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Karl Castillo
Karl Castillo

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Tips for New Developers

I've been a professional software developer, engineer or whatever you want to call since 2013. During this time, I've lead workshops, mentored in bootcamps and at work. With this experience, I've compiled some tips that have helped developers.

Be Flexible

There's always chatter between developers about being front-end, back-end or fullstack. Some say pick this or that because it makes you more money; but enjoying what you do is also important.

I always recommend to try out everything. Do front-end work, back-end work, or devops. Eventually, you'll gravitate towards one or more. I experienced this firsthand as I started as fullstack with roughly 50% front-end and 50% back-end. Now, I do roughly 95% front-end with 5% back-end as I enjoyed front-end more.

Read Code

Being able to read and follow code written by someone else is an integral part of being a good developer. Getting used to reading code not only helps you learn why developers do certain things but see alternative ways to solve the same problem.

It will also make you an effective reviewer when the time comes.

Focus on Yourself

A common thing I hear especially from new developers is I'm not fast enough or not good enough compared to someone else. Comparing yourself to other developers who are at a different stage of their career will affect your mental health. It might also worsen your impostor syndrome.

Focusing on yourself also keeps you honest with what you're missing skill-wise and knowledge-wise.

Find a Mentor

It's never too late to find a mentor. Having a mentor does wonders when it comes to receiving insight, and an alternative point of view about certain things as they would have different experiences. The topics you talk about with your mentor doesn't have to be exclusively about technology. It could be about life or career trajectory.

As someone who didn't have a mentor, it was difficult especially as a young developer. With little to no support early on in my career, it definitely affected my mental health at that time.

Rest

I've seen young developers who are extremely eager to learn as quickly as possible that they would be studying after work and over the weekend. The motivation is there but make sure that you're not burning out because of it.

Conclusion

Most of these tips might be common sense for most people, but sometimes it's important to mention it again. I hope some of these tips resonated with you.

What tips do you have for new developers?

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