One thing I’ve come to recognize over my time as a programmer is where my limits lie. I’m not a super talented programmer: I started too late in life; and I have a job as a librarian, which prevents me from learning about code full time.

So I do what I can. The problem with programming is that when non-programmers see you do one thing with code, they assume you can do all the things. I’m constantly having to temper expectations and walk back my colleagues when they get too far ahead of themselves with a technical project. For example, today I was saying: “no, we can’t scale out this prototype to the entire college.” I said this because I know my skill set well enough to know that I would flounder at building something of that complexity at that scale.

It’s important to be clear about your limits. If you aren’t, it is easy to get yourself into trouble by over-committing.

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