This is a guest post from Kiah Imani. Enjoy.
Dear new developer,
There are a lot of things that I wish I had known during my first year as a software developer. If I could go back and give my younger self some advice, here is what I would tell her.
Join a developer community
There are many benefits to joining a developer community, and these benefits are amplified for junior devs. For starters, it’s a great way to meet other developers of all experience levels and learn from them. You can also share your own knowledge and experience with others, and help to grow the community as a whole. In addition, community members can provide valuable feedback on your work, and help you to improve your skills.
In addition to providing a support network, developer communities can also be a great source of ideas and inspiration. By interacting with other developers on a regular basis, you can stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. And of course, it’s also just a lot of fun to be a part of a community of like-minded people. So if you’re looking to meet new people, learn new things, and improve your skills as a developer, then joining a community is definitely the right choice for you.
Imposter syndrome is real
Imposter syndrome is the sinking feeling that, no matter how hard you try or how much you achieve, you’re just not good enough. It’s the voice in your head that tells you you’re not cut out for this, that you’re going to be exposed as a fraud. And it’s more common than you might think. In fact, imposter syndrome is thought to affect up to 70% of people at some point in their lives. The good news is that there are things you can do to manage imposter syndrome and even find it helpful in your career.
Here are three tips:
- Acknowledge your achievements: One of the first steps to managing imposter syndrome is to take a step back and acknowledge your accomplishments. It can be easy to write off your successes as luck or timing, but doing so only feeds into imposter syndrome. When you take the time to reflect on what you’ve achieved, it becomes easier to see yourself as capable and competent.
- Embrace your imperfections: We all have flaws and weaknesses, and that’s okay! Embracing your imperfections can help you to see yourself in a more realistic light. Instead of fixating on your shortcomings, focus on what makes you unique and special.
- Seek out supportive relationships: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who will support you through your doubts and fears. These positive relationships can provide a much-needed boost of confidence when imposter syndrome strikes.
Code reviews are your friend
As a new developer, it’s important to get into the habit of code review. A code review is basically when you have another programmer look over your code and give you feedback. This is important for several reasons.
First, it allows you to get a second set of eyes on your code. This is especially helpful when you’re stuck on a problem or can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Having another programmer take a look can provide some clarity.
Second, it helps to identify any errors in your code before they become an issue. Catching errors early on can save you a lot of time and headaches later on. Finally, it helps to improve the overall quality of your code. The more people that review your code, the better it will be.
So don’t be afraid to ask for a review from your fellow devs before checking in your code.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
No software developer is an island. At some point, we’ve all run into a problem that we just can’t figure out. Maybe it’s a bug that’s been elusive for days, or maybe it’s a concept that just isn’t clicking. Whatever the case may be, it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s essential to your development as a software developer.
One of the best places to ask for help is Stack Overflow. It’s a huge online community of developers who are eager to help with whatever problems you might be having.
But don’t stop there – there are plenty of other forums and resources out there that can be extremely helpful. The important thing is to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We’ve all been there, and we all know how frustrating it can be to feel stuck. So don’t hesitate to reach out – after all, that’s what the software development community is all about. Helping each other out and sharing our knowledge so that we can all become better developers.
Find a mentor
Software development is a fast-paced and ever-changing field. It can be hard to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, let alone find time to learn new skills. One way to stay ahead of the curve is to find a mentor.
A mentor is an experienced software developer who can offer guidance, advice, and support. They can help you navigate the world of software development, and they can also provide valuable insights into the industry. If you’re serious about software development, then finding a mentor should be one of your top priorities. Having someone to look up to and learn from can make all the difference in your career.
Ready to find a mentor who can show you the ropes? Look no further than those around you – tapping into your existing network is often easier and faster than searching for strangers. Start by checking out organizations or events where professionals gather: reach out in-house at your workplace, attend virtual meetings to stay connected with industry peers across continents, join open source coding communities online or check out digital platforms that specifically connect mentors and mentees. When it comes time, choose someone whose expertise matches up perfectly with exactly what sort of support you need on this leg of your journey!
Reflecting on my first year as a developer, there are a few things that I wish I had known from the start. If you’re just starting out your career in software development, hopefully, this list will be helpful to you. Remember, everyone progresses at their own pace so don’t compare yourself to others. The impostor syndrome is real but you can overcome it by taking advantage of free resources and being grateful for feedback. Lastly, find a mentor who can help guide you through your first year and beyond. If there’s anything else you’d like me to cover in future articles, please let me know in the comments below!
A version of this post was originally posted here.
Kiah Tolliver is a Senior Developer Advocate at Progress who specializes in cloud security and compliance automation.
She is a public speaker who regularly presents at conferences and trade shows and is a self-proclaimed opinionated knowledge seeker. Kiah also moonlights as a co-founder of canna tech startup C-Trax.
Kiah has 11 years experience as a full-stack developer and prides herself on bringing a unique perspective to building products from idea to deployment and navigating product-market fit.
In her spare time, Kiah enjoys blogging about community, tech, and startups at blkgrlcto.com.