You should avoid these 5 mistakes as a Junior Developer
This article is more of a self-reflection about my journey as a Junior Developer. If you are just starting your career as a Junior Developer I will recommend you to read through this article so that you won’t fall into the same loophole I was once.
A little bit of story behind how I started my programming journey.
I started learning front-end development as a side add-on to my UX designing career. At that time my only focus was to understand the developer side of experience in building any web application. Along the way, I dived so deep that I ended up being a full-stack developer. Flipping the coin, now I see UX design as my benefit add-on to my web development career.
There is this famous quote by Socrates“The more I know, the more I realize I know nothing.” I feel the same every day. When I first started as a Junior Developer, I was so nervous. There was a constant fear and doubt. I was worried if I was capable enough of performing a task assigned to me. I am sure I am not the only one, and if you are reading through this article, I bet you have that fear too unless you are a friend of mine who is just stalking to see what I wrote 😂 . Lack of experience and lack of confidence, I made a lot of mistakes as a Junior Developer. These are the top 5 mistakes that I should have avoided to make my Junior Developer experience more relaxing and efficient.
Googling instead of reading documentation
Yes before you even say anything, I will admit, Google is my best friend. To be honest, I am not even sure if I would be able to do anything without Google. Googling was a way to find easy answers. Even though in many cases there was official documentation available I would still spend several minutes just to find the perfect answer in Google.
Reading docs was boring and often I couldn’t follow along. I wanted to solve the problem as fast I can, get rid of the error in my console, and see the function running magically.
As I grew, I realized that docs have most of the questions answered. Apart from that, it made my ability to understand the broader side of development after I started reading documentation. For sure, not all the docs are well written and they do not cover several edge cases and possible bugs but giving time to read docs saves tons of time in googling the perfect answer. Even googling becomes easier and faster after going through the documentation. On top of everything, it sets you a good habit that will be beneficial in the long run.
Also keep in mind that when you start to work on a new project or already existing project, you will most likely start it by reading Readme documentation.
Plan before coding
As a junior developer, I was so excited about the coding part that I often forget to plan. With my UX design background, I should be aware that planning is important but somehow I always had a rush to jump into VS code and start writing codes.
Analyzing the requirement, understanding the why and how part of any task is a crucial step before actual coding. It is much nicer to think of several edge cases, possible growth, and so on before starting to write even a single line of code. I have covered one example case about API calls in this video.
Stop watching tutorial videos
Yes, you heard me right. I have a YouTube channel, and yet I will say you won’t progress by just watching tutorial videos on YouTube. Tutorial videos are fun to watch, and also a good way to learn but it is a costly way to learn. You might be thinking that it is free to watch those videos but you should not forget you are trading your time watching those videos.
I have to be honest, I have learned a lot from watching videos and many awesome guys are working hard to give us free education. That is one of the reasons I started my YouTube channel — to contribute to the community.
But my progress got a lot better when I started writing code by myself. I am a big fan of saying “Learning with a purpose”. Instead of wasting your time by watching a never-ending loop of YouTube videos, try to come up with a project and start coding. Now you will have a reason to search for something, a reason to watch something, and you will immediately apply that knowledge to your project. This is much more beneficial than watching a YouTube video making hamburger animation that probably you will never use in your projects.
Do not forget to give time on Career Development
When you are starting a junior position it is easy to get wrapped with challenging daily tasks at work. You want to impress your boss, you want to prove them that you were not the wrong hire and you want to prove yourself — nothing bad on that. But you should also zoom out and look at the long road.
Technology are enhancing every seconds. What you know now can be easily out-dated in few weeks. Few weeks ago I had to do one project on React. It has been a while since I did anything on React. When I wanted to use Routes in React, I realised that there was a new version and my old knowledge was almost out-dated. Luckily though, I had a basic understanding and experience from routing in other framework such as Vue.js. It didn’t take that much of time for me to understand the new logic and implement it in my project. Btw, here is a video I made if you are interested about React Router 6.
Remember what I said earlier about reading documentation? React Router 6 had a nice documentation and I could adapt to the new change easily. If I was focused so much only on doing day-to-day task like I was doing when I was a Junior Developer, probably I would have had a hard time coping with the changes.
Take online courses, keep reading technology related articles, follow different groups in different platform and give time on your career development apart from doing your daily tasks at your new work.
Do not hesitate to say “I don’t know”
When you say I don’t know, you are opening yourself to learning. On the other hand, if you hesitate to say that you don’t know you are putting yourself in possible trouble and stopping others from helping you. Don’t take me wrong, I am not expecting you to keep saying I don’t know 😂😂. Imagine a situation where for every task you are assigned to, your answer will be “I don’t know 🤔”.
When you don’t know something, you can be honest and ask for help if there is any possibility from your colleagues or friends. If there isn’t anyone in your team to help you, give time to read about the topic or find a possible answer elsewhere. Just because you said you don’t know, don’t expect that you will get rid of those problems. Most probably you have to solve it and you will solve it. Not knowing is one thing but not wanting to know is another.
One of the powerful teachers is time, with the right mindset and hunger to learn, time will teach you everything, just don’t stop learning.
Thanks for reading the article. If you are a junior developer I would like to hear about your experiences and mistakes. If you are not a junior developer ( don’t ask me the definition of Junior vs Senior 😅), I would still like to hear your experience during the start of your career.