As you re-listen to your Spotify Wrapped playlist and feel nostalgic looking at your top-liked Instagram posts of the year, there’s another important metric in your life that you should reflect on: your coding accomplishments.
It’s easy to lose track of the positive strides that you personally have made over the course of your coding journey. That’s one reason why Software Engineer Aashni Shah created a tool called HypeDocs to help people keep an up-to-date record of all their wins. Aashni was introduced to the idea of a “hype” document while she was working as a Software Development Engineer at Square.
The premise of a hype document is pretty straightforward: Start a running list and regularly update it with things that you’re proud of. Anything can count as an accomplishment, like completing a coding project from start to finish, finding a convenient time for a pair-programming session, or meeting your weekly learning target on Codecademy. (Read this blog for more examples of small — but significant — milestones that you should celebrate as you’re learning to code.)
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As the name suggests, a hype document is designed to give you a confidence boost by acknowledging your successes. It’s also a way of keeping receipts for all your hard work and contributions that may not get recognized by other folks on your team, which is essential when you’re vying for a promotion or working on your annual performance review.
“Especially for women and underrepresented folks, we face so many other additional issues at work — for example, impostor syndrome, and generally being overlooked for work that we’ve done,” Aashni says. “This helps us build a quantified way to track qualified work, which we don’t do any other way.”
This is a framework that anyone can use at any stage in their career, from beginners who are just learning to code to folks in full-time developer positions. Ready to start hyping yourself up more often? Here are a few ways that you can start, maintain, and take advantage of your own hype document.
Make a running document
There are a number of different ways that you could format your personal hype document. For example, you could use Google Docs and simply list your achievements with bullet points, or a spreadsheet with Google Sheets where you can add dates and record how it ladders up to a specific goal. Or maybe you’d rather have an analog journal where you can record your wins by hand. Some people might prefer Notion or other digital organizational tools — what matters most is that it makes sense to you.
Like any resourceful developer, Aashni coded a HypeDocs platform so anyone can incorporate the practice into their workflow. “This was introduced to me as: Here’s a Google Doc, write down all the things you’re proud of — and I love that concept,” she says. “But my engineering mind kind of went, Ooh, I want more.” HypeDocs automatically prompts you to update your document, sends you weekly reminders of your accomplishments, plus has a goal-setting feature.
Host a hype meeting
While working at Square, Aashni would meet once a week with a group of other women software engineers at the organization. When hype documents started to catch on across the organization, the meetings morphed into a weekly lunch where the engineers got together and discussed their achievements. “It was just the most incredible way to really, genuinely support each other, and it really bonded us in the office as well,” Aashni says.
See if your colleagues or team members would be willing to get together IRL or remotely a couple times a month to talk about your individual and collective wins or struggles. Aashni calls these groups “hype pods.” Not only is this a chance for you to celebrate your own accomplishments and give out well-deserved kudos, but it’s also a great way to learn about what your peers are working on, and see who might need some support.
(Hot tip: If you follow Codecademy on Instagram, you can share your wins of the week — coding-related or not — with us every Friday. It’s a great way to wrap up the week and get some inspo from other Codecademy learners.)
Your hype document can be just for you or something that you share openly with your team leader during one-on-one meetings. “The way for it to be most effective is if you have a mentor, a guide, or a manager to go through it with you, especially if it is something you’re using to build your career,” Aashni says.
Ideally, you’d be updating your hype document and referring to it often. But there are certain times in your career when you should definitely reference your list, for example, when you’re completing a self-evaluation for your performance review, or if you’re making a case to ask for a promotion. The facts on your hype document don’t lie — and your team leader will appreciate how clear and organized your document is. You might feel awkward at first, but “there’s so much power that comes from being able to share your wins,” Aashni says.
Lastly, don’t forget that your hype document is a tool that’s supposed to bolster you as well. “On a day where you feel down, whether you got rejected from a job offer or you just need that pick-me-up, it’s a great way to just go through and be like, You know what, today was crap, that’s fine. I’ve done all these other things as well.”
Hype docs are just one strategy you can use when you’re setting work goals. Be sure to check out the Codecademy blog for career advice, job interview tips, and more inspiration.