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Roberto Hernandez
Roberto Hernandez

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Just Keep Coding!- A letter to junior developers

Hi Junior Developer,
I decided to write this letter to you. You’re probably just starting out on your dream developer career. I was there at some point and know the feelings of fear and doubt very well.

So I thought why not write a letter to encourage and motivate you to keep coding. There’s plenty of people of the net already talking about the technical stuff. Just remember, no matter how many mistakes you make or if the apps you develop don’t have the quality of outcome as you expected, just stay focused. Stay swimming on this ocean of codes, where you’ll eventually grow your seed through the code you create to make life better and processes easier.

The aim of this is to show you in this stage that despite it being hard right now, there are some valuable and powerful things you can take advantage of. So don’t worry! Even the most seasoned developers have felt and passed the same stage, under the same struggle. And, of course, you’re not alone. Though I am still a beginner at some topics, I am learning and getting better every single day.

The Beginner Stage

Sometimes you probably feel like this stage pushes you forward, and other times it pushes you backward.

For a while, you feel the momentum and say, “This is living. This is what I want to do with my life!” But when things are hard to solve or when you face complex concepts and you’re not able to figure them out, you might say, “Come on! This is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.” You feel frustrated and need encouragement to move forward. It’s a struggle that lives inside you and is holding you back. I know this feeling very well, too.

At this stage, you make a lot of bad things, and this is given for different reasons: Some of you want to get a job fast. Others just want to survive or need to earn some money, so you’re more likely to accept low-budget projects.
So we’re making bad decisions, making optimistic plans, and building software with poor and low-quality code as well. But this is normal. It’s just the beginning. You’ll find a way to jump to the next level. I can categorically say to you: It is worthwhile — just keep coding!

The power and values of this stage

I would like to spotlight the most important values at this stage: the willpower, the voraciousness, and the ambitions you’ll need in order to learn more, to become better, to have the courage to go beyond your goals, the willingness to give the extra mile, and the ability to be humble and embrace feedback.
Take advantage of these superpowers to progress in your development skills. You and I have dreams and goals, so we must force ourselves until we accomplish them. Add value to this world with your code by helping others. We want to be part of the change by writing quality code and sharing our knowledge, experiences, and lessons. The world will thank you!

Your desire to build a successful developer career

Most of us want to build a successful developer career, right? But let’s first clarify what a successful developer career means.

Successful, in general, means you’re able to accomplish your own metrics or your goals.

For some, the goal may be adding important contributions to an open-source project. Others may want to impact and help others with their knowledge by acting as mentors. Others want to leave footprints with their code. And some just want to work in a fantastic tech startup or at a big tech company, such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The list is endless.

But in general terms, it all comes down to becoming a strong developer — a master on what you do — then deciding how to get your ideas into the world.

Self-motivation, self-discipline, and focus

I truly believe building a solid developer career is not easy, and you won’t accomplish it overnight.

If someone else has told you the opposite, he/she has lied to you. Having said that, building a strong developer career depends on several factors, and all of them play on your side so you have control over them.

From my point of view, the three most important factors are self-motivation, self-discipline, and focus. Without focus, you don’t clearly know where you want to arrive in the short, medium, or long-term. Your sight is a blur — you might not have a clear path or you might even have the wrong path.

The real problem when we start out in this career is that we are expecting to see great results after we finish some video courses, some tutorials, some posts, or after completing some pet projects.

But the software-development field works the same as when you start to go to the gym. If you want to see progress, you should build self-discipline and self-motivation. You’ll see notable results after some weeks and months — as long as you maintain your consistency and discipline. You must train your brain and develop the muscle to gain use cases, becoming better at problem-solving and more creative.

Finally, Some Advice

Finally, I would like to give you a few tips and a piece of advice based on my learned lessons, experiences, mistakes, and failures.

Enjoy the process

I know this stage is hard in terms of how to get, retain, and understand all the information, concepts, paradigms, design patterns, data structures, and algorithms you’re receiving every day.
I encourage you to just keep coding. Enjoy what you’re working on no matter if it’s a small, medium, or big project. Please stop focusing on the results — enjoy and travel with the process instead. The results will come in time.

