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Christopher Ribeiro
Christopher Ribeiro

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5 things I learned as a junior Front-End developer

I've been a Front-End developer for almost 5 years, always as a Freelancer. Until 2019. When I decided to work for other companies.

But this change made me realize a few things.

The Search

After a few days looking for jobs, I was contacted by a startup.
They offered me a challenge. I ended up finishing it in time.

The hiring process was fast. First a video call, one week later I was travelling to another state to be interviewed in their office to a final interview process. And they hired me. The felling was awesome!
Finally, in exactly two weeks since the first contact with them I was moving to another state to work on my first (non freelance) job.

I worked for them for one year. And I know that I wasn't a junior dev at the time. But that's how it works. And these are the things I learned:

1: Git is much more powerful than you think

Git is a powerful tool for version control, used by most of tech companies around the world. It's a requirement.

I always worked alone, so I never studied Git in depth.
In my mind, I never needed to learn it, because I thought I knew it.
But I was completely wrong.

Had days where I was hours trying to put back code that I have already written. Just because of tons of merge conflicts and me not being aware that Git follows a timeline. If my code wasn't synced with the branch that I was merging, my code would be overwritten with newer commits.

2: Front-End = Full-Stack

Yes, I thought that I was hired as a Front-End developer. But months later I was dealing with micro services, lambda functions, API updates, database management, CI/CD… And the list wont stop.

Actually I don't think that's a problem.
You're in a small team and you be all in contact with each other and make decisions together. That's a plus if you want to work in your communication skills.

The thing that concerns me the most is that startups do this because they want to spend less money. And sometimes this isn't a good idea.
If a developer is doing multiple tasks, probably, the result isn't the best.

And the money saved is going to cost time in the future.

3: It's okay to say "no"

Sometimes when we want to be the best, to do our best, we tend to say "yes" to every question, to every task that comes in hand.

Sometimes, as a junior developer, you're afraid to show that you don't know how to do it. Or you don't know how to calculate how much time a task you take to be done. And you end up saying:

"Yeah, I can do this until this afternoon".

But the problem is, if you agree with everything, you have to do everything.
You end up working on multiple tasks at the same time. And in the end of the day, managers don't want to know if you had a problem.
They just want to see it done.

If you say that you can't, or give the task one more day to be done, it's okay. You'll have more time to finish it, and do your best.

4: You code, they get famous

If you think that you'll get recognized for what you do while working for a company. I'm sorry to say that you wont. Or at least, not most part of the time.

The thing is, a developer is used as a tool. Instead of being the product. We are used as tools to give the company what they want:


And developers will never be recognized as the product.
Have you ever seen an Apple launch where a developer speaks about the product they made? Or this brand new XYZ autonomous self-driving car where the presenter isn't the CEO or a marketing person?

You may think I'm wrong, that developers do receive the credit they deserve.
But try pushing a bug to production and see if the CEO/marketing speakers will be held accountable for it.

5: Code is your wife, side project is your mistress

Sorry for the bad (and non inclusive) title.
But after working for 8+ hours every day, you end up tired and bored of the code you write. If a task take too long to complete, you end up with less and less energy to complete it.

It may not happen to every developer, but certainly when it happens, It's because you're tired. Your brain is tired.
There are a few things to reverse this:

  • Walk / run
  • Meditate
  • Sleep more

However. A side project comes more in hand.
Because you can't take a walk or a run after 7/8 PM. You come home, after commute, take a shower (i guess), eat and then you're so tired to even think straight.

You could meditate. This works most of the time, but try coding anything different. Seriously, try coding anything.
Any code that's different from what you see everyday, will make that joy, the focus reappear.

And even more, maybe a side project can become your own business?

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