It happens as a result of self-doubt, and it becomes dangerous when you strangle your own progress by questioning whether you are worthy of certain achievements. It will hold you back from being the best you can be.

Why developers should be aware of it

Did you ever find yourself in this position? You created this software, many people like and use it, but you’re afraid if other developers viewed your code, you will get scathing comments on your bad coding skills or when you struggle with a bug for days and you say to yourself Ok, that’s it. I’m doomed. I’ll never solve this bug and everyone in the company will know that I’m a fraud. Most of the times, you’re wrong. your code is fine and the bug is really hard to solve.

Any developer who doubts his skills should remember that it is natural that we all have doubts about our abilities. Developers should not only address the symptoms of this syndrome but also know how to overcome such a feeling. Here are some things to remember if you ever have these feelings in the future.

  • Accept that you have had a role in your successes.
  • Say it to yourself, “It’s just a syndrome” and get over the feeling on the spot.
  • Realise that nobody knows exactly what’s going on.
  • Realise that your skills are in constant development over time.
  • The most successful people on earth can experience the imposter syndrome.

Conclusion

The bottom line of this post is to not feel intimidating by other’s success and for you not to underestimate your powers and self-value. You must acquire a mindset of self-confidence and not to compare yourself to others. Be consistent and eliminate any doubtful thoughts inside of you. Remember, it’s a very common syndrome and overcoming it is very important to expand your possibilities.

How to Start Developing WordPress Plugins

In general, developing software plugins or extensions would sound intimidating at first. You have to grasp all the related API functions and configurations. And looking at the source code of a plugin would easily confuse you. The best way to demolish this confusion is to read the software’s docs and comprehend the basics of their API. Fortunately, WordPress has the most comprehensive documentation I ever see. To master WordPress plugins development, you need to have three prerequisites; PHP, Javascript, and CSS. There are the three simple steps you need, no brainer. What I’m going to tell you next are the basic steps to start developing any kind of software, and WordPress plugins are no different.

The Codex

The Codex is the bible of WordPress, it’s well-documented, easily understandable and comprehensive. It covers all aspects of WordPress; How to Use WordPress, Themes Development, and Plugins Development. As our concern is plugins development, you should focus on this part. If you already have used WordPress before, I advice heading straight to the Writing a Plugin and Plugins API sections. After knowing the basics of plugins development, why not to go deeper and learn about more advanced topics. Luckily, we have the Plugin Handbook which covers almost all of the plugin’s APIs. I recommend reading it and to try out the code snippets on your WordPress development environment.

Plugins Source Code

There is no shame to stand on the shoulders of giants, especially that WordPress is an open source software. You can read the source code of popular plugins and learn new development techniques. There are great developers out there and they already made high-quality plugins. Reading other’s source code is a general tip where you can learn how programmers do certain things and how do they stick to the coding standards.

Write a Plugin

This is the most effective way, practise. That’s it. Write down some plugins’ ideas and start writing a plugin. If you didn’t know how to implement a feature, try to google it. If Google didn’t come with results (which is unlikely), ask questions on WordPress Development Stack Exchange. Other developers will try their best to help you out. The more you write code, the more experience you will get. You will become more familiar to solve common issues and problems while developing plugins. And if you think you made something useful, do not hesitate to upload it to wordpress.org, others will benefit from your plugin and your portfolio will be enhanced.

Conclusion

Whatever you think, if you are a good PHP programmer, then developing a WordPress plugin is not hard as you would think. It’s easy and straightforward. All what you have to do are to read the docs, read some code and start developing.

 

How to Get More Jobs on Elance

Elance is one of the most popular websites for freelancers working online. I have used the website myself for two years. My experience with the website was very good; I got some clients that I loved working with. Those clients didn’t only work with me, they referred other clients to me.

I always hear from my friends that it’s very hard to get your first job on Elance or other freelance websites in general. This is actually true, because, let’s face it if you are a client and you want your job done with good quality in a short time, would you be willing to take the risk and give the job to a freelancer with no reviews or rating? I don’t think so.

Here are some points which I hope will help freelancers to secure more jobs on Elance or similar websites. These points are not only for new freelancers but may also benefit experienced freelancers.

