Starting a software development career is usually scary and exciting at the same time. But the fact is: all experienced developers started from basics and had some difficulties in dealing with their first tasks, every single one of them.
At Incora we practice hiring beginners and turning them into real pros. We helped lots of young talents to embark on their development career. And we have a pretty good understanding of how lost they can feel when coming across difficulties in performance for the first time. To make their life easier, I had a few short chats with our senior developers and those, who joined us at the very beginning of their career path. Here are some bits of advice to new programmers.
1. It’s Fine Not to Know Everything
I love that statement: you don’t need to know everything. You need to know where to find the information. I can expand it with ‘You need to know who to ask’.
It would be foolish to suppose that there can be a junior developer with no gaps in their knowledge. What kind of junior would they be then? It’s more important to have enough courage to ask.
If you need a diploma or certificate, find the most suitable educational program. There are so many courses, specialized schools and other institutions for improving knowledge. You can attend a coding camp or choose one among the tones of online courses. Meanwhile, the real world of software development is much more complicated than writing some code.
You should be able not only to write a clean code but also to understand the one written by other developers and be able to test it. These skills are essential for career improvement and you get them piece by piece, with every project you work on. That’s much information and no one will blame you for not knowing it straight away. Either way, it’s not rocket science, it just takes time.
2. Show Some Respect For Code Reviews
For most young developers code reviewing is an agonising experience. But the main point of doing it is analysing and giving feedback. And that’s the main thing you’re getting during your first year. Usually, during a code review, you get tons of comments to your code and suggestions on how to improve it.
Peers’ reviews are also worth considering. They help to realise that even developers of the same level can have completely different approaches in solving the same problem.
All of us have experience of being stuck. If you googled the problem million times and used different approaches without success, it’s high time to ask for help. Many junior developers have a fear that if they ask questions, fellow developers will question their ability. However, in most cases experienced colleagues will just have a quick look and give you a solution. Probably, they had difficulty solving similar issue few months or even days ago and would be eager to help.
That’s weird, but most young people prefer to google the question instead of asking. Don’t do that. Don’t. Do That.
Just because Google exists it doesn’t mean you should stop asking people things. Time is priceless and you can save so much of it asking the right person and getting an immediate answer.
Working in a team is the biggest advantage over freelancing. You are engaged in the development of the same project and can easily support each other in solving issues. Close communication with your team is very important for your learning curve and development of your soft skills.
There’s no such thing as a silly question, especially at the very start of your career. The team would rather help you fix a bug instead of having you stressed and puzzled, gazing at the computer screen for most of the day.
4. Write Clear And Maintainable Code
To create reliable software, it is necessary to write clear, testable code, that follows the S.O.L.I.D principles. After you have written some code, look at it again, refactor it and optimize if necessary.
It is very important to make it easy for teammates to read and follow your code. Actually, developers spend more time reading code than writing it. Reading code is a useful learning technique because it helps you to understand how to use design patterns, comments, tests and how each project is structured. When you add new features or fix defects, you will have to read everything carefully to understand the current codebase you are working on.
5. Search Ready Solutions On the Internet
When you are trying to complete a task, check online resources first. There is a high probability that someone else has already solved the problem. Try looking for existing packages/libraries or browsing websites (e.g. GitHub and StackOverflow). When you find a suitable example of code, try to analyze the particular design pattern, its advantages and disadvantages.
If a task seems impossible, make it more manageable by breaking it up into smaller tasks. Try writing down the steps, because it helps to visualize each part of the problem, and then google more specific solutions.
6. There’s No Limit When It Comes to Learning
The profession of software developer requires non-stop learning because technology is changing every day. Regardless of the seniority level, all of us have some gaps in knowledge and there is no problem with it. There are different ways you can boost your knowledge about a particular technology or sphere overall.
First of all, try watching video courses or read books from IT gurus. Using the newest resources, which are mostly available in English, will help you to stay on top of things and advance your English vocabulary.
Secondly, find a mentor. You shouldn’t get upset that leading engineers of the sphere don’t have time or will to facilitate you. For junior developers, a colleague with a bit higher experience level will be a great help.
One more nice tip is to join the tech community in your city or online. Participation in different workshops or conferences will help you to broaden your horizon, meet new people, and advance in your career.
I hope these tips will help you on your career journey. They are 100 % effective and can make your start much easier, more pleasant and positive. Don’t forget to check our career opportunities, maybe there’s something that you’ve been looking for!