Your Skills

here we have me hiding my tripod remote in one hand

In the past few months, I have attended a Hack-a-thon and a Design Challenge (which was basically a Hack-a-thon but for designers). A hack-a-thon starts off with the hosts giving topics - i.e. Healthcare, Women in STEM etc. The next step are for coders/developers/designers to form a team and decide which topic they will be creating a project for. And then they're off coding a project all night until it's time to submit.

So, the reason I'm starting off with a brief intro into my own coding life is because for both of those Hack-a-thons I wasn't the most confident- I hadn't attended a hackathon before. And on top of that, for the past few months I've been applying for Front-End Developer positions (speedy translation: I design/code websites!) and I've always gotten one of these responses: We went with someone who had more experience; after examining your experience we've decided to not move forward at this time; your background was not a fit at this time.

I actually got two rejections on Monday which was when my latest video on my YouTube channel was supposed to be up. It didn't go up. It's all becoming a cycle of I need to have prior experience in order to get experience. I started tracking the amount of applications I sent in an excel sheet, and since I've been doing that that brings a total of 18 rejections. Last week I started to wonder if maybe there isn't any room in this field for me. And that although I love this field (honestly coding is so much fun) maybe it isn't for me with the amount of rejections that I keep getting.

So I actually got a little bit curious:

 How many recent college graduates are unemployed?
According to Forbes, 1 out of every 40 college graduates are unemployed.

When I went to the Hack-a-thon, I went alone and there were a few other solo coders and that's how I ended up on a team. Two members of the group were recent graduates (one being me) and the other two were still in school for their Bachelor's in Computer Science. The other recent graduate decided that the easiest way to complete a project was to use one of her own projects she created, make minor edits, and pass it onto the judges as if we all coded it. I wasn't on board with that idea. The point of a Hack-a-thon is to test your brain and skills to work in a tight time constraint not use something that's already been created.

To make a long story short the other recent graduate left the group and the remaining three of us decided to actually design and code a project from scratch. Of the group, I had the most experience with coding while the others were still relatively new to it. Our project we created ended up passing the first round, and secured a place in the Top 4 for the Healthcare category. 

We didn't have a lot of experience - it was all our first hackathon- but we didn't let that stop us from creating a project. We were surprised that we passed the first round  (there were a lot of awesome projects) and although we didn't get the first place prize we were all able to realize the benefit of doing our own project rather than passing one skilled person's project as our project.

We tested ourselves. We learned a lot. We lost a lot of sleep. 

here we have my code disrespecting me and me trying to figure out why it's not working

For the Design Challenge I attended, I sat down next to someone and started talking to them. It was their first hack-a-thon and they were nervous that they'd do badly. That's when I found myself giving the advice that I now remind myself through my rejections: Your lack of experience does not mean a lack of skill.

If you're also in the same boat as me, there is a lot that can be running through your head with rejections and thinking that it means you lack skill. You don't. You know so much more than you give yourself credit for.  When I looked at what I've created, the coding projects I literally assigned myself because I wanted to improve and learn, I realized that for each project I've grown as a developer even if I didn't realize it at the time.

For every door that closes there's another one that opens. I'm not sure where that open door is but every closed one leads me closer to it.

I recently started thinking about my Front-End Developer life in the same perspective as I view my running. In both running and Front End Development the learning never stops. I'm constantly learning new exercises to have a stronger core to run faster, and with Front-End Development I'm constantly learning faster ways to do certain things.

From this maze of unemployment I've realized that my happiness doesn't and shouldn't stem from me having a job. Although having a job in my field would be great, it is also important to note that happiness comes from within you not from something outside of you.

If you're also in the same maze of unemployment: The right opportunity is out there for you even if inner you tries to convince you it isn't. Don't give up on yourself, keep! applying!


  1. This was such an interesting post, and I lvoe that you said your lack of experiences doesn't mean lack of skill!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    1. Thank you so much Amie! So happy to hear you enjoyed the post :)

  2. Gosh this is so true! I'm glad you enjoyed your hackathon experience and you managed to take something away from it. You're right, lack of experience doesn't mean lack of skill at all! I'm sure the right opportunity will come soon x


    1. The hack-a-thon was a really fun and an interesting experience - although in the beginning it was a bit hard to settle into making a project to show the judges, I learned a lot from it!

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Sophie! So happy you enjoyed the post :)

  3. You are so motivational. Also, I'm going to start chanting "Your lack of experience does not mean lack of skill" with every job opportunity from now on. A hackathon sounds so intense but I'm in awe of the skill required!

    Jas xx |

    1. Aw so sweet of you to say Jasmine! I think as students / in my case recent graduate we think that our lack of experience (as pointed out by employers) means that we lack skill in whatever it is we are applying for - when really we don't lack skill rather we lack being given a chance to prove that we have the skill to do amazing things (really hope that made sense!)

      Hack-a-thon's are really intense but also really fun when everything starts working the way it's supposed to haha - thank you so much for reading and commenting Jasmine!

  4. Sounds like a challenging but great experience - it's always good to step out of your comfort zone and do something new. I wish I could code and design websites, it's such a great skill to have and I'm sure the perfect opportunity will be coming to you soon. As a recent grad myself I know exactly how disheartening the rejection emails can be but you have to stay positive and also trust in Gods timing, whatever is meant to be, will be xx

    1. It really was a challenging but a great experience overall - learned a lot from both of the hack-a-thon's I attended :) Although they were a bit far out of my comfort zone, I'm really happy that I did manage to convince myself to take the plunge to do something new.

      Coding and designing websites is a lot of fun - I'd really recommend just about everyone to at least try coding once - you won't regret it! Thank you so much for your kind words, it's been hard staying positive with rejection emails but it's as you said - trust in God's timing and whatever is meant to be will be - if it is for me it will not pass me ❤️❤️

  5. 'Your lack of experience doesn't mean a lack of skill' - very powerful!!

    I love your spirit,Sahara!

    Georgina |