I am a recovering perfectionist. I jones for total knowledge of a subject before I start an endeavor. I love the high of getting it right on the first try. I get the DTs when I have an unfinished to-do list. I crave the security of feeling like I am in total control of a project.
But we all know that isn’t how real life works. For one thing, we have to collaborate, so no one can (or should) have total control over any project. For another, if we tried to wait until we knew “enough” to start a project, we’d never get anything done.
Impostor syndrome affects everyone, but especially people starting a new venture (like a data science bootcamp…?).
Here’s the truth of the matter: You will never be ‘ready’ to start. No one is.
The good news is that research says that making mistakes strengthens your learning and recall. So jumping in and starting with the tools you’ve got is often the fastest way to make progress.
If you can’t have omniscience, you need something to rescue you when you get stuck. I like to call this hacking your research. Give as much care to formulating questions and searching for their answers as you do to your code. Ask yourself:
As a Flatiron student, I blog about data science. But where would I host that blog? Wordpress and Squarespace seemed excessive (I like minimalism). Medium is a great, easy platform.
But while I’ve learned to kick the perfectionist tendencies, I still set the bar high for myself. I expect a lot, and “easy” is seldom the path I want to take.
Part of learning data science is learning to master git and GitHub. So when I learned there was a way to blog using GitHub, how could I resist?
Using Gatsby and Netlify, you can create a static blog, put it in a GitHub repo, and push posts to it from your local repository. I encountered two problems and solved them using the analytical framework I prescribe above.
I haven’t used GitHub in any systematic way until Flatiron School.
Choosing this blogging platform forced me to really learn how to use GitHub properly and competently manipulate files via the command line. Did I delete my entire repo and start over at least once (okay, twice)? Yes. But the long and tedious process of setting up this blog made me a lot better at git and GitHub.
When I first set up my blog, I forked a template from a repo on GitHub. As I set it up to work with Netlify, I got a lot of weird errors. Many came with alarming-looking warnings, most of which were opaque to me on first glance. But my research-library background means I have the patience and skills to not panic. Instead, I systematically broke down each error message, then Googled and researched what each one meant and how to fix it. (For one thing, I had to install a bunch of dependencies.)
Despite not feeling ready to start, I managed to get traction with my blog project through a combination of curiosity and tactical research savvy. Knowing how to find information is often more important than knowing the information itself.