No. 155

From Novice to Expert

Last week, I received an email from Patrick (okay, I’ve totally changed his name, just to protect his privacy), who saw my job posting online. Rather than applying for the job, Patrick asked me about how to go from novice to expert — without a degree. He had noticed that I was self-taught and wanted to do the same.

Patrick explained that he’s moving to Virginia with his wife who was offered a great position. He’s spent the past few years working as a Project Manager for a company that handles some website work. With his upcoming movie, he decided that he wants to jump into the world of working online, and asked me how he could go from complete novice to a solopreneur developer.

My first question was “Why do you want to?” I could have laid out a clear path for him, but I believe the worst thing we can do is choose a job because it’s convenient. Frankly, if coding makes you giddy, if you love solving puzzles and organizing involved mathematical problems, you might make a great developer. But just because you want to work from home in this digital age does not mean you should be a website developer, nor is it the only path open to you.

We live in this awesome world where we can create positions that have never existed before, some of which can be done remotely. I love that.

My background prepared me for development work: I have a bachelors in Physics and a minor in Mathematics (which was only a few classes short of a major). My first coding course was at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. But more importantly, I’m killer at organization and a natural puzzle solver. Coding is a zone of excellence for me because my real Genius Zones make it possible.

That’s what I asked Patrick — what were his Genius Zones? I suggested he look at those and his past experience, then consider what position he could create for himself that he would love. That’s what he should be an expert at, because he’s been on that path all along.

There are days I feel like I’m only really beginning to understand my Genius Zones and where they’re taking me, and I’m okay with that. I like the adventure. And I really love helping other people on their paths too.

What we can create ourselves, what we can create together is incredible.

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

One thought on “From Novice to Expert

  1. I love your take on choosing a career. I do think there’s a place for practicality in career choices, but when you can pull together passion and the practicality of making a living? Heaven (even on the days when it’s really, really difficult).

    So what are these genius zones? Are they like multiple intelligences? I’m really curious.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.