What I learned after documenting my life on YouTube for 5 years...
As a college dropout, I never thought I’d amount to anything. Prior to code, I did nothing with my life. I was just another young adult wasting his life playing World of Warcraft 15-20 hours a day.
Gaming was my life. It was my everything. It was the only thing I was good at. It was my escape from reality. But, you can only avoid reality for so long.
After living paycheck to paycheck for most of my adult life… I finally got my first job as a Junior Web Developer for a small company in Tustin, California.
As soon as I got hired I searched for developers I can follow on YouTube. I soon realized that every developer on YouTube was a “Top Notch” developer. There was no one that I could relate to. There was no one that I could share my struggles with. So… I decided.. Why can’t I be that very same person for others. I’ll do it first.
Boom. 5 years later I reached 80,000 subscribers and have sponsors reaching out to me on almost a weekly basis.
I never thought I was capable in building anything. But after years of self doubt as both a developer and an aspiring YouTuber… I did it.
I learned that I should not create excuses for myself simply because I did not have any “formal education.” That, even those without special training can succeed in anything as long as they are determined and do not give up. Let’s be honest… If I gave up, I would not be here today.
Let’s face it. Not just anyone can become a developer. Especially if you’re aspiring to become self-taught. It’s hard. Its very hard. Especially if you’re a college dropout like me. Yet.. somehow, I got my first jr developer job after studying code for just 3 months. I did not consider myself to be a real developer whatsoever at this point. But the fact someone hired me was a miracle.
But there will always be people who are jealous of your success. Even if they are small.
Since day one people called me a fake developer. That I was only a YouTube Developer. I never shared my code. As a newb in the industry, I had no idea what I was talking about.
They were right. My goal on YouTube was to never be known as a know it all. All I wanted to do was create a channel that people can relate to. To become the person that not only shows what they’re good at but also shares what they’re weak at. I shared my vulnerabilities like no other.
But unfortunately the entire YouTube world didn’t know that. Throughout the first 2-3 years people kept telling me to quit. They told me that code wasn’t meant for me. That I was deceiving people and leading them down the wrong path.
It was tough. It was very tough. But… I kept going.
After 5 years of content. Those comments stopped coming. As I kept getting jobs at more well known companies.. But more could they have said? The haters disappeared.
I learned that doubters will keep doubting you until they longer can doubt you. Don’t listen to them. Always follow your passion. What you love. You know yourself best.
As a first time YouTuber… I had no idea what would work. What kind of videos should I create? Do I need the best camera out there? What if I’m not good looking enough?
As you probably already know… I made a lot of mistakes. I’ve made content that only received 1,000 views while some over videos reached over 400,000 views within a few weeks.
What I’m trying to say is that I had no idea what I was doing. I knew nothing about the algorithm or how important the thumbnail was. But I had to learn somehow.
I learned that my audience did not care about the start-up life. They did not care about how good I was at code.
What did they care about was what I sucked at. They cared about my struggles. They wanted to know all of my doubts, my insecurities and my greater successes.
Once I figured this out my views and subscriptions began to skyrocket. I learned the system. I learned what I needed to create. But the only reason I was able to figure this out is because I failed a lot. I took risks on what content I thought would and would not work.
Sometimes I uploaded a video thinking it would do horrible but it actually ended up doing better than my last 5 videos combined.
I learned that not just with YouTube but also with life… we need to take risks. We need to embrace failures. This is the only way to succeed in anything.
Developer Relations Engineer @New Relic