Plan first — then code

In the beginning, I constantly skipped the planning phase. I just wanted to see real progress and outputs on my UI. I started the task just thinking a little bit about it, without doing proper analysis and planning the best way or approach to solve and complete it. I ended up wasting more time in the end.
Plan and objective, and stay aware of it. But then code. Too much planning it also not a good idea.

To solve a problem, think about the different ways to solve it.
Usually, when we’re in front of a problem, we try to solve it as soon as we can. We decide to go with the first solution that comes to us. We forget to think of the complexity, the use cases, and the buggy potentials.
Just keep coding — it’s the only way to master this field.

Thanks for reading! If this story turned out to be interesting, I’d really appreciate it if you like and share it with your friends. I hope to add a little bit more knowledge to you.
Supporting and follow me on my blog and Medium

Top comments (38)

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Would you please consider swapping the #software tag out for #beginners? This is top notch content, and the Beginners tag is highly visible.

bjorngrunde profile image
Björn Grunde

Great article! One thing you touch that I think is really important, but not thaught enough is to learn effective planning of your applications. If done properly you not only know what to do, you solve problems faster and the flow of your application will also be documented. Also your test suite will love you. With 7 years of experience, I still struggle sometimes with planning out projects properly.

blarzhernandez profile image
Roberto Hernandez

Yes of course. An effective planning is required as well. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts!

trinityimma profile image

Thanks for the letter. I promise to keep coding.

Greetings from Nigeria.

bnikanjam profile image
Babak Nikanjam

I can totally resonate with when you said "Stay swimming on this ocean of codes". When I started swimming (I mean real swimming:) ) I couldn't event finish 25 yards without struggling. I stayed with it, kept showing up and practicing/swimming until I could swim 5000m none-stop. Now any lake I see I feel like jumping into it! Same exact principles you laid out here. Almost identical. Great post. Thank you.

aminubishir profile image
Aminu Bishir

Seems exactly what I'm badly in need of!
I'm that person that'll set goals (daily, weekly and monthly) on the things that I want achieve in the particular period, but I just don't know why along the way, before achieving the goals (especially those on relatively longer term), my motivation becomes no-where-to-be-found! 😭
I always have to struggle again to get me back on track!
Thank you so much for this great article, it's a pleasure reading it and I really enjoy it!
Endless Greetings from Nigeria 💑

txhai profile image

Thank you for the great post! I see myself somewhere in there. But would you please give some more advice that helps to keep self-motivation in code? I've started coding when I was a kid, it was so much interesting that time and I could stay up very late to code. But the motivation is weaker over time, I think I'm stopping learning new thing :(

rogersmukaaya profile image
Rogers Mukaaya

yeah, once you stop learning new things it gets a little boring which is why you need to be more curious, learn relearn and unlearn. you also have to be creative in your area of interest...

dottiboi profile image

As a beginner 5 years on since I decided to learn coding, I really appreciate your letter. The worst part is that I don't know how good or bad I am... When I feel good about the whole thing, I feel so comfy with coding, but then the bad feeling drives me to learn more. Thank you so much and when I achieve my dreams I will ditto you a reply. ✌

reynoldsbcoding profile image

This is a really good read. I am in the beginning stages of learning Web Dev and I feel the pain of wanting to stop daily but if I continue to move one foot in front of the other, then I will never been standing still. I'll get there one day.

jezmck profile image
Jez McKean

I find the best way of planning simpler code is to write // @todo comments for each step you expect to need to do, then refine. Never expect to get it all right from the beginning.

wizzyjr profile image

Thanks for sharing.

solobaby profile image
Bruno James

Great Message Sir! Really motivating. Thank you!

blarzhernandez profile image
Roberto Hernandez

Thanks for reading too. It´s really awesome to hear that!

carsturdy profile image
Carson Sturtevant

Great advice! I can say I've had my share of ups and downs over the past 4 years as a 2016 college graduate. Discipline and focusing on constant (small) improvements helps a lot.

awaiszaki profile image
Awais Zaki

Great article. Its motivate me.

jrraymundo profile image
Jerome Raymundo

Thank you for this 👍

stevengabule profile image
John Paul Lim Gabule