It's been an extremely rewarding journey so far in my nine months as a jr. developer. I started off in the Summer of 2018 working as a Jr. Front-End contractor for Third & Grove, a web agency that specializes in Drupal located here in Boston. After working there for a few months I moved on to a permanent position as a Creative Technologist at Amp Agency. In my short time as a jr developer, I've been very fortunate to have had great leaders & teachers that I could reach out to for help, without them I would not be where I am today. So with that, I'll be going through some lessons I've learned throughout these nine months.
Another great tip I got was from our Director of Engineering, and that was to not let imposter syndrome grip you. I had never heard of the term 'Imposter Syndrome' but after he explained it, it perfectly described how I felt during my summer as a jr. For those that may not know
'Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud'.Apparently, this is a common phenomenon amongst all developers, from juniors to seniors. During my exit interview he told me he could tell I was at the start of a great career in web development and that as long as I chose to stick with it and kept the same level of passion I was showing them all summer, I would do well. He later went on to post an amazing recommendation on my LinkedIn which, to be completely honest, is maybe the most beautiful piece of literature anyone has ever written about me.
T&G made me feel like a champ after three months of being there. By the time I was done with T&G, I had set up close to 50 local WordPress/Drupal installations on my machine, masted source control via the CLI, and was comfortable using more advanced PHP/HTML/CSS such as TWIG and SCSS. All combined with some solid advice from my peers, which paved the way for the next step in my career, AMP Agency.
When I arrived at AMP Agency in September, I was excited to take on whatever tasks or projects I would soon be on, but also very nervous. I now had three months of agency experience under my belt and was a little more prepared to deal with agency life. However, unlike T&G, AMP was not a web agency, but rather a full marketing agency with a web team in Boston, and a dedicated web development branch in LA. So what's the difference? From my experience, at Third & Grove, I was just maintaining, theming and overall improving the client sites we were responsible for. At AMP Agency, I felt like more of a 'digital artist' than a 'software engineer'. Yes, technically both positions are considered to be jr. software engineer roles, but at AMP I'm wasn't just improving client sites, I was creating unique digital web experiences for our clients. I would go on to build-out HTML5 OLA banners, micro-sites, UX wire-frames, custom Gutenberg blocks, and even occasionally, leave my developer chair to star in our agency's holiday card! From day one at AMP, I got to constantly experiment with new technologies as I learned about them. It's a really cool experience to find an awesome framework or creative idea on your own time, then turn around and use it for your next client project.
Way too much to list out. I'm serious - at AMP I have worn so many hats and have dived headfirst into so many different projects that I thought to myself "I would need to write out a book if I were to go through every little thing I've learned". So my supervisor recommended that I do just that, write out my thoughts. He recommended I start my own blog or even post here to Dev.to, and just catalog my thoughts and experiences throughout my journey as a jr dev. So I did! Using Grav, the flat-file CMS, I set up a blog on my server and began documenting cool finds. More recently, I began porting over my posts to Dev.to in hopes other developers provide feedback or just find something cool like I did. As I progress through my career and work on improving my development skills, it is my hope that my posts will reflect these improvements. My two goals for my blog are to keep track of my developer journey and to inspire others about the wonderful world of web development the same way I've been inspired.