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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

Posted on • Originally published at

Tips for Junior Developers Heading To Startups

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash


When I first started out as a junior developer after multiple twists and turns.

I think I had consumed a bunch of videos, articles, podcast and ebooks so that it could help me in becoming a better developer while I was going through my internship in the startup I'm currently in.

Despite I had graduated with a CS degree a year prior before embarking on my journey as a professional developer in a tech startup.

I think I was ill prepared to face the world to stake myself for a career in tech in the world of startups in my country.

I hope these tips will be useful for anyone who is planning to start their career as a developer for a startup

Time Management

As a developer, I'm sure that you have a bunch of technologies you need to learn.

Heck, I had come across multiple technology road maps for front-end, backend or full stack developers they are really huge.

You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

Time management is still a work in progress for me, with feedback from people around me and my time management software.

Through multiple trials and errors, i learnt that you should set aside time to plan a list of tasks ranging from the technology you plan to pick up to your daily work.

1) Daily - 10 minutes - 15 minutes
2) Weekly - 30 minutes - 1 hour
3) 3 months - 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes
4) Annual - 3 hours - 5 hours

Do remember to review & reflect on what you had done during the 3 months and annual.

So that it would allow you to find ways to refine your process of managing your time.

Tracking and Measuring Yourself

In the startup world, formulating the metrics and tracking it is an important thing to which could make or break a startup.

Therefore for your own personal time management wise, start with a personal time tracking software.

Like RescueTime or Pomodoro Technique which is to work on a single task called Pomodoro for a duration of up to 25 mins and rest for 5 mins after each Pomodoro.

Once you reach 4 Pomodoro, rest for a longer duration of up to 30 mins.

Being a Sponge

In my Why Be a Full Stack Developer article, I had written that you should focus on learning from a diverse source.

Be it philosophy, business management, history, military, design or just writing.

You gain skills and knowledge to talent stack.

Which is just blending your own technical capability and knowledge to stand out from the crowd of developers.

Learn to Write Well

This is something that I didn't know while I was taking my writing course during university for technical and scientific writing.

Besides the benefits of clear communication with another person through writing.

The act of writing allows one to formulate and present one's idea into a written form.

Be it in the documentation, howto guide, wikis, issues and other ways we developers communicate with other people.

This is especially important so that other software developers and non-software developer could understand on what you are writing and the thought process taken to formulate the idea.

Many startups like Stripe or Airbnb or even Google who places a high value on one's ability to write well as part of their recruitment process during the technical interviews to understand the candidate.

Therefore I would suggest picking a book on writing like On Writing Well By William Zinsser or books from John McPhee that was recommended by Jim Collins the author of "Built to Last".

Meeting New People

I know when the first thing that goes through my mind when I heard the word networking.

I always had stomach aches and anxiety whenever I'm chatting with a new person.

Jobs are filled through referrals who is provided by developers who are working for the company.

By attending meetups and conferences with the focus to meet awesome developers.

Like a developer that focuses on software-defined networking technology or a UX researcher that was previously in MIT media labs to conduct UX research even a developer who is taking classes to be a pilot.


I hope these tips are useful for junior developers like you who are thinking of joining a startup.

This article is something that I had a wished that someone who would give it to me when I was just starting out or had graduated from university.

So that it could reduce the number of times that I had to knock the wall.

Well, we live and learn from our mistakes, how I love the school of hard knocks and consuming materials of people's perspective on life.


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This post was originally posted on max's blog at Tips For Junior Developers Heading To Startups - Reading Time 4 Mins and Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Top comments (11)

korlynx profile image
collins unaichi

Thanks for the write up. I am currently doing my master thesis and write the codes using python. I would like to pursue a career as a python dveloper after graduating.

Thanks once again

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

That's great, I hope it is helpful to inspire to join a startup as a python developer :)

adev08 profile image
Alex Mateo

Thanks for the post

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Thanks for reading article :) I hope it helps you :)

rajaasyraf profile image
Raja Asyraf

Thanks for writing this! Really helpful for me as junior.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

No worries :) I'm glad that it is useful for you :)

leppercameron profile image
Cameron Lepper

Thanks for this. I'm leaving a large traditional corporation to work at a StartUp, still fairly junior, and this was a very useful post in anticipation of my transition.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

I'm really happy and glad you find this post useful :) Welcome to the world of startups :)

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Thanks that you like the tips :)

iuriimednikov profile image
Yuri Mednikov

Hello! Why this article is named "Tips for Junior Developers...". In my opinion, this works for absolutely ANY dev, despite of the level of seniority.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Wow thanks so much for the complements on the article.

I choose the title because I think that it is useful for junior developers.

Who would like to be part of startup to become a tech lead in the future.

Since for me, joining one has proved to be an awesome experience that has stretched my boundaries and experiences.