Be an early bird.

It’s very important to be one of the first freelancers who bid on the job. You’ll get the client’s attention first. When there are several freelancers already bidding on the job, the client will be more likely to read the first bids. Other than that, when there are already 50 bids on the job, the client might be overwhelmed with the number of bids that he has to read.

Don’t brag about your experience; they don’t care about it.

Seriously, clients do not care about how many years you spent writing PHP codes or how many full-time jobs you took in the past, they posted the job because they want it done. Instead of annoying the client with details of your past experience, try to attract him by giving him some ideas on how you’ll solve his specific problem.

The client will be very glad when he read how much details you provided him with his job, not anything else. I know some guys have a readily written template for the bids, and the only thing they do is copy and paste this template and send it to the client. This is a so awful thing to do. Clients always tend to avoid generalized bids, don’t do that, please.

Complete your profile

Make sure that you complete your profile, especially the identity verification. Also, try to list all your skills in order, and take the skills tests seriously. I took the WordPress test and got a high score in it (Top 5%). This score helped me to get new jobs, I didn’t only put it in my profile, but actually told the clients in the bids that I’m from the top 5% WordPress developers in Elance.

Furthermore, make sure that you add your previous work in your portfolio. Later on, you can attach these works with your bid when you submit it to the clients.

Professional Profile Picture

elance bad vs good profile picture

When you upload your picture, make sure to choose the right one. There is no harm in looking like a professional in the picture. You want the clients to take you seriously, don’t you? Once you’ve uploaded a picture, you can change it later but the problem is when you change it, Elance will remove the verification badge from your profile, and you have to verify yourself once again. That’s why you should pay attention to your profile picture.

Specialize in a specific niche

I bet you’ve already noticed how huge a number of bids on jobs like “PHP website” or “WordPress website” or even “PSD to HTML”. The number of freelancers doing these kinds of jobs is crazy. My advice is to take a small niche and specialize in it. It will be your brand and with time, no one can compete with you in it. For example, there is a Russian company which specializes in optimizing the speed of the websites. They even named themselves “Speed optimization“. I bet that they secure speed optimization jobs very easily.

Moreover, I myself have specialized in WordPress plugins development, not just that, but I focused on WooCommerce plugins, which worked very well for me. There is a fewer competition in micro-niches, therefore you can ask a higher price and get much more attention in that specific field.

Be sure that you get five stars.

It’s very important to get five stars rating, especially for new freelancers. The second you finish the job, send the client a message and make it crystal clear that you want 5 stars rating. Explain to him that his rating is very important to you to secure more jobs in the future. But before that, you must make sure that you delivered a high-quality work.

If you thought the client is going to give you a low rating, send him a polite message to explain to him how much his low rating would harm you in the future. and if he won’t give you 5 stars rating, ask him to at least leave the job without a rating.

Conclusion

I hope this short list would help you in your freelancing journey, I will write more posts in the future about freelancing. Please, make sure that you get back to my blog or subscribe to my mailing list to get all the new content immediately.

Finally, freelancers without any rating, I always advise them to bid on low budget jobs (20-30$), These jobs do not have high-risk according to the client, You can explain to him in the bid that you’re bidding to get a good rating, and you’ll be very glad if he helps you with this. Good luck!

 

What does a regular day look like for someone living in Gaza?

This post was originally written by me on Quora to answer the question in the title.

I live in Gaza, or what I prefer to call: Gaza Strip. Gaza Strip has four major cities:

  1. Gaza City
  2. Deir al-Balah
  3. Khan Yunis
  4. Rafah.

Currently, I live in Gaza City, but originally I’m from Rafah in the south, which is the city that shares the borders with Egypt.

I work as a web application engineer at the Ministry of Health, so I wake up early in the morning at 07:00. I walk to work since I rented an apartment close to work.

I finish work at 14:30, go back home and eat lunch, then I spend the rest of the afternoon with my family, and sometimes I go to the supermarket to buy some groceries. After sunset, I start working on some side projects and on some freelancing jobs. I have to since I didn’t get my salary for the past one year and a half year on account of the political crisis between Hamas and Fatah.

