3 Ways to Look Less Junior-ish on Your TeamFeb 11, 2023
Layoffs, ChatGPT, Bard. No one is hiring and you should just quit already.
Despite the prevailing doom and gloom outlook in tech, I am confident that with enough grit, technical competence and resilience, you WILL land that first role or the next one.
I've given the obligatory "Congratulations!" message to mentees in my group too many times over the last year to think differently. In fact 3 just got hired since the New Year. Join here.
Now that they're hired, the real work begins.
Unfortunately, a lot of new developers are not prepared for the massive codebases and complex Git flows and processes which they encounter.
They flounder around and look, well, junior. There's NOTHING wrong with this. It's expected and your salary reflects the fact that you are basically here to learn and mess up for a bit.
IF you want to stand out however, here are 3 ways you can really shine on your team, avoid common junior-ish pitfalls and set a clearer path towards promotion
Step 1: Improve Your Code Quality Through Self Review
There's a reason this is the #1 thing you should be focused on as a Junior. Your first few commits to the codebase are your introduction to the team. You will ultimately be judged on code quality and writing terrible code is a good way to find yourself studying LeetCode problems again 😬.
So how in the hell do you write "quality" code?
After you open a PR, do NOT assign it right away to be reviewed.
Examine the code you wrote with a critical eye.
Remove comments, make sure tests pass and look for any edge cases. Once you've done the first review of your code, check out other reviews and see the issues that usually result in the review being rejected and avoid them!
Step 2: Write Something on Peer Reviews
Sarah is the super senior on the team, how can you possibly critique her work in a meaningful way?
Maybe you can't.
Sarah writes bug-free code devoid of any possible improvements. She's a coding god and ChatGPT uses her for inspiration.
You can still ask questions.
Example: "This is an interesting use of [concept/method] - any reason you chose to use this rather than [concept you are familiar with]"
You will seem much more engaged and like a peer as opposed to slapping "LGTM!" on every review.
Step 3: Learn More Git
Some days you will find yourself wrestling with Git more than writing code.
Common stressful Git scenarios:
Reverting a commit made to a production branch due to a critical error.
Cherry-picking commits from one branch to another.
Resolving merge conflicts.
Re-reverting that commit once the team realizes it was actually needed and not at all related to the critical error.
Check out this site for common Git commands to save your life: https://ohshitgit.com/
Lastly, alias your f*cking commands. Holy Fishcakes. Check out my video on that here
You can't just skip being junior. It's a bit uncomfortable. You feel a little useless at times. At least that's how I felt.
Your main concern should be moving past junior in a reasonable amount of time. It's the shortest stage in your career as a developer and lingering around too long at this level means less job security and interesting work.
Tackling the 3 steps outlined above should set you on the path towards being less junior-ish. Just remember, you cannot cheat time 😉.
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