5 success factors as a junior developer

December 16, 2019

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During the last couple of years I've been working with different developers and many of them on a quite junior level. I’ve found some factors and behaviors that all junior developers would benefit from practicing.

There might be several other posts/articles about the same topic but these are my own reflections.

The list

  • Focus on one thing at a time. From time to time you might want to learn everything you hear about at once. This could be quite dangerous to pursue. I’d say you benefit more from focusing on learning one thing at a time - and learn it well. It gets easier if you tie it to your current project or task. Solve the issue in front of you in the best possible way and focus your learning efforts on that.
  • Ask questions. All the time. Don’t be afraid to ask any kind of question. Always make sure you understand. Do not say that you understand something when you don’t. It will only come back and bite you. Your colleagues and manager are probably more open to helping you than you think in that case. Be curious and ask people in your surroundings for advice and that they explain their solutions.
  • Learn to handle imposter syndrome. I think that every developer sometime during their career will have some degree of imposter syndrome. Especially if you’re new. When you start to learn new things and new concepts you will realise something that might feel overwhelming. I can’t remember who said it but my favourite quote related to this is "the more you know the more you realise you don’t know”. Try to accept that you will never know everything and that every other developer have been in your shoes. We all have to start somewhere.
  • Be proud of your work. Celebrate milestones, personal achievements, team efforts, releases etc. Celebrate often and together. Celebrate small and large things. Try to show other colleagues/teams/stakeholders/family members of your work. It will make you feel good and it is always fun to show other people what you've been working on.
  • Take it easy. Don’t rush things. Sometimes you might feel stressed over an important release or that you don’t know how to solve a specific issue. Take it easy and think about what is the worst thing that could happen? It usually isn't that bad. Ask for help and make sure you are solving the issue in a good way that you understand and can explain to others.
  • Bonus: Have fun!. Really important. Don't forget you have the best job in the world and that your possibilities are endless! Enjoy the ride and watch yourself grow for each year.

This was some thoughts I had on this subject. Would be interesting to hear yours! The list could probably be a lot longer.