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Beyond being technically able to show that I could build interfaces, I would say my communication skills were a big reason for getting my first job. As a junior, people expect your technical skills to need some work, however as a professional it helps to be able to communicate your ideas effectively regardless of your background. Also, a willingness to learn is obviously crucial.
Distractions with new shiny toys (libraries, frameworks etc) for sure. It's great to keep your ear to the ground and stay up-to-date with the industry, but as a junior I feel it's important to focus on the fundamentals of a language. So clarity of focus is a must-have skill, especially in the early days trying to break into the industry.
I try to learn from all different sources, as I find it helps solidify my understanding of concepts. So, from very early on I started reading books, doing online tutorials, building personal projects, listening to podcasts, attending meetups and also teaching others. I also made sure that I learned the same topics from multiple people to try and get a more well-rounded viewpoint, even if I already knew the concept.
Hope these answers help!
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