The number of people who work in software development is growing exponentially. This means that if you’re starting your software development career or you are a talented developer and want to get ahead, it’s critical for you to learn from the mistakes other junior developers have made before you.
I’m not just talking about the basic stuff like “don’t forget closing tags” or “always use spaces instead of tabs.” These are important things to know, but they don’t make up enough ground when competing against other talented developers who do these things correctly already.
I am talking about some common mistakes that you should avoid in order to set yourself up for success. In this article, we will outline the ten most common mistakes that junior developers make so that you can be aware of them and work to avoid them.
Ask as many questions as you can
The first important skill you need to learn and master as a junior software developer is to ask!
You should never hesitate to ask questions. People will be more willing to help if they feel comfortable talking about what they know.
In many cases, if you are a junior developer and you are surrounded by senior developers you may feel intimidated and not want to ask questions.
You have to get over that if you want your career to advance.
Don’t let your feelings cloud your judgment. You may think something is a simple question, but you should ask someone else who knows more about the subject. Don’t try to solve the problem yourself if you are unsure because doing so may make you waste time.
I know that in the teleworking era that we live it’s more difficult to ask questions. Often on conference calls, it seems that is more difficult to ask questions. You have to ask a question without sounding like an interruption and of course, you have to overcome the feeling that you may look like a fool in front of others.
The solution is simple…
Take a deep breath and ask the question.
Asking questions is how you will learn so much more than just reading an answer on Stack Overflow or another source.
Now, if you cannot do it, then write down your questions and ask them immediately after the conference call via a chat message or an email.
When it comes down to it, asking someone for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually a sign that you have ambition and want to be the best developer you can possibly be.
That’s why you should never feel bad about asking questions during a conversation or sending an email if you need clarification on a subject that was discussed.
Don’t Expect Anyone to Hold Your Hand
One of the most important things you need to remember as a junior developer is that no one is going to hold your hand. You have to be prepared to do things on your own and learn from your mistakes.
Asking questions and being eager to learn is a good thing, but you also need to be able to take initiative and work on your own.
No one is going to spoon-feed you information or tell you what to do.
In order to be successful, you need to be able to learn from your mistakes, find ways to improve on your own, be able to work independently, and be self-motivated.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, but don’t rely on others to do everything for you.
Be Prepared To Take Risks
In order to be a successful junior software developer, you have to be prepared to take risks. This means that you have to be willing to try new things and experiment.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re too young to take risks.
Too often, we become attached to our ideas and we are afraid to try something new because we might fail.
As a junior developer, you should be prepared to experiment and try new things. This is the only way that you will learn and grow.
Of course, you need to be smart about it and make sure that you are trying new things in a safe environment where you can fail without any consequences.
But, overall, you need to be prepared to take risks if you want to move up the ladder of your career.
Being open to feedback
Being open to feedback is an important skill that a junior software developer can have. As a junior developer, you will often be working with more experienced developers who can help you improve your skills.
You need to be open to feedback and be willing to learn from others.
In order for feedback to be effective, you need to be able to listen to what others are saying and not get defensive.
If you get defensive, it will be difficult for others to give you feedback because they will feel like they are not being heard.
When you are open to feedback, you are indicating that you want to learn and grow as a developer.
Being open to feedback also shows that you have humility and are willing to learn.
So, next time you receive feedback from another developer, take it all in stride. Don’t let it bother you.
Try to understand what other people think about your work. Try to analyze the input to see if it helps you do better in your job. Don’t let others’ opinions affect your performance negatively. If you decide that the input is not useful, you can still ignore it.
Document Your Code
Always document your code. This will help you keep track of what you’re doing and make it easier for others to understand your code.
Documenting your code also helps you learn and understand your code better. When you take the time to document your code, you are essentially creating a blueprint for yourself.
This will make it easier for you to revisit old code and understand how it works.
Documentation can also be helpful when it comes to explaining your code to others.
If you need to hand off your code to another developer, they will be able to understand it better if it is well-documented.
So, make sure that you take the time to document your code.
There are a few ways that you can document your code:
- Write self-documenting code. Self-documenting code is code that is easy to read and follow. It’s written in a way that makes it easy for other developers to understand what you are doing.