I used to go to the gym after the sunset. Yep, we have gyms.

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On the weekends, we have three options: restaurants, parks and the beach.
Gaza Strip is very small, it’s only 360 km² so we get bored easily. Restaurants menus are similar and there is no diversity in the food and the experience, no sushi. 🙁

Parks are small and crowded. The beach may be the only breather in Gaza, but you won’t see beach amenities in Gaza plus it’s very congested in the summer.

I always say this phrase to my friends: “If you have one billion dollars in Gaza, what is the best fun that you can have here? Just go to a fancy restaurant!!”, so no we don’t have skydiving here. 🙁

The blockade has a major effect on Gazans life. When you go to work, you’ll hear power generators buzzing. If you need to establish a business, the first thing you want to do is to purchase a power generator.  And believe me, they are not cheap.

Most people can’t afford power generators, and we have electricity just for six hours per day, and sometimes you spend the whole day without electricity.

Israel prevented a lot of goods from entering Gaza, and one of them is cement. Guys like me are stuck with rent because there is no cement available in Gaza to build our houses. The construction work is semi-dead here and thousands of construction workers are unemployed now.

Some additional points to add:

  • Traveling? Hell no, no airport, no seaport, and the borders are closed.
  • Going to the West Bank? No, you just can’t. You are forbidden.
  • How about buying an iPhone from Amazon or eBay? Big NO: electronics via mail are forbidden too.
  • How about war? Yes, we will give you that. Every two years we will give you a war and will let you live in fear, it’s good for your health and self-esteem.

My last points may be irrelevant to the question, but they are definitely affecting the regular day for someone living in Gaza. I’m very frustrated about the situation here, and I hope it will change soon despite my pessimism.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask me.

 

Why I Deactivated My Facebook Account Forever

I had been active on Facebook since 2008, back then Facebook was a good place to share your thoughts and interests, it was not crowded and bloated as today. In my opinion, Facebook became a waste of time, and it really broke social life on the contrary of its purpose, Also Facebook became a source of false news and rumors, apparently, F pages administrators tend to collect likes and shares by publishing fake news and information.

Time Waste

Unless you are an online marketer or a PR Person or Social Media Consultant DO quit Facebook. I’m a web developer and my work requires me to be focused and have fewer distractions. I found myself opening Facebook the minute I open my web browser, and when I finish a minor task I was celebrating by checking Facebook and liking this and sharing that, and this required me more time to get back to my work and start working again. Over time I found myself distracted, started to procrastinate my work more and more, less focus and I had the feeling that I’m not that good in my work. So that had to stop immediately.

Friends? Really?!!

Yes, I’m an introvert, I don’t have a lot of friends, but let’s be honest. I bet that 90% of your “Friends” on Facebook are neither people you really know nor people that if you met them in the street you won’t say “Hi” to them. Facebook made a delusion that you have a lot of people around you, care about you and wish the best for you, but this is not the truth. How many friends called you on your birthday instead of writing on your wall “Happy Birthday”.  In my last birthday, one of the “Friends” literally wrote “HB” on my wall. What on Earth is that?!!!. I know it stands for “Happy Birthday” but seriously?

Do you still want to waste your time?

Ok, I have the solution for you. A wise man once said:

If you’re gonna do something wrong, DO IT RIGHT!!

If you insist to waste your time, waste it RIGHT, on good things, go out with your real friends, call them and meet them, do not post on their walls, they need you to say “Happy Birthday” face to face. If you are not into going out, waste your time on Quora & TED and the other thousands of useful websites. Instead of impressing people you don’t care about, learn something new and beneficial. Your time is yours, it’s one of your most valuable assets, do not squander it.

 

Eventually, I’m now more focused and organized, and away from endless scrolling and annoying notifications. So please do not waste your time on Facebook or any other social networks, if you can manage your time well and you are not addicted to Facebook, stay there, but if you are addicted, please leave as soon as possible, take an action now. deactivate the account and delete the app from your phone, try it at least for a month and I promise you, you’ll see how fruitful you’ll become. Your time is gold, your real friends are not compensated, stick that in your mind.