10 Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Junior Developer

Andy Charters
.
August 21, 2023
Productivity

The year 2000 undoubtedly ushered in a lot of innovation, technological advancement, and an ever-expanding expectation for the next big thing development-wise. This move from basic to advanced has come with the growing need for software developers, and that demand probably won't stop anytime soon.

Due to how fast-paced, interconnected, and 'virtual' the world has become, most aspiring software developers are 95% sure of getting juicy job offers most of the time, and the pay is undoubtedly attractive. When you think about it, most developers benefit from the formal education offered in college, but not many universities equip their students for the real world.

That means that half the time, most young graduates come out with the assumption that their knowledge or talent is enough to keep them afloat over time. For those who still have passion for software development, it's important to take note of these common mistakes web developers make early in their careers.

Sticking to their comfort zone.

It's very easy to get used to the routine of a job, and have zero insight for development or expanding your horizons. However, it's another thing to pick or stick with easier tasks that don't push limits or challenge your knowledge. This is one of the major mistakes developers make; staying in their comfort zone.

When you complete basic tasks in record time, it may give that initial sense of accomplishment, but it doesn't help personal progress in any way. The best way to learn is to push your limits; remember, people don't progress or get to the next level without overcoming challenges or passing tests. It's the same system when working in a fast-paced and innovative environment, rather than sticking to the little you know, seek to improve and hone those skills by asking for more challenging projects.

That might seem too ambitious, but it really doesn't hurt to reach beyond your level sometimes. However, only going for demanding tasks isn't advisable either, rather, be smart and mix things up according to your pace, passion, drive and capacity. That's the best way to make progress without burning out, take on the easy tasks when you feel worn out and less driven, but take on the more challenging ones once that drive refuels.

They don't ask questions.

As a junior developer struggling to learn the ropes in a new environment, it's important to ask questions. One major mistake junior developers make is not asking enough questions. Don't regard the number of times you have gotten shut down in the past. When working in a welcoming or friendly environment, take advantage of that and ask away!

Don't consider those questions silly or irrelevant, especially if you are not simply trying to make conversation. Any successful developer looking to progress in this field should not be afraid of asking questions when necessary. When in doubt, look for clarifications from the friendliest face around. Yes. It's hard putting yourself out like that, but asking questions is also a great way of making beneficial connections.

People are thrilled to share their knowledge, so letting someone else talk about something they have passion for is another neat way to gain a friend. Now, most work tasks and projects are handled remotely, and it's more challenging to ask questions on the work platform or during a conference call.

But remember, it's better to look foolish and gain knowledge than to keep silent and remain ignorant. However, if it bothers you that much, simply send a direct message or a professional email to a senior developer that seems friendly and cordial enough to respond.

Pride.

It is essential to hold your head high in any work environment, but another virtue that is even more beneficial is humility. Superior skills, talent, and confidence may have gotten you through the doors, but it's humility and patience that may likely keep you in. But why is humility so necessary?

Well, it's simple, sometimes, a colleague or supervisor may criticize your work and the reaction could either be cool and receptive or disastrous. Writing and developing code is a creative's job, and when a creative is criticized, it's easy to take things personal. Here's some advice that should help any young developer through their foundational years; try to treat criticism as objectively as possible.

Do not take positive criticism personally; remember that in an office environment, work must satisfy certain professional and not personal standards. From the initial stage to completion, your work will be inspected, revised, corrected and criticized. That doesn't mean that you are a bad developer, in fact, it's an opportunity to learn more. If a supervisor seems impossible to please, also remember that you cannot please or satisfy everyone, but still try to take away the positives.

It's not wrong to expect accolades or pats on the back, but when that's rare, stay humble and open to criticism. As long as this supervisor is not taking personal jabs on your personality, style or life, keep things professional and don't show it even when you feel bummed.

Duplicating code.

This is one trick some developers think they can get away with, but it's a very immature move. No developer is respected for repeating or duplicating codes, it's a lazy move and does not encourage learning and creativity. Besides, it can be very painstaking and counter-productive in the long run and the reason is simple.

