With decades of industry experience under our belts, we know how overwhelming it can be to kickstart your career as a developer. There’s a lot to learn, projects are constantly in the works and there’s usually a team of new people to get to know. The early days, however, can also be extremely rewarding. Inspired by Nate Ebel’s article, we asked our team for advice for new developers.
Here’s what they had to say on the matter…
Be honest and realistic with yourself and your abilities from the get-go. No one knows all there is to know from day one so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to know it all. The industry is ever-changing and the best way you’re going to learn is whilst on the job.
If something stumps you, ask one of your colleagues for guidance. You’ll learn something new and they’ll get the opportunity to put their existing knowledge to good use! It’s a win-win situation.
If you’re looking for consistency, you could also consider looking for a mentor that you could call upon for more in-depth discussion and management.
Embrace new projects and experiences for their learning potential. Take classes, follow other developers on social media and research specific areas of interest.
It’s good to be broad with your learning so that you have a wide pool of knowledge to work from. Once you’re comfortable in your knowledge of the basics, however, you should think about what you’d like to specialise in. This specialism will give future employers a clear idea of what interests you and what sets you apart.
Committing to learning new things takes time, sure, but it’s definitely beneficial. It increases the value of both you and your company, so don’t underestimate its importance.
Keep it simple
Whilst there’s a lot to learn, it’s important that you don’t try and learn a hundred new things all at once. Knowledge building takes time and it requires a lot of patience. Pick a particular specialism and work from there.
Try not to over-complicate other areas of your work life too, such as coding or peer reviewing, as it’ll only end up making tasks more laborious and not necessarily more successful.
Leave your comfort zone
It’s always tempting to stick to what you know, whether that’s eating at a particular restaurant every weekend or listening to the same genre of music in the shower every morning.
Whilst it’s nice to feel comfortable, you’re going to make more progress and appreciate life even more if you regularly leave your comfort zone.
Accept that you’re going to make mistakes, some bigger than others, and that’s okay. Testing and reviewing is an important part of the development process so, if you do make a mistake, it should be picked up before the build is finished. It’s better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all.
Post-mistake feedback is invaluable and you may find that it’s where you’ll do the bulk of your learning.
The industry is constantly evolving and, in order to be a successful developer, you need to try and stay in-the-know.
Read relevant articles, keep track of industry pivots, check out new tech and SDKs, and seek out new ideas and voices.
Don’t get left behind!
Look for Open Source projects and try new libraries
There are tons of Open Source projects for beginners for you to sink your teeth into.
Set aside some time to try some of them out and be sure to follow the developers that created them on social media.
It’s good to remember that you can learn just as much from the wider development community as you can from your team.
When you throw yourself into a new job or a new career, you can lose sight of basic organisational skills.
If you aren’t managing your projects, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. Dedicate at least ten minutes near the end of the day to taking stock of what you’ve achieved and what’s still left to be done.
It’s also hugely important to nail your time management, particularly in the early days, so that you don’t find yourself falling into bad habits. We are currently working on a post dedicated to time management for developers so be sure to follow us on social media to be notified when that goes live!
If you struggle to stay organised, start setting yourself some goals on a regular basis so that you can start to learn some new behaviours and stay on track.
Be mindful of your interpersonal skills
Communication is always key.
Build healthy working relationships, get involved in team activities, engage with the wider community both online and in person, and attend socials whenever you can.
Take your work seriously, sure, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
Perfect the work/life balance
It’s easy to lose the perfect work-life balance when you start a new career, especially when you want to make a good first impression.
Make sure you know when to relax and when to knuckle down and you’ll be able to work to a much higher standard.
We have a Wednesday Wisdom thread full of advice on achieving the perfect work/life balance so make sure you stop by and give it a read for further tips!
Love what you do and do what you love
Lastly, it’s important to ground yourself in why you became a developer in the first place.
With a career as fast-paced and creative as this, you need to first and foremost love what you do. If it ever starts to feel like a chore, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your choices. The solution could be as simple as switching up your daily routine or starting a new side project.
If you feel like you’re burning out, address it before it gets out of hand.
And there you have it, a whole host of advice for new developers. It’s an ever-changing, forever rewarding and creative career path so remember to embrace and enjoy it.
If you’d like to join our team, here in Barcelona, do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.