Everyone is bad at this when they get started. Everyone.

I sent a link to this article via email last week or two weeks ago, but I thought I should link it here too, in case you did not read it yet.

Getting a job in journalism code: Two recent grads want to calm your job search fears

It’s such an outstanding article because it’s not all about how the two authors — a young woman who now works at ProPublica and a young man who now works at The New York Times — loved data and code and produced great interactives from the start. NOT.

Instead, it’s about how bad their early work was. How they (and others) look back at their early efforts now and think, wow, that was so poor! They have linked examples. You can look for yourself. And I think you will agree. Really? You got a job with that?

But not long ago, these two successful journo-coders were just like you.

Q: Am I a real programmer? I spend most of my time Googling error messages.
A: Yes. That’s what most of us do.

And I was the same way, once upon a time:

Q: Whenever I see someone write code, it’s like they’ve got everything memorized. Do I have to memorize everything?
A: You do not need to memorize everything. Programmers know what to write next (like exact phrasing of CSS or JavaScript functions) because of repetition, familiarity, and having looked it up time and time again.

You are good enough to do this. You ARE.

Q: I feel like there’s way too much to learn and no way I could learn it all. What do I do?
A: Here’s a secret, everyone feels this way.

There’s lots of advice in the article, so I’ll share just one more and then leave you to read it for yourself:

Q: Do I need to have a website?
A: Holy moly yes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to exist. Heck, Sisi’s website redirects to an about.me site. But the website’s secret goal is to funnel people to your portfolio, which should also be online. … your portfolio is going to be your best champion in getting hired. It’s much more important than your resume (though don’t skimp there, do things like list your skills) …

Be inspired.