When junior developers repeat a block of codes in more than one place, a change in one would necessitate a change across board. At the end of the day, more time is spent changing and replacing here and there, and it's honestly not worth it.

So, try to be unique and ensure every concept is abstract. If you ever get discouraged, just read some of these stories about people whose lives were changed simply by turning to coding.

More diligence than passion.

According to Forbes, passion is one of those intangible intrinsic values that drives success in business. That means, regardless of how good or bad a task/project is going, it takes passion to keep your will running. Since passion can be defined as a strong conviction, desire or devotion towards something, it's easy to conclude that passionate developers may do and fare better than the usual 'hard-workers.

The excitement towards a project can be seen from a mile away with passionate developers, and managers/supervisors take note of that. A manager would most likely give a project to a passionate developer who strives to get the job done, one reason for this being that, it's simply a delight to watch.

An employee who is simply working to get a fat paycheck at the end of the month may have drive, but don't be surprised when passion is chosen over that drive. Managers love to see young creatives who are not just ambitious or over-zealous but passionate about every task they are given and complete projects with vigor, pride, and diligence.

Being closed to feedback.

You have probably heard this before, but it's important to hear it again; nobody is an island. In relation to the workforce, as a junior staff, the best way to learn is through feedback from projects. Regardless of the grades you graduated with back in college, experience on the job beats literal knowledge.

Many junior developers clean up their skills and learn their shortcomings through constructive criticism. Those senior developers that seem cocky or proud have a lot of hands-on knowledge and experience in the field, the more they criticize and comment on your work, the faster you learn.

Another important lesson pointed out multiple times in this article is not taking criticism personally. It always hurts to hear your work didn't make the cut, but in a professional environment, that's simply another way of saying keep learning and perfecting those skills.

A study by social psychologists, Duning and Kruger, highlights certain biases in people who overrate their performance. According to this study, people with low competence have an illusory superiority that makes it harder for them to see personal faults in their work.

This study may not pertain to you, but the vital thing to note here is that as a professional and progressive young developer, do not be close-minded about constructive criticism. It is one of the fastest ways to grow and learn on the job.

Getting stuck on tutorials.

One of the mistakes while learning code development is getting stuck on tutorials. It's like a trap-door for developers and some take quite some time to figure a way out. Do not get me wrong, tutorials are great as they help to simplify concepts, but after learning a thing or two, it's time to start coding independently again. Watching tutorials and directly copying codes from the instructor may give the viewer this false sense of progress, but it's actually not beneficial in the long run.

Developers learn better when they tackle tasks and assignments head-on without looking for shortcuts or an easy way out. Even if it takes long hours or even days to figure things out, stay in the lane. Completing an application independently improves skills ten times more than using tutorials.

When there is no instructor to feed you instructions at every point, the brain develops strategy, critical thinking and development. So, it's better to keep writing codes and trying them out, remember, practice makes perfect.

Don't expect any babysitting.

Some bosses and senior colleagues are nice enough to put you through anytime there's a question or a challenge. However, where this is not the case, don't feel angry, entitled or frustrated.

These senior developers have their own work to do, so it's normal for them to shrug you off, ignore questions or insist on being left alone. In a busy work environment, no one plays the role of a teacher, rather, everyone is trying to deliver on their respective roles. That's what makes the professional environment very different from your educational background.

Take note of this; companies mostly pitch themselves out as one happy family helping each other grow, and this may be true in some firms, but most times, everyone has the responsibility to learn and grow on their own without compromising on their work ethics. It may be frustrating at first, especially when a task can easily be completed with the help of another senior developer.

You have to understand that most times, tech companies want to see how far a junior developer will stretch, bend or reach to get work done. However, giving up or getting frustrated are one of the junior developer mistakes that are rarely forgotten or forgiven. Now, you don't have to solve every problem independently, there are other resources at your disposal.

First off, ensure to read the code again, go through the documentation, make use of available online resources, platforms and forums, and watch training sessions again to gain better understanding.