- Use comments in your code to explain what you are doing. This is an easy but also tricky part. If you choose to write comments you have to make sure that is useful and that are not outdated.
- Use a code-writing standard (like PEP 8) to make your code easy to read and follow.
- Use tools like Doxygen or Javadoc to generate documentation for your code.
- Create Visio diagrams or Confluence pages with the details about your code.
Rush to Finish a Task
Rushing through a task can lead to mistakes and can cause you to miss important details.
It’s important to take your time and do the job right. Pushing yourself to finish a task quickly will only lead to frustration and stress, which can affect your work negatively.
In order for you to learn and grow as a developer, you need to take your time and do things correctly. This means that you need to be patient.
You need to pay close attention to details and always double-check your work. This will help you improve as a developer and avoid mistakes. Software development is not always about speed but mostly about code quality.
You don’t want to say you are “Done” with a task and then find out that you have made mistakes.
Take your time and always be extra careful!
So, next time you feel like you’re in a hurry, take a step back and relax. Make sure that you are taking the time to do things correctly so that you don’t make any mistakes.
The senior developers will appreciate your extra effort and patience.
You will be able to finish your task better as a result, and you will learn from it as well.
So always take the time to do things correctly!
Bad Communication Skills
Good communication skills are very important in any development team.
As a junior software developer, it’s important to have good communication skills. This will help you collaborate with other developers and communicate your ideas effectively.
If you don’t have good communication skills, it will be difficult for you to work with others.
You need to be able to understand and express yourself clearly. You also need to be able to listen carefully and understand what other people are saying.
If you can’t do this, it will be difficult for you to work as part of a team.
It will also be difficult for you to get feedback from others.
In order to improve your communication skills, try the following:
- Use simple language that you know the other developer will understand. Always be clear and concise.
- Don’t use too much technical jargon.
- Ask questions if you need clarification.
- Accept criticism and feedback gracefully.
- Be patient with others who are communicating with you, especially if they aren’t as tech-savvy as you are. It’s important to recognize that each person has his or her own style.
- Ask for help if you don’t understand something or can’t express yourself clearly.
- Always be humble and admit when you make a mistake. For example, if you say “that’s not my fault” to someone pointing that you made a mistake, it’s not going to help. Instead, apologize and tell them you will take care of it.
Take the time to develop good communication skills. This will help you be more effective in your job as a software developer and it will also make you happier (and better paid).
Not Being Proactive
Always be proactive. This means that you need to be proactive in your work and be proactive in learning.
If you’re not proactive, you will not learn as quickly as you could and you will not be productive.
Proactivity also helps with your career development. If you want to move up the ladder and become a senior software developer, you need to be proactive.
Senior developers are looking for junior developers who are proactive and take the initiative. Everyone loves to work with proactive colleagues (myself included).
So always be proactive!
Master One Skill At A Time
Another common trap that many junior software developers fall into is trying to master too many things at the same time.
As a junior developer, you need to focus on one skill at a time and master that skill before moving on to the next.
For example, if you’re still learning about web services but want to learn how to build iOS applications, don’t try to do both. You’ll never become good at either if you don’t focus on one skill/technology first.
Once you’ve mastered that skill, then you can move on to something else (and master it as well).
It’s OK to have more than one goal but make sure that they are carefully planned and prioritized so that you can achieve them.
You will do a much better job as a software developer if you focus on one thing at a time and master it.
Don’t forget this!
Not Understanding The Basics
This is probably the most common mistake I usually see in junior software developers.
Not understanding the basics can hold you back significantly. It’s like trying to play the piano with no knowledge of how music works.
You need to understand everything about software development – from writing clean code, properly using data structures, building tools, and frameworks all the way up to managing projects.
You need to know what makes a good programmer and how to write clean code.
If you don’t understand the basics of software development, it will be difficult for you to do your job. You won’t be able to contribute effectively or efficiently and you’ll make mistakes that more senior developers need to fix.
There is a lot of information about software development; there is no excuse for not knowing the basics.
Always remember that you need to understand everything about software development, from coding and building software all the way up to how a project is managed. If you don’t, you will have a tough time as a junior developer.
As a junior software developer, it is important to be aware of the most common mistakes you can make to avoid them.
I hope this article helps you identify some of them to avoid them.
All of us started as junior developers. If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll be on track for a successful future!