What I Wish I Knew as a Junior Dev – Lessons Learned After 11 Years of Coding


I initially wrote this text as a checklist of classes for newbies and junior builders on Reddit. Then it blew up with over 50 awards. Lots of coronary heart warming messages adopted.

So I’ve determined to improve the submit primarily based on individuals’s reactions.

Here are the issues that I want I knew at first of my journey as a Software Developer. They would’ve helped me stress much less, and hopefully they do the identical for you.

Let’s get to it.

All tutorials are usually not created equal.

When you are first beginning out, you are simply making an attempt various things. As you be taught and experiment, take note of the varieties of tutorials that give you the results you want.

Many is not going to work. And that’s wonderful.

In truth, that’s precisely how experiments work till you discover a resolution.

But the second you strike gold, follow it, eat that content material voraciously, after which discover related tutorials so you’ll be able to proceed your speedy development.

Photo by Christopher Gower / Unsplash

When I began, I used to bang my head towards Head First Java, the guide. But after learning for a lot of hours, I simply wasn’t getting anyplace.

But everybody on-line mentioned it was the most effective programming guide ever. For me, although, TheNewBoston’s YouTube tutorials did it for me despite the fact that individuals do not suggest him anymore.

I want I might say this stopped after my first 12 months.

Fast ahead two years down the road.

I began studying algorithms, and ALL the weblog tutorials I adopted simply didn’t make sense till I watched YouTube movies on Hungarian people dance instructing algorithms.

And it simply clicked.

YouTube Hungarian video. I love dancing. They danced. And it clicked.

Since then, my method to studying has been to be taught the identical factor from a number of locations till I discover the trainer and magnificence that works for me.

You’ll neglect a lot of issues.

Deeply understanding this may change the way you be taught.

I can’t rely the quantity of occasions I took Introduction to Python Programming on web sites like Udacity, Coursera, and nonetheless forgot all the things.

It’s so annoying.

But I’ve since realized that you simply’ll neglect something you be taught in remoted workout routines as a result of they’re saved briefly time period reminiscence. Neuroscience analysis exhibits that that is simply how the mind works.

If you don’t need to neglect, take a look at your information utilizing spaced repetitions. To do that, construct initiatives.

I’ll provide you with a concrete instance:


This offers you the size of a checklist in Python. You’ll be taught this in Udacity’s Intro to Python course.

Come again a month later and also you won’t keep in mind if it’s len, size( ) or myList.dimension( ).

But with spaced repetition by a undertaking, the result is completely different.

For instance, you’re employed on a 2-month lengthy Django app for brand new coders the place you want to:

  • Count the quantity of customers a number of occasions.
  • Store the quantity of workout routines achieved.
  • Find the quantity of chats in a day.

Imagine doing this all through the span of the undertaking – for 2 months. It’s onerous to neglect what len( ) does.

This is a trivial instance, however hopefully you get the thought.

New learners can begin with easy, remoted examples.

But for those who’re not working towards throughout the scope of a undertaking and utilizing and reusing what you’ve realized, nothing goes into your long run reminiscence. It’s all short-term.

And meaning you’ll neglect it.

Work inside concern, not towards it.

I’ll admit that this one’s simpler mentioned than achieved.

But it’s important to grasp this if you wish to final.

There’s this temptation to repair your concern first earlier than you proceed to be taught. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

In truth, you’ll spend a lot of time making an attempt to make your concern disappear however as a substitute it’ll solely double your nervousness. You have to seek out a manner – your manner – to acknowledge that you simply’re afraid.

And frankly you may proceed to be afraid for a very long time. So work inside that realization.

No must struggle it.

Sometimes, this concern disappears as you develop into more adept.

Other occasions, it vanishes for a whereas and comes again whenever you get into a new atmosphere, work with sensible software program builders, or transfer to a fully new stack.

It’s okay.

toilet paper - Corona Virus
Photo by Jasmin Sessler / Unsplash

If you need to progress as a software program developer, it’s important to keep in mind:

This IS the life.

It’s a sinusoidal wave – endlessly going up and down. Don’t take it too critically otherwise you’ll lose your self.

Consistency > onerous work.

Consistency is king.

When you begin studying, you lay down neural pathways that make it simpler to retrieve data.

According to Neuroscience analysis, these pathways solely get robust by frequency of use, not simply depth.

