My experience as a professional Developer

Hey all, so I took a job as a full stack developer back in March, and I just wanted to run through what its been like in hopes that it will answer some questions and also serve as encouragement. So, I am getting ready to start on my fourth project. Through the first three I have mainly been apart of the UI team and there are a fee things i think people should know

  1. I know this still gets asked a lot, and it was a big concern of mine when I first started learning on here. It is ok if you do not know everything, or cant remember something. They are not expecting you to know every single thing about coding because its impossible, in fact doing research and googling is encouraged. I spend a good part of my day googling things. Things that I forgot, but also things of how I can come to a solution with the code I am working on.

  2. Do try to learn what is in demand right now. I know this seems obvious, but it helps if you are familiar and can offer solutions in those languages. For example, I had to work in React for a project and other members on my team were not familiar or as comfortable with react. This led to me taking on a bigger part of the project, and ultimately it made me look good as well.

  3. Focus on whats new and hot, but dont forget the old stuff either. My project I worked on after the react project was a jQuery project. This one was tougher for me because I havent done anything with jQuery in forever. Just because its old foes not mean people dont use them anymore

  4. Dont be aftaid to ask others for help, or get a second pair of eyes on your code. Do not wait forever to ask for help. Its great that you are trying to figure out things for yourself, but the more time you spend looking the more tome it kills your development. Again, no one knows everything and chances are you are working on a team with other developers. Everyone on your team will probably have experience in areas you may not have started learning yet.

  5. Really practice using APIS. I cant stress this enough, I spent the first two projects doing nothing but loading in our apis that we used. Make sure you’re comfortable making the calls. If you havent already, start getting use to the google developer tools and make sure you can understand why your apis fail. Look at 500 errors, 400, 404 erros and make sure that you know where to look when these errors show in your console.

EDIT* I received a message asking additional questions, and I thought I would share my responses in case others were wondering the same thing

  • Which all tech you learnt ?
    I spent a lot of time time trying to learn a little bit of everything I found interesting to be honest. HTML, CSS, SASS, C++, C#, Java, React, JS, jQuery, Angular, SQL, PHP, MongoDB. These are all the ones I have done some type of work in whether that be for my own personal projects, or for school. The ones I feel I have the most knowledge about that led to the job were JS, React, jQuery, C#, HTML, CSS, SQL, SASS. The biggest advice I can give about this is go look at job opening and look for the most common tools that are needed and in demand for the job that you want. Then go and learn those skills.

  • How much time did you spend learning before starting to apply for jobs ?
    Years. My learning was not always consistent as things got in the way. I feel it should be mentioned that I have a BS in software development. Most recently, before I got the job offer I would say I spent the last two years learning consistently. Although, this was the time it took for me, and should not be a timeline for others. Some may get a job sooner, and some may take a bit more of time. It just depends on how you approach learning, and how well you can understand everything

  • What difficulties you faced ?
    I think the biggest difficulty is the learning itself. No matter how long you work with a language, there is always going to be more you can learn. You are not going to know everything, and that was something I struggled with. I always felt I needed to know everything to be a good programmer, and that is just not true. Just take your time, and make sure you actually understand what you are doing and not trying to memorize it

  • What kind of mistakes did you do ?
    Not really sure what this question is really asking? When coding there is a 100% chance you will make mistakes somewhere down the road when you are writing code. Thats why understanding on how to debug, and look up errors is just as crucial as knowing how to write the code. If you do not know how to debug or use the developer tools console effectively then take some time and understand how to use that, and how to look up the errors when you get them

  • Any other things you wish to share ?
    This is a process. This is not something that people can race through and hope to get a job in the next couple of months. It is ok to struggle with this stuff because it is hard, but the biggest thing to remember is to keep coding. Never give up, and always remain consistent in your learning because if you take a long time to get back to it then the chances are you will have to start over in some areas. I have said this multiple times, but I will say this again. Do NOT think you have to know everything, it is ok to have to google something to refresh your memory or figure something out. Finally, and again I may sounds like a broken record but do not wait to long to ask for help. There are a ton of resources out there, and many more people here in FCC that are willing to help. Do not feel bad because you need help, everyone needs help when they are starting out and even experienced people still need help. Those who say they dont are not telling the truth

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Hi @Cody_Biggs !

This is all great advice!

I would like to stress this point you made here

This is so true.
I remember when I was on my first project, I was really stuck on a problem and spent hours trying to figure it out. I finally reached out to ask for help and we were able to solve it pretty quickly and I realized that I wasn’t to far off.