Be a contributor.

A report in 2020 showed how software developers stayed relevant and in high demand even through the covid-year. Companies continued to put out vacancies for developers even more than other years.

The reason is simple, almost everything went intensely virtual and digital during the past years, including payments, purchases, communication, business interactions, education and various work environments were forced to rely on online platforms and apps.

In June 2020, data collated from Burning Glass showed that software developer vacancies were ranked incredibly high compared to others. Why is this information important? It simply proves that you are important, your job is essential, and your work is necessary. So don't stay quiet or feel irrelevant, start participating in more discussions, contribute in meetings and be more vocal about what you do.

You may be a junior developer, that doesn't translate to irrelevance or ignorance. The next time there's a big decision or strategy to be made, ensure your opinion is heard. Remember, software developers are the MOST Wanted world over, that makes you relevant and important.

Focus on career development.

If you get into the limbo of a work environment, it's easy to lose focus on the future. You won't be a junior developer forever, so what's the long-term plan? How do you develop yourself?

There are so many development trends flooding the market year after year, Forbes names 16 that are trending right now, and are most likely to dominate the market in the next few years. Get acquainted with various trends and don't stop learning, that's the only way to stay relevant, and forge ahead, especially in an industry like this one.

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Our Client

A leading UK-company that specializes in providing foreign currencies solutions

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A completely integrated innovation studio within the corporate framework, with a primary emphasis on making the future of the food industry accessible to all. Their core objective is to discover, create, and expand tailored automation remedies, utilizing a team of proficient individuals covering domains like engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Our central mission revolves around constructing automation technology solutions that empower individuals to achieve greater feats.

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Mid-Senior Industrial Design Engineer

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We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

A completely integrated innovation studio within the corporate framework, with a primary emphasis on making the future of the food industry accessible to all. Their core objective is to discover, create, and expand tailored automation remedies, utilizing a team of proficient individuals covering domains like engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Our central mission revolves around constructing automation technology solutions that empower individuals to achieve greater feats.

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Electrical Engineer

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A completely integrated innovation studio within the corporate framework, with a primary emphasis on making the future of the food industry accessible to all. Their core objective is to discover, create, and expand tailored automation remedies, utilizing a team of proficient individuals covering domains like engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Our central mission revolves around constructing automation technology solutions that empower individuals to achieve greater feats.

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Frontend Developer (Senior)

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Full-Stack Node/VueJS Developer (Mid - Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer (Mid to Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer Tech Lead

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Full stack RoR/VueJS Developer

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Fullstack Developer

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Lead/Senior Frontend Developer (UI/UX) - Brazil

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Marketing Specialists

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Backend Developer (Python)

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Senior Full-Stack PHP Developer

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10 Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Junior Developer

February 16, 2024

The year 2000 undoubtedly ushered in a lot of innovation, technological advancement, and an ever-expanding expectation for the next big thing development-wise. This move from basic to advanced has come with the growing need for software developers, and that demand probably won't stop anytime soon.

Due to how fast-paced, interconnected, and 'virtual' the world has become, most aspiring software developers are 95% sure of getting juicy job offers most of the time, and the pay is undoubtedly attractive. When you think about it, most developers benefit from the formal education offered in college, but not many universities equip their students for the real world.

That means that half the time, most young graduates come out with the assumption that their knowledge or talent is enough to keep them afloat over time. For those who still have passion for software development, it's important to take note of these common mistakes web developers make early in their careers.

Sticking to their comfort zone.

It's very easy to get used to the routine of a job, and have zero insight for development or expanding your horizons. However, it's another thing to pick or stick with easier tasks that don't push limits or challenge your knowledge. This is one of the major mistakes developers make; staying in their comfort zone.

When you complete basic tasks in record time, it may give that initial sense of accomplishment, but it doesn't help personal progress in any way. The best way to learn is to push your limits; remember, people don't progress or get to the next level without overcoming challenges or passing tests. It's the same system when working in a fast-paced and innovative environment, rather than sticking to the little you know, seek to improve and hone those skills by asking for more challenging projects.

