6 Junior Developer Headaches

・5 min read
6 Junior Developer Headaches

Starting out is never easy. No matter if you are a beginner athlete, musician or a developer. There is a lot of problems that young people (although not always age-wise) have to face and obstacles to overcome at the beginning of their career. This is a post aiming to present some of those struggles, shared by real people during one of the recent JavaScript meetup, offer encouragement and support as well as some advice from those more experienced.

1. The first job is the hardest

Everybody has to go through the process of finding their first job. Sending out the very first resume, going to an interview, succeeding or failing. Beginnings are always tricky and the development world is no different. It is quite obvious that companies are more eager to hire somebody with a few years of experience, but often a fresh mind that can be shaped into whatever they want is a very tempting alternative, so do not get discouraged. Most importantly, do not undervalue yourself. Sometimes the fact that you are a self-taught programmer will be what convinces the interviewer. Be prepared, build a great portfolio and keep on trying. A good-looking portfolio and active Github profile will help you create a brand for yourself. Remember to stress your ability to learn and desire to grow and you will ace your interview.

2. Foreign languages - an obstacle to overcome

It should not be a surprise that programmers most often communicate using the world’s universal language - English. The inability to use English is a quite common obstacle when looking to become a programmer. It is required not only to understand and use commands in English when writing code but also to be able to talk to the client, present progress, ask questions, understand their requirements. Having a good command of English will help you grow since most of the documentation, forums, tutorials are in English. The best thing to do when working on improving your language skills is using only foreign-language resources. This way you will work on both your English and programming skills. If you are really struggling to understand what they are talking about try translating the written resources while constantly being exposed to the spoken language. Pro tip: start watching your favourite movies and tv shows in English with subtitles instead of choosing dubbing.

3. You can't build on a weak foundation

When you are just starting out, the question that always pops out is ‘what technology to choose’. Well, I hate to break it to you, but JavaScript is the way to go. Since every web browser runs JS, a solid knowledge of this language will give you a great starting point to mastering other languages and frameworks. This is where you should invest your time in and it will pay off in the long run. JavaScript is easy to get started with and is super versatile - can be used for building both front-end and back-end and will definitely creep its way into your future projects one way or another.

4. Meetups, meetups and even more meetups

Meetups are important. They are great for building your network, meeting your potential colleagues / employers. Their popularity in the programming community is constantly growing, so the number of meetups organized is increasing as well, which can make it a bit overwhelming. However, attending meetups is very useful for building a name for yourself, meeting new people and generally putting yourself out there. This can be problematic for some, especially if you consider yourself being on the introvert side, but should never be checked off the list entirely.

5. Internship? What internship?

Another problem that many new developers often complain about is the fact that there are not many / or at all internships for people just getting started in the industry. Companies are not eager to hire somebody with little to none experience or take responsibility and mentor somebody who may not end up working for them in the future. So if you are unable to find a job and there are no internships available things may get frustrating.

6. Senior developer needed

This problem goes hand in hand with the first one. Most companies often are more willing to pay a bit more to hire somebody with loads of experience that can be deployed on a commercial project immediately and does not need mentoring and training. In our recent article, we raised a subject of why your development team should be of a mixed-skill level and we are hoping it will convince recruiters that juniors are in fact needed on every team.

Summary

Being a junior is not easy. It is expected from you to attend meetups, master English, know your ways in JavaScript while the lack of possibilities to land a first job or start an internship are slowing you down. The best (although probably most cheesy) advice we can give you right now is to not give up. Work on your English skills, write code, create applications, build websites. Be an active part of the community, contribute to open sources, attend meetups, keep on sending your resumes and your toils will be rewarded.

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