This means 30 minutes a day, for five days a week is manner higher than 2.5 hours in the future, solely as soon as a week.

Same hours, completely different impression.

Don’t simply work onerous, apply knowledge right here.

Talent = hidden observe.

It’s simple to dismiss progress as expertise.

My first programming class was in C++ and my classmates refused to imagine I had by no means coded earlier than as a result of I was just-so-talented.

But what in addition they refused to just accept was that proper after class, I would spend 5 hours typing:

cout << “this is my first program”

Then I’d notice it didn’t run as a result of I forgot a semicolon ;.

So I’d retype it and notice it didn’t print out my assertion on a new line as a result of I didn’t add endl.

This deliberate observe constructed perceived expertise.

Talent is sexier than hustle so nobody needs to listen to that you simply labored onerous and acquired right here. Just inform me you have been born this manner – it’s extra plausible.

Talent vs. Hustle – The majority of us largely hustle our manner by it.

But changing into a proficient software program developer is like taking part in an instrument.

Only a tiny few are born gifted.

The majority can solely get as good as the quantity of observe we put in.

And you’ll be able to instantly inform a scholar hasn’t been working towards the second they sit on the keyboard.

You’ll meet jerks!

Every subject has its dose of horrible individuals.

No doubt.

But I’m unsure what it’s about software program dev that pulls jerks in droves.

Maybe as a result of coding provides you the sensation of having a super-power or a uncommon ability. If you’re a newbie programmer, you’ll meet those that’ve been coding for years and suppose nobody else ought to are available.

A Windows developer solely? You’ll meet Linux fanatics that suppose you’re mediocre.

If you’re a girl, you’ll instantly be dismissed as a result of of your gender. I know this from private tales from colleagues through the years.

If you’re a minority, you’ll meet individuals who suppose it’s best to solely fetch espresso, not code.

If you’re coming from one other subject (notably not STEM), you’ll meet individuals who mechanically make themselves gatekeepers of the programming neighborhood.

“We don’t want social scientists here – we’re purists!”

Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

They’re on-line.

And at work.

And sadly typically in your loved ones.

It’s not if you’ll meet them, it’s when.

Learn to maneuver on.

Things are getting higher however there’s nonetheless a lot to do to teach individuals.

But don’t let this deter you. Build your resilience so that you don’t stop after you meet these individuals.

And whenever you get to the highest do not be a jerk!

Master one factor.

New builders have a tendency to leap round studying a lot of issues.

Okay, it’s not simply new devs – it’s additionally skilled people.

You realized React for one week. Then JavaScript for 2 weeks. Laravel for 3.


You must get up and notice that you simply’re merely extending the time it’ll take you to actually be taught something.

“If one is a master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Photo shoot was cancelled today so I took my chess set to the studio to shoot various chess ideas..
Photo by Randy Fath / Unsplash

Pick one factor.

Stick with it for a few months – ideally 6 to 12 months earlier than you progress to one thing else.

This has two advantages:

  1. You’ll go deep sufficient and hit vital mass that strikes you in the direction of mastery.
  2. After you grasp one area, you’ll be able to switch information to a different. Example: be taught Flask and you may simply stroll into Django. Learn React deeply, and you may shortly determine the professionals and cons of Laravel inside a few days.

This does not imply be taught HTML alone for six months. Then solely CSS for 1 12 months.

Rather, it means do not combine up studying:

  • Django
  • With Express
  • Then React
  • Some Gaming Development
  • And iOS.

You would possibly get a lot achieved in a brief time. And possibly really feel like a newbie programmer quickly rising. But it is an phantasm.

You’ve mastered nothing.  

Software improvement is an ever evolving subject.

It’s thrilling.
It’s irritating.
It’s intimidating.

But if I needed to, I’d do it another time.

Thanks for studying!

Phew! Did a lot of reflection and much of hours to place this collectively.

  1. Follow me on Twitter: I’m most energetic on Twitter. If you loved this, share and retweet this to assist unfold the phrase. Have questions? My DM is open.
  2. Join the e-mail neighborhood: I’m placing collectively assets to assist new coders and junior builders enhance their confidence. If , be a part of this e mail checklist.

Heads Up – I love analysis so I are likely to again my recommendation and method with ideas from Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience.


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