4 Tips I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago As A Developer

What advice would you give to yourself if you could travel back in time? What if you could leverage your acquired experience? What are the top pieces of advice you would give to any beginner developer? This is the exercise I tried to do and want to share with you. Great Scott! Let’s go back to the future!

Anthony Viard - martedì 1 marzo 2022
Tags: Community

Hey, fellow developers!

What advice would you give to yourself if you could travel back in time? What if you could leverage your acquired experience? What are the top pieces of advice you would give to any beginner developer?

This is the exercise I tried to do and want to share with you. Great Scott! Let’s go back to the future!

1. Work on the Basics

This advice sounds logical and natural for a beginner in any domain, including IT. However, we do know IT is an exciting world full of distractions. When you start you want to test everything, learn everything, and move forward on every topic at the same time.

What I would do differently is focus on “basic” knowledge, such as learning design patterns, mastering a method of development like Test Driven Development (TDD), etc… I’m not saying I skipped these things, but they’re worthy of a deep understanding.

My tips: Learn the basics, enforce your knowledge. This will help you to be better.

2. Contribute to Open Source Projects

Contributing to OSS is probably the best decision I made in my career. But, I probably should have done it sooner. I know it’s hard to expose yourself and your weaknesses to the rest of the world, but it’s an opportunity to share your strengths and help others.

It was easy to take action once I felt it was time. What I learned is: whatever your experience, your knowledge, your position… you are valuable. You can help communities by sharing your know-how.

What happens if you fail? You realize that making mistakes is the best way to learn.

If I could, I’d contribute sooner than I did.

My tips: Start contributing as soon as possible. Don’t frame it like you can add value to existing projects; you are the value.

3. Avoid Toxic People

I don’t know if I’m a lucky person or if the IT world is mostly kind, but I don’t think I’ve met too many toxic people. My overall experience is a good one, and when I met good technical people I also met a lot of friends.

In my experience, IT people don’t fit the nerd stereotype. I have a lot of good memories of meeting new people, learning from different cultures, and learning from new friends.

However, I also had bad experiences working with toxic people. You know people are toxic when they think about themselves while the team is trying to build a project as one person. You know people are toxic when they put a lot of pressure on you, or don’t hesitate to blame teammates for something that went wrong or when tasks have not been completed in time.

I did encounter people like this and I swear their toxicity can destroy a team’s effort. Unfortunately, I might have lacked the confidence to fight this type of person.

The world is full of kind people. Be close to them. Run away from the others.

My tips: Feel free to claim you don’t want to work with toxic people. Don’t let them put in your mind that you are not good enough or valuable. Enjoy smart and kind people and be the person you want the other to be. Throw away toxicity.

4. Don’t Think You Don’t Deserve It

Several times I felt I did not deserve all the good things that happened to me. In a constantly moving technical world, it’s hard to find our place and understand this one is legit. You can quickly be the trusted person for a given application if you work on it for several months.

You can quickly teach others about a specific technology, framework or tool you worked on.

After 3 or 5 years you can carry a team and be a reference for beginners.

So often I was wondering if all this attention was normal and I was not cheating my colleagues.

I think my main issue was the inability to do some introspection and understand that if people trusted me for a task that meant they were doing it with good reason.

My tips: If sometimes you feel you’re overestimated, know that people trust you for good reason. You deserve the good things that happen because you worked hard for them. We are never totally prepared for new things, embrace them.

Conclusion

I have a gut feeling that all the things I would like to tell myself sound familiar to other developers. However, I also know we all have different stories, different experiences, and we probably give ourselves different advice.

I’m wondering, what advice would you give yourself? Is it the same as mine?

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