That might seem too ambitious, but it really doesn't hurt to reach beyond your level sometimes. However, only going for demanding tasks isn't advisable either, rather, be smart and mix things up according to your pace, passion, drive and capacity. That's the best way to make progress without burning out, take on the easy tasks when you feel worn out and less driven, but take on the more challenging ones once that drive refuels.

They don't ask questions.

As a junior developer struggling to learn the ropes in a new environment, it's important to ask questions. One major mistake junior developers make is not asking enough questions. Don't regard the number of times you have gotten shut down in the past. When working in a welcoming or friendly environment, take advantage of that and ask away!

Don't consider those questions silly or irrelevant, especially if you are not simply trying to make conversation. Any successful developer looking to progress in this field should not be afraid of asking questions when necessary. When in doubt, look for clarifications from the friendliest face around. Yes. It's hard putting yourself out like that, but asking questions is also a great way of making beneficial connections.

People are thrilled to share their knowledge, so letting someone else talk about something they have passion for is another neat way to gain a friend. Now, most work tasks and projects are handled remotely, and it's more challenging to ask questions on the work platform or during a conference call.

But remember, it's better to look foolish and gain knowledge than to keep silent and remain ignorant. However, if it bothers you that much, simply send a direct message or a professional email to a senior developer that seems friendly and cordial enough to respond.

Pride.

It is essential to hold your head high in any work environment, but another virtue that is even more beneficial is humility. Superior skills, talent, and confidence may have gotten you through the doors, but it's humility and patience that may likely keep you in. But why is humility so necessary?

Well, it's simple, sometimes, a colleague or supervisor may criticize your work and the reaction could either be cool and receptive or disastrous. Writing and developing code is a creative's job, and when a creative is criticized, it's easy to take things personal. Here's some advice that should help any young developer through their foundational years; try to treat criticism as objectively as possible.

Do not take positive criticism personally; remember that in an office environment, work must satisfy certain professional and not personal standards. From the initial stage to completion, your work will be inspected, revised, corrected and criticized. That doesn't mean that you are a bad developer, in fact, it's an opportunity to learn more. If a supervisor seems impossible to please, also remember that you cannot please or satisfy everyone, but still try to take away the positives.

It's not wrong to expect accolades or pats on the back, but when that's rare, stay humble and open to criticism. As long as this supervisor is not taking personal jabs on your personality, style or life, keep things professional and don't show it even when you feel bummed.

Duplicating code.

This is one trick some developers think they can get away with, but it's a very immature move. No developer is respected for repeating or duplicating codes, it's a lazy move and does not encourage learning and creativity. Besides, it can be very painstaking and counter-productive in the long run and the reason is simple.

When junior developers repeat a block of codes in more than one place, a change in one would necessitate a change across board. At the end of the day, more time is spent changing and replacing here and there, and it's honestly not worth it.

So, try to be unique and ensure every concept is abstract. If you ever get discouraged, just read some of these stories about people whose lives were changed simply by turning to coding.

More diligence than passion.

According to Forbes, passion is one of those intangible intrinsic values that drives success in business. That means, regardless of how good or bad a task/project is going, it takes passion to keep your will running. Since passion can be defined as a strong conviction, desire or devotion towards something, it's easy to conclude that passionate developers may do and fare better than the usual 'hard-workers.

The excitement towards a project can be seen from a mile away with passionate developers, and managers/supervisors take note of that. A manager would most likely give a project to a passionate developer who strives to get the job done, one reason for this being that, it's simply a delight to watch.

An employee who is simply working to get a fat paycheck at the end of the month may have drive, but don't be surprised when passion is chosen over that drive. Managers love to see young creatives who are not just ambitious or over-zealous but passionate about every task they are given and complete projects with vigor, pride, and diligence.

Being closed to feedback.

