Daniel Strong, Frontend Engineer
Daniel is a Frontend Engineer at Codiga.
He is a passionate frontend engineer, teacher, and learner. He has worked on or led several creative projects where he's grown his leadership, management, design, and programming skills.
At Codiga, we're aware of the issues that junior developers run into and are working hard to help you write better code, faster. If you're a junior developer keep reading because we're going to provide some of our best tips to help you progress in your career.
Tip 1: Be Prepared
You've heard this one before and that's because it's effective!
Take a look at your tasks for the week and take action as early as possible. Read through tasks, try to understand the problem, and ask for clarification, if needed. Taking early initiative like this can set you up for success later in the week and ensure you’re not left scrambling to get everything on your to-do list completed. Remember that your team won't always be available to answer your questions when you ask them.
Don't show up to meetings late and unprepared! Get there early, get comfortable, and make sure you're caught up on everything. Prepare some answers to questions that will be directed to you. Being prepared here helps you from giving "I don't know" or aimless answers. Your bosses will notice and love the confidence and clarity.
Tip 2: Master Git
You're going to use it, and you're going to make mistakes, so take some time to master it. It's a fundamental skill for developers but sometimes gets overlooked. That is until an error is made. When you make a mistake (and we all do), you'll have the knowledge to fix it.
Tip 3: Mentorship
Look for a mentor.
A mentor doesn't need to be in your current field or company, so it can be anyone. In fact, it shouldn't be someone in your company since you should be getting unbiased advice.
Although it can be anyone, you may notice that many developers would love to share their knowledge and experiences with you. Whether it's someone you know personally or not, don't be afraid to ask anyone.
Tip 4: Ask Questions sometimes
When you were younger your teachers might have told you that there are no wrong questions, well they lied.
Don't bother your team with every little question that comes up. Try to solve them yourself, and if you get stuck then start asking for help. Depending on the day and present deadlines, you might be able to ask for a tip to solve it instead of the answer. This will level up your problem-solving and shows you want to learn. All good qualities in junior developers. When approaching your manager for help, it’s always good to show them multiple ways that you have tried to solve it yourself, even if it’s just research and no concrete fix has been implemented on your end. This shows them you’re a problem solver and self-starter.
I've found that when I write a question I have out, the solution becomes clearer and it doesn't even need to be sent.
Seeking constructive criticism is always encouraged. There is usually more than one way to do something and comparing those different implementations will help you grow as a developer. Remember you should always act as a sponge and try to learn as much as possible and then apply those learnings in the future.
Tip 5: Continuous Learning
The world of tech is always changing and the tools used today, may not be the tools used tomorrow.
Tools for Software Engineers
There are a ton of great tools out there nowadays that help junior developers. Things like linting and formatters were a godsend and must-haves now. Keep an eye on new offerings and try them out.
Try out Codiga's Coding Assistant and Code Analysis today. I'm not biased at all. 😐
Make a routine and try reading a book for an hour a day. If you are not enjoying that book, switch to another. The more you read, the faster you will get at coding. Start out with some well-known and highly-regarded ones. If you've found your mentor already, they may be able to suggest some as well. If you prefer audio books while you're cooking or doing chores, try out Audible instead.
You no doubt have a couple of projects on your GitHub. Don't let having a full-time job stop you from working on these or starting a new one. Be realistic with what you want out of the project. Want to learn a new language? Build a simple game. Want to try out a new framework? Build a simple app or recreate an old one.
It's never a bad idea to earn some extra income on the side and as a junior developer you may have done some freelance work. These extra production sites can help fill up your portfolio. You don't want to waste too much time learning something as you're going along though, so making these sites quickly is important. Using Codiga's smart code snippets can help you reuse code that you frequently use, thus reducing your time spent on a site.
A mentor may be able to help guide you on what to learn. They have more industry contacts and a better sense of where the industry is trending. Starting to see the benefits of that mentor now? They can be very valuable when you've found your match.
Within your employer
Love your employer and want to keep progressing there? Ask your supervisors about creating a career progression path with you. They may be able to help you focus your learnings on specific things for future roles within the company.
Is there a company you want to work for? Look at their job posts and see what technologies they use. You can reach out to someone that works there through LinkedIn and ask about their experience working there, too.
Getting that first developer job is just the beginning. Over the coming years, you'll need to keep improving and progressing. Following the tips mentioned above will give you a leg up on others, but remember to stay consistent with it! Learning isn't a race, it's a journey. Happy coding.