From that point on I made sure to reach out much sooner :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing, looks like you found an amazing work enviroment for your first job!

May I ask what kind of company you are working in, is it an agency? Thx!

So its a company that works to bridge the gap from college graduates or people just starting in the tech field to actual entry level jobs. First, they have you take a assessment to make sure you understand what you are doing pretty much. Then if you pass that there is a technical interview where they can ask you any sort of coding questions. If you get accepted then they train you for 10 weeks. After the 10 weeks if you make it through (it is possible to be let go during training) then you start a two year contract with one of their partners. At the end of the two years, the company that you got sent to for the two years can offer you a job to stay on full time.

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I see, guess you are on an income share agreement.

This sounds like a way to overcome some big hurdles in the current hiring process:
Asking for experience from juniors that had hardly any chance to gain some, and HR on talent search that have no tech background and don’t know what they are doing.

Also sounds like you have to be picky as this business model can be abused, just like boot camps.

I hope you are in one of the good and honest ones!

I like everything about the situation I am in. Great money, great company, and after the two years I have the experience to go find another job. I would like to stay where with the company I am contracted out to though they are the second-largest professional services network in the world. So, Cant think of a better company to get a job offer from when that time comes

They are not expecting you to know every single thing about coding because its impossible, in fact doing research and googling is encouraged. I spend a good part of my day googling things. … Dont be aftaid to ask others for help, or get a second pair of eyes on your code. Do not wait forever to ask for help.

I wish we could have a little mantra that we could “force” new campers to repeat. These would be the first two points.

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Sounds great, I wish we had something comparable in Germany, the hiring process here is just as flawed as everywhere else.

I will ask around if a company like yours would be possible and viable in Europe, I could see myself running an agency helping junior devs to get a foot in the door.

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Thanks a ton for sharing your experiences with us.

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You’re welcome. I responded to your message, and made an edit to the main post to include my responses as well.

Cody, what you’ve shared means so much to everyone, especially me. I have already had a successful career in another field. After a work related injury I had to find a seriously earning fallback. I love computers, the internet and all the writing challenges that are a necessary as part of serious coding. I guess I’m just an extremely orderly, mechanical type person. In any case, my previous work hours ran 8-15 hours a day. I’m physically restricted by my injury but could certainly adjust to sitting and standup desk stuff. I started off with all the many free coding offerings and am just making my way into CSS. Got a long way to go but reading your very relevant feedback helps me to continue. I just wanted to thank you for the many great suggestions. The biggest for me, something I had heard but wasn’t truly aware of, one needs to stay on top of new developments and offerings. It’s easy to find these currently, Per Brogan on Scrimba, Quincy Larsen right here on FCC, etc. It’s all about organizing one’s 24 hours, always difficult as a father of four children. Thanks again.

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Wish you all the best in your journey. Before I got this job I was diagnosed with a severe auto immune disease and spent three years in and out of doctors office and hospitals. I struggled with coding, and after getting sick I pretty much had to start over because I was not doing anything code related for those three years. Eventually, I was able to get better and finish school and continue my learning with programming. Its a journey, and things can get in the way but the important thing is to never stop learning.

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Thanks for sharing. I have a question though, do you have any degrees or think it is necessary to have one in order to get a job to do with developing?

Its possible to get a job without a degree for sure, and there have been some here who reported in when they got a job. In my opinion I would say its harder to get a job without one but not impossible. I have two degrees, and the job I currently have required a bachelors. If you are in a situation where you could pursue a degree then I would recommend doing that

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Any degree or a specific one like computer science? Because I’m not the greatest at math and i’ve heard it does include alot of it, some universities even require and A in math to be accepted, what degree did you do?

A CS degree is a good one to go for. I have an associate degree in Computer Science, and a Bachelor degree in software development. I dont remember having to do anything more then the basic college math class. To be honest, I am not using hardly any math. It all depends on what you want to do. Software, web development, web design, etc.

Any degree or a specific one like computer science?

I studied Electrical Engineering (dropped out in junior year) and got my Masters degree in music. Did it help? Probably. Having a degree can help. I’ve met a lot of developers with non-stem degrees. I’ve met some with no-degrees.

Because I’m not the greatest at math and i’ve heard it does include alot of it,

Yeah, a CS degree probably would. But just to be clear, something like web dev usually doesn’t require advanced math. In most cases, an advanced 12 year old knows enough.