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Five tips for rookie developers: how to win at work

by Maaike Geys , Aug 14

For some of us, graduation feels like an eternity ago. For others, it might be a little more recent. Being in my twenties myself, I remember those first jobs very well. I started my career at a – famous – magazine, expecting everything to be glamourous and amazing. Then reality hit, and it certainly wasn’t glamourous. Whatever industry you might work in, when you’re just starting out, 3 things are equal for everyone:  

1.    You are starting a very exciting new era in your life 

2.    You will find yourself in new, unknown situations

3.    You will make mistakes 

Today, I decided to talk to our expert developers and get some advice for all of you rookies out there. With these five tips, you are well on your way to have the best start ever! 

Find a community  

Finding a community is really important for two reasons: you’ll be able to discuss topics with like-minded people, and you’ll be able to tap into an enormous amount of knowledge. Find a (niche) community that you like, introduce yourself and give back! Once you start encountering problems, you can always fall back onto your community to ask for help, insights & resources. You can also join online groups, follow webinars, join conferences, go to local events… whatever floats your boat.

Write clean code… and make it a habit 

When starting out, it might be tempting to cut corners where you can. But our most important advice is to write clean code, and really make a habit out of it. Make sure that you don’t leave things up for interpretation. Add notes if necessary. The code you write today should still be understandable tomorrow; and if other people are boarded onto your project, they should be able to understand it as well. A few pointers: 

·      Know the difference between dry and wet code, and choose one

·      Run HTML validators on your code 

·      Run CSS validators on your code 

Failing is learning         

Let’s be real: developing is hard. You will make mistakes, and you will get stuck. Sometimes it might take you a while to find a solution. This is where the learning process kicks in: when you make mistakes, you have the opportunity to search for solutions online; or ask for help in your community. Whatever you do; you will learn with every problem you encounter. Even the most expert developers encounter problems and make mistakes!   

Fundamentals first 

As with everything, we advise you to start with the fundamentals of developing first. They are your basic building blocks, and if you don’t master them, it will be difficult to up your game. Try to have a solid understanding of the following:  

·      Recognizing patterns in code 

·      Core programming 

·      Object-oriented programming 

·      General software development 

·      Web applications 

·      Desktop applications 

·      Databases & how to use them 

Practice, practice, practice 

Once you have your fundamentals nailed down, it’s time to practice. Try to find better ways of working, using shortcuts, tools or frameworks. The more you practice, the more efficient you’ll become. You can also do quick code challenges to learn how to problem-solve faster. And don’t forget: even the most experienced developers got where they are today thanks to loads and loads of practice. 

Did all that practise turn you into a master of the art of developing? Take a look at our job offerings.

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