How to get the most out of your first year as a junior developer?
By Iryna Savruk /

Starting a software development career can be quite scary, but very exciting at the same time. All experienced developers began from basics and had some difficulties in tackling their first tasks.

At Incora we have helped many young talents to embark on their development career and understand how lost they can feel sometimes when come across difficulties in performance. To help our junior colleagues, we decided to interview our skilled guys and ask about advice they would give to beginners.

It’s fine to have gaps in your knowledge

There is a huge number of institutions and resources that can teach you programming fundamentals. You can attend coding camps, get University degrees, or pass online courses to boost your coding skills. Meanwhile, the real world of software development is much more complicated than writing some code.

You should be able not only to write a clear code, but also to understand the one written by other developers and know how to test it. The awareness of best practices and design patterns will also be helpful for a good performance. While developing a big commercial project, you will get experience of working in multinational teams, better understand management processes and learn effective communication techniques.

All these skills are essential for career advancement and you will get them piece by piece, with every project you work on. It is a large amount of information and nobody will blame you for not knowing it straight away. It is not extra difficult to understand the software development lifecycle or learn which technology is best for solving a specific problem. It just takes time.

Appreciate Code Reviews

For many developers a code review is a nerve-wracking experience. You should bear in mind that the main point of it is learning and giving feedback, not criticism. Usually, during a code review you get tons of comments to your code and suggestions how to improve it.

Peer reviews are also a nice idea to consider, because it helps to understand that even developers that have the same level of expertise as you can have completely different approaches in solving the same problem.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

All of us have experience of being stuck. It you googled the problem million times and used different approaches without success, it’s high time to ask for help. Many junior developers have a fear that if they ask questions, fellow developers will think they are stupid and can’t code. However, in most cases experienced colleagues will just have a quick look and give you a solution. Probably, they had difficulty solving similar issue few months or even days ago, and would be eager to help.

Working in a team is the biggest advantage over freelancing. You are engaged in the development of the same project and can easily support each other to solve issues quicker. Close communication with your team is very important for your learning curve and development of your soft skills.

There is no such thing as a silly question, especially in the very start of your career. The team would rather help you fix a bug instead of having you stressed and puzzled, gazing at the computer screen for most of the day.

Write clear and maintainable code

To create reliable software, it is absolutely necessary to write clear, testable code, that follows the S.O.L.I.D principles. After you have written some code, look at it again, refactor it and optimize if necessary.

It is very important to make it easy for teammates to read and follow your code. Actually, developers spend more time reading code than actually writing it. Reading code is a useful learning technique, because it helps you to understand how to use design patterns, comments, tests and how each project is structured. When you add new features or fix defects, you will have to read everything carefully to understand the current codebase you are working on.

Search ready solutions on the Internet

When you are trying to complete a task, check online resources first. There is a high probability that someone else has already solved the problem.Try looking for existing packages / libraries or browsing websites (e.g. GitHub and StackOverflow). When you find a suitable example of code, try to analyze particular design pattern, its advantages and disadvantages.

If a task seems impossible, make it more manageable by breaking it up into smaller tasks. Try writing down the steps, because it helps to visualize each part of the problem, and then google more specific solutions.

Constant learning

The profession of software developer requires non-stop learning because technology is changing every day. Regardless of the seniority level, all of us have some gaps in knowledge and there is no problem about it. There are different ways you can boost your knowledge about a particular technology or sphere overall.

First of all, try watching video courses or read books from the IT gurus. Using the newest resources, which are mostly available in English, will help to stay on top of things and advance your English vocabulary.

Secondly, find a mentor. You shouldn’t get upset that leading engineers of the sphere don’t have time of desire to facilitate you. For junior developers, a colleague with a bit higher experience level will be a great help.

One more nice tip is to join tech community in your city or online. Participation in different workshops or conferences will help you to broaden your horizon, meet new people, and advance in your career.

Incora team really hopes that these tips will help you in your career journey and make the start much more pleasant and positive. And finally, the most important piece of advice - have fun!