Have you already started looking for your first developer job?
Or maybe you have been already employed as a junior developer and you feel a bit lost in the new company?
These advice can be helpful for those who want to strengthen their skills as software developers.
1.Well prepared roadmap
Have you ever heard about the developer roadmap?
Unless you don’t, Developer roadmap contains technologies and concepts, that you should get to know during your learning process which never ends in the IT industry.
Example roadmap created by Kamran Ahmed (https://roadmap.sh/) will truly help you understand this concept of milestones and decisions that you have to make during your learning process.
1.1 Developer core
Every job connected with software development requires some basics, like usage of git version control system, understanding how the development platform works, basic usage of CLI (Command line interface) and usage of code editor, so you should try to focus on them at first. These will help you with every aspect of your work.
The most important part is connected mostly with your preferences and because of that fact it should be created by yourself. You are going to stick to this roadmap for some time of your career (at least at the beginning).
Try to find the non-common part that is going to be your speciality, and you will present yourself as e.g Junior Data Visualisation Specialist when you will learn ways of presenting data in applications.
You are going to feel awarded when you see how much you have done, as you will find yourself in this particular role.
2. Don’t be scared of asking questions
You have no idea how to solve a given problem? Don’t panic, as problem solving is a real struggle during software development process, you will learn how to do it properly after you gain more professional experience.
2.1 Ask yourself a question
At first try to ask yourself simple questions like: why did it happen, what does not work, when did it happen etc. Answers to these questions will help you with building the accurate question, or even will give you your needed answer. If it doesn’t solve your problem, here comes the second step.
2.2 Let me google that for you
You should start looking for similar problems on the net – there is a lot of useful sources like stackoverflow, Github issues, documentation of library that might have caused the problem. Learning how to get the answers from similar issues is super valuable in the software development process, as most of the problems in basic functionalities are quite common. Don’t spend all day searching through whole documentation. It is better to give yourself 15-30 minutes, and if you feel that you are stuck, here comes the last step.
3.3 Helpful teammates
Some of your more experienced teammates might have encountered a similar problem before, so they may be able to answer your questions in just 2 minutes. Don’t be scared of asking them, as you are a team that has the same goal – creating a great product that people will love.
However, remember not to change the order of steps above (especially, you should not treat asking your fellow teammates as the first step – they have their own problems to solve).
3. Todo lists
Creating a to-do list is a crucial thing – we all love to see that we have reached our goals.
It gives you a preview, of what you have done each day. Thanks to that you keep your team updated on the progress in more complex tasks.
To-do lists are highly connected with being agile. When you create your tasks earnestly, you will succeed in future planning, estimations, calls and all the other tasks during the process of software development.
Try to split tasks into smaller pieces. More is better in this case – when you count completed task you will be proud of yourself and boost your efficiency.
4. Do not feed your imposter syndrome
Experiencing imposter syndrome happens to a lot of people during their early path of career. It is a rather uncomfortable feeling, when you try to compare yourself with more experienced people from your environment. If that didn’t happen to you then you are lucky, or simply confident, which serves as an advantage for you.
4.1 Past comparison
Being successful and developing yourself means that you have to see the improvements, in order to reach new goals.
Can you spot the improvements when you compare to yourself from 6 months before? Probably the answer is yes, because the learning curve goes fast during the early path of career. Remember to set new goals, so you can keep improving yourself. Try not to focus on your teammates’ skills, as they are longer in this industry (therefore they know more) It is worth adding here that many of your colleagues had experienced the imposter syndrome too and won this fight!
4.2 Atomic Goals
5. Side projects
Taking part inside projects can not only improve your soft and hard skills but it protects you from the burnout as well!
Taking part in open source or non-commercial projects is really helpful for both your portfolio and skills. You will learn how to create pull requests, resolving issues, how to talk with people. It can happen that you will meet a group of programming hotheads to work with on your own project.
5.2 Your own projects
Have you found a group of enthusiasts to help you with your side project? If yes – amazing! You are going to learn how to work as a team with people from various environments. If not, you have the possibility to create a lot of small projects that will base on your creativity and will improve your self-management skills.
6. Solidifying your knowledge
You can find a lot of knowledge on the net. Have in mind that just reading or watching them won’t give you the best results – you should solidify your knowledge by practicing.
6.1 Make notes
While learning, try to make notes with definitions of accurate issues, it is going to give you a huge written in your words knowledge base, that will be more understandable for you than the third source.
Start your learning journey by creating a simple WordPress blog, where you will post content, that you have learned over time. Don’t be scared these topics have been already fulfilled or you made some mistakes. You will learn how to organize your notes and share knowledge with others. Moreover, is going to build your self-confidence and expert personality.
6.3 Memory cards
Create memory cards – it will solidify harder definitions in your brain, repeating definitions in time intervals, which is an extremely good exercise for your brain. I highly recommend you Anki app, which has a lot of features to create a wonderful memory card base.
7. Care about yourself
The last but not least, I would say the most important part for beginner developers is to remember both, mental and physical health. Your bad condition is a short way to burn you out. Self-care is really important to improve your stress management, that is why I see this section as the most important for you.
7.1 Take breaks
Remember about taking regular brakes. Step away from your desk, take a breath and do some exercises. Your backbone will thank you for that! I suggest you Pomodorro technique, 55 minutes of work, and 5 minutes break perfectly work for me. Sometimes I take a longer break to have yoga, meditation session or simple stretching.
7.2 Repetitive strain injury
These brakes will prevent you from RSI (Repetitive strain injury) which might be a real struggle later on, if you keep your position fixed for a long time, there are some Anti RSI apps that can help you with monitoring your off-screen time. Personally, I use Safe Eyes for Linux, but all kind of such software might be helpful.
Woah! This was a great advice pill. Remember that all of them are highly important during your career development. I will keep my fingers crossed for you, and have a hope that you will apply these tips on a daily basis.