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Software Engineer & Comp. Sci. graduate, writing about professional development, working in tech, and all things coding. https://www.elletownsend.co.uk
Laptop on top of a white desk, with code on the screen, next to an orange mug, a cactus and a black lamp
Laptop on top of a white desk, with code on the screen, next to an orange mug, a cactus and a black lamp
Photo by Rich Tervet on Unsplash

While trying to level-up my front-end programming and JavaScript skills, I ran out of ideas for things to create, and I wanted to learn more about making API calls. I thought, what better way than to create some little projects with fun APIs? I don’t know about you, but I found it a little tricky to get my head around all the interactions at first, but getting stuck in and having a go helped me to understand how it all works.

I wanted to share some of my favourite APIs to play around with, in case any of you are…


A Beginner’s guide to testing Node & Express projects using Mocha & Chai ☕️

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Software testing verifies that our code works as intended and meets the technical, functional, and user requirements that it needs to. Testing is a vital part of developing any software, but is so often overlooked by new engineers as an area to learn and develop their skills. It doesn’t help that more often than not, it’s hard to find good tutorials, guides or blog posts explaining the different kinds of tests for a code project, and how to actually write these tests.

To begin with, I wanted to go over some important words that pop up all the time around…


Impostor Syndrome is very real, but it doesn't define you.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

We have all seen these words popping up more and more frequently recently, but what does it really mean? and how can we recognise when impostor syndrome begins to manifest itself in our own lives?

Impostor syndrome refers to the state of feeling or believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. You may feel like you are a “fake” and that at any moment, the people around you are going to figure it out, or that you don’t deserve to be where you are, that you only got to where you are through luck.


Free tools every developer should know about.

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Tools can make your life as a developer a whole lot easier, but as a new developer, knowing which tools to use can be confusing. Until now, you’ve probably ended up sticking with tools you were introduced to early on in your coding journey, or ones recommended to you by other devs.

I want to tell you about 5 developer tools I use to improve my workflow, and the main tools I recommend all new developers try out.

Visual Studio Code

When you first start out, it’s really important to set yourself up with a good code editor to write your projects in…


Three beginner-friendly methods for creating an API from scratch

Outdated tech
Outdated tech
Photo by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash.

APIs are everywhere, and they play a vital role in modern-day technology. From payment platforms to stock market updates, everything is an API nowadays, and learning to create one yourself is a fundamental step in the path to becoming a full-stack developer.

Note: If you aren’t sure what an API is, I have a handy introduction for you.

In this article, I will discuss three beginner-friendly ways you can create an API:

  1. JSON Server
  2. Node.js and Express
  3. Python and Flask RESTful

Each of these methods has different use cases and uses different tech stacks. …


Mistakes I made when starting my blog, and the things you can do to avoid them.

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There are so many things I wish I knew when I started blogging, and I definitely made a fair few mistakes starting out. Looking back after a whole year of consistent blogging, I wanted to give some insight into 5 mistakes I made when I first started my blog (and tips on how to avoid them).

Be Original & Be Yourself

It’s easy when you first start out to slip into creating content that imitates popular trends or writers with thousands of reads.

Reading the work of others is a great way to pick up new writing techniques and popular blog formatting styles. However, there…


When Setting Goals, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

As we make a start to the new year, many people will begin with setting goals for the year ahead. While I am all for dreaming big and laying foundations for what you want to achieve in the next 365 days, putting big expectations on yourself and holding yourself to big picture goals can actually be holding you back.

When it comes to outlining what you want to accomplish, having big goals is a great motivator, and they can help you stay focused and guide you towards where you want to be. …


Stay curious, stay focused, stay true to yourself. 5 Important learnings from my first 100 days in tech.

Photo by Nathan da Silva on Unsplash

In September, I took my next step and started my first job in tech. As of this December, I will have officially been “in” the tech industry for 100 days. Here are the 5 most important things I learnt in my first 100 days in tech.

There Is Always Something More To Learn

I can be quite a shy person at times, but this is usually only to my own detriment. Starting out in your first job in tech, don’t be afraid to speak to people, be curious and ask questions. If you’re starting as a junior, nobody should expect you to be an expert, so being…


Everything you need to know to become a master of APIs.

APIs are incredibly powerful and exciting tools that make up a large part of modern technology. Knowing what they are and how to use them is a vital skill that every developer should have in their arsenal.

What is an API?

Put plainly, an API (or Application Programming Interface’) is an intermediary software that allows for communication between two applications. Think of them like a waiter; you sit down at a restaurant and order some food from the menu (you are an application), you convey your order request to the waiter (the API), who then communicates your request for food (data) to the kitchen…


Overcome the fears, do the thing, and start a blog.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Bit meta to be writing a blog post about writing a blog, but here we are.

Recently, I have been thinking about why I started blogging, and reflecting on my motivations and intentions for deciding to write semi-monthly blog posts. Hopefully this also convinces you to start a blog too.

When people talk about blogging, one of the first topics to come up is always motivation. “What is my motivation to start blogging”, “ what are my ‘blogging values’?” …

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