Discover more from The Rambling of an old developer - by Fernando Doglio
My Top 3 Tips for any new Software Developer
This might apply to you as well
Getting started in the software industry can be both challenging and scary at the same time. There is a lot of unnecessary gatekeeping and a lot of people ready to yell at you telling you how wrong you are.
But the truth is, if you’re writing code, whether it is in your house for fun, or for a client, you’re a developer who’s trying to get started with their career.
And here are my top 3 pieces of advice for you and anyone else trying to do the same:
1. You’re not supposed to know everything
Nobody is coding without internet access these days, and nobody should expect you to memorize anything about a programming language. I’ve been developing for 18 years and I’ve worked with several different programming languages: I can confirm, I would be lost without Google. There is no shame in googling for an answer, no matter how common the problem might be. That’s OK and anyone who shames you for it is wrong, plain and simple.
2. Side projects aren’t a must, but they do help
Whether you’re already working or you’re just looking to get your first job as a dev, you shouldn’t be expected to have a plethora of open-source projects available on Github. These projects are normally done at the expense of your own free time, and not everyone has enough available, and that should not be a measure of how good you are or not. That being said, side projects help in two regards: 1) you gain experience, even if it’s on your own, you can get experience and familiarity with a technology that you wouldn’t know otherwise. 2) It’s a way to show potential employers how you code and the type of technologies you know. So my advice would be to consider having at least one, updated, side project, especially if you’re looking for a first job and have no work experience to put on your resume.
3. Stay away from companies that describe themselves as "a family”
This is probably one of the biggest lies in our industry. If you’re being told that a company (or even their IT department) works as a family, that doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy every single day and have the support of everyone. What it actually means, is that they’re going to be asking extra from you (extra hours, extra roles, etc) and they’re not going to be there when you need them. I know, it sounds harsh, but it’s true, they can’t legally “be there” when you need to break the rules, because they have legal responsibilities. If you need extra time off, they have rules to follow. If you need a raise, they probably have an approved salary range, and they can’t really pay you as much as you want. And the list of examples can go on and on. The truth is: you would never “fire” a family member, companies aren’t a family. And if they advertise themselves are one, run away.
Getting started in the software industry can be hard and ugly if you meet the wrong people on your way. But it can also be fun and uplifting if you find the right first job.
I hope my advice helps you get a better understanding of what to focus on and what to look for during job interviews.
Remember, you can always reach out to me or send me a DM on Twitter, and ask me any question directly, I’d love to help!