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James Oyanna
James Oyanna

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Preparing for Your First Software Engineering Job: Key Areas for Junior Developers to Focus On

As you embark on your journey of learning and developing your technical expertise, it's important to focus on areas that will prepare you for your first software engineering job.

In this article, we will discuss the key areas you can prioritize to ensure you are well-prepared for the job market as a Backend, Frontend, or full-stack engineer.

By ticking these boxes in the last lap of your learning, you will equip yourself with the necessary skills to excel in the industry.

I have assumed you have an appreciable understanding of some technologies you work with.

I am also assuming you could be joining a standard company that follows the best practices in software development.

Your typical workday will involve coding and working on tasks.

Today, you could be debugging and fixing issues, next week you could be implementing new features, or optimizing an existing code.

Don't be surprised, you may spend a greater part of your time reading the company's codebase and not writing code in your first month or more.

This might slightly be different for some companies that may expect you to be coding from day one.

If it's a brownfield application (An application that is already existing) , In some cases, you may not be writing new code from scratch.

There are already existing components or modules you will be reusing for your work.

Here are some areas or boxes you should thick in your learning before you join your dream company.

Learn Coding Standard/Style Guide:

Familiarize yourself with coding standards and best practices established by your company.

You'll work with your team to follow the coding standards & best practices established by your company.

Your company will set coding conventions or style guides, guidelines, and rules that you and your team will follow when writing code.

You are not expected to break these rules. They are already set by software that checks for code quality.

These standards define a consistent and uniform way of formatting your code, naming variables and functions, organizing code structures,

The reason for the coding standards is to improve code readability, maintainability, and collaboration with your development team.

Adopting a widely-used style guide, such as the Airbnb style guide, can help you practice adhering to coding standards from the start.

For those in the Javascript & React ecosystem, You can try setting up using this article Airbnb style guide and it out in your next hobby project. Start getting used to it.

Participate in Code Review:

Engage in code reviews to gain experience and improve code quality. Platforms like Codacy can assist you by automatically reviewing your code and providing feedback. Embracing code reviews allows you to learn from experienced developers, enhance your coding skills, and maintain high-quality codebases.

Learn Intermediate Git Commands:

Expand your knowledge of Git beyond the basics. I know you are already used to or familiar with the basic git commands. That's fine. You need to step up with these commands:

Git stash:

You will need it often to temporarily save changes and not commit them yet so you can switch to another branch to quickly work on a new task assigned to you.

You can thereafter after comeback to your previous work using the git stash pop command.

Git Rebase:

You will need it so you can incorporate changes from one branch into another so you do not create a new merge commit.
why? because your code reviewer wants you to maintain a clean and linear commit history.

Git pull:

You will need to use it often to fetch the latest changes from the remote repository that your developer colleagues have worked on and automatically merges them into your local branch.

Practicing these commands in your next project will improve your proficiency in version control.

Embrace Continuous Learning and Problem-Solving:

Expect challenges in your software engineering career. Embrace them as learning opportunities and take responsibility for your mistakes. Instead of making excuses, offer options and seek solutions. Strive to continuously learn and stay updated with the latest technologies and industry trends. Engage in personal projects and allocate time for self-improvement.

Emphasize Collaboration and Communication:

Remember that you are not working alone. Collaborate with your team members, participate in meetings and discussions, and embrace the feedback provided during code reviews.

Develop effective communication skills to explain your code and ideas clearly. Actively seek guidance and clarification when needed, as this shows your willingness to learn and grow.

Allocate Time for Personal Development:

Invest time in exploring new technologies and expanding your skillset beyond what is used in your workplace. Upskill yourself in areas that may not be provided by your company. This will make you more versatile and future-proof your career.

Prioritize Testing in Your Learning:

Incorporate testing as an integral part of your learning process. Building confidence in your code and ensuring code quality through proper testing is crucial.

By incorporating testing early on, you can catch and prevent bugs before they impact the live application. Understand the importance of unit testing, integration testing, and end-to-end testing in different software development scenarios.

Improve Your Technical Communication:

Enhance your ability to communicate technical concepts effectively. Practice explaining your code and ideas to others, as this skill will be valuable when collaborating with team members and presenting your work.

Effective technical communication will foster better understanding and lead to more successful outcomes.

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