You have probably heard this before, but it's important to hear it again; nobody is an island. In relation to the workforce, as a junior staff, the best way to learn is through feedback from projects. Regardless of the grades you graduated with back in college, experience on the job beats literal knowledge.

Many junior developers clean up their skills and learn their shortcomings through constructive criticism. Those senior developers that seem cocky or proud have a lot of hands-on knowledge and experience in the field, the more they criticize and comment on your work, the faster you learn.

Another important lesson pointed out multiple times in this article is not taking criticism personally. It always hurts to hear your work didn't make the cut, but in a professional environment, that's simply another way of saying keep learning and perfecting those skills.

A study by social psychologists, Duning and Kruger, highlights certain biases in people who overrate their performance. According to this study, people with low competence have an illusory superiority that makes it harder for them to see personal faults in their work.

This study may not pertain to you, but the vital thing to note here is that as a professional and progressive young developer, do not be close-minded about constructive criticism. It is one of the fastest ways to grow and learn on the job.

Getting stuck on tutorials.

One of the mistakes while learning code development is getting stuck on tutorials. It's like a trap-door for developers and some take quite some time to figure a way out. Do not get me wrong, tutorials are great as they help to simplify concepts, but after learning a thing or two, it's time to start coding independently again. Watching tutorials and directly copying codes from the instructor may give the viewer this false sense of progress, but it's actually not beneficial in the long run.

Developers learn better when they tackle tasks and assignments head-on without looking for shortcuts or an easy way out. Even if it takes long hours or even days to figure things out, stay in the lane. Completing an application independently improves skills ten times more than using tutorials.

When there is no instructor to feed you instructions at every point, the brain develops strategy, critical thinking and development. So, it's better to keep writing codes and trying them out, remember, practice makes perfect.

Don't expect any babysitting.

Some bosses and senior colleagues are nice enough to put you through anytime there's a question or a challenge. However, where this is not the case, don't feel angry, entitled or frustrated.

These senior developers have their own work to do, so it's normal for them to shrug you off, ignore questions or insist on being left alone. In a busy work environment, no one plays the role of a teacher, rather, everyone is trying to deliver on their respective roles. That's what makes the professional environment very different from your educational background.

Take note of this; companies mostly pitch themselves out as one happy family helping each other grow, and this may be true in some firms, but most times, everyone has the responsibility to learn and grow on their own without compromising on their work ethics. It may be frustrating at first, especially when a task can easily be completed with the help of another senior developer.

You have to understand that most times, tech companies want to see how far a junior developer will stretch, bend or reach to get work done. However, giving up or getting frustrated are one of the junior developer mistakes that are rarely forgotten or forgiven. Now, you don't have to solve every problem independently, there are other resources at your disposal.

First off, ensure to read the code again, go through the documentation, make use of available online resources, platforms and forums, and watch training sessions again to gain better understanding.

Be a contributor.

A report in 2020 showed how software developers stayed relevant and in high demand even through the covid-year. Companies continued to put out vacancies for developers even more than other years.

The reason is simple, almost everything went intensely virtual and digital during the past years, including payments, purchases, communication, business interactions, education and various work environments were forced to rely on online platforms and apps.

In June 2020, data collated from Burning Glass showed that software developer vacancies were ranked incredibly high compared to others. Why is this information important? It simply proves that you are important, your job is essential, and your work is necessary. So don't stay quiet or feel irrelevant, start participating in more discussions, contribute in meetings and be more vocal about what you do.

You may be a junior developer, that doesn't translate to irrelevance or ignorance. The next time there's a big decision or strategy to be made, ensure your opinion is heard. Remember, software developers are the MOST Wanted world over, that makes you relevant and important.

Focus on career development.

If you get into the limbo of a work environment, it's easy to lose focus on the future. You won't be a junior developer forever, so what's the long-term plan? How do you develop yourself?

There are so many development trends flooding the market year after year, Forbes names 16 that are trending right now, and are most likely to dominate the market in the next few years. Get acquainted with various trends and don't stop learning, that's the only way to stay relevant, and forge ahead, especially in an industry like this one.

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