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Michael Mangialardi
Michael Mangialardi

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34 Tips for Professional JavaScript Developers

What is this article all about?

It might be easier to begin by saying what it's not:

  1. This is not an enumeration of tips and tricks to land your first job (there is already plenty of stuff on that topic).

  2. This is not a list of professional "networking" skills (I find that stuff boring, no offense).

  3. This is not an aggregation of purely technical advice (because the role of a JavaScript developer is not purely technical).

Rather, I want to dish out practical advice for what to do when you've already landed your first gig.

In short, I want you to be feel motivated, driven, and confident in answering the simple question of "what's next?"

The Journey

Specifically, I want to provide an answer to that important question beginning at the start of a new job, and then work our way from there.

A Disclaimer

JavaScript is a broad enterprise, and there are so many different niches (and therefore positions) that one may find themself in.

I cannot possibly cover practical advice at that scale. Therefore, I will assume a specific scenario.

Even if said scenario does not describe your situation, I still hope the advice can be practical and helpful in a general sense.

I'll leave it to the reader to adopt and mold the advice to their specific circumstances.

With that aside, let's end this introduction and get started already.

Ok, I got my first job...now what?

You're now a JavaScript developer writing code for a web application product.

You work with a group of developers, some more frontend-focused and some more backend-focused.

You have a software developer manager that you check in with once a week.

There's also a product team composed of a Product Manager, UI/UX Designer, and a Technical Product Manager.

Tip #1

You were hired for a reason. Remember that.

Tip #2

You don't impress peers with your technical skills.

Tip #3

Make your first career milestone being able to complete assigned work with minimal help (but initiate asking questions until you get there).

Tip #4

Read PRs of more experienced PRs and learn from them (even if you weren't assigned to do the review).

Tip #5

Be yourself. A personable teammate is a very attractive quality.

Tip #6

Expect long code review feedback cycles. That's normal in this stage.

Alright, I can complete tasks with minimal help...what's next?

Tip #7

Make it your next milestone to complete assigned work with better efficiency.

Tip #8

Improve efficiency by paying attention to common points made when others review your code.

Tip #9

Improve efficiency by targeting and resolving bottlenecks.

Tip #10

Remember that, in part, improving efficiency just takes experience (which takes time).

Alright, I can complete tasks with improved efficient...now I should ____?

Tip #11

Make it your next milestone to improve the quality of your code.

Tip #12

Get very good at providing thorough code reviews.

Tip #13

Always take time refactor your code after you get it working, making your code easy to review.

Tip #14

Write clean code.

Tip #15

Get comfortable with reading open source code.

Tip #16

Imitate patterns found in open source code.

Tip #17

Imitate patterns found in your codebase.

Tip #18

Do pair code reviews.

I'm writing cleaner code so I should focus on ____ next?

Tip #19

Make it your next milestone to help improve the team's efficiency and culture.

Tip #20

Initiate meetings to help developers focus on professional development (I've always liked the format of doing a show-and-tell where developers can shared a recent thing they've learned).

Tip #21

Observe and address bottlenecks in the review and deployment process.

Tip #22

Observe and address recurring bottlenecks in project planning and execution.

Tip #24

Initiate suggestions for better coding patterns and technologies.

Tip #24

Initiate trying different ways of thinking and working (i.e. pair on all code reviews for one project).

Tip #25

Aim for initiating one technology improvement and alternative way of working for each project.

Tip #26

Observe and address needs for greater emphasis on career development.

Tip #27

Observe and address needs for greater ways to motivate developers besides completing a project.

Tip #28

Observe and address needs for greater ways to have fun as a team.

I'm clearly becoming a tech leader, I also should ____?

Tip #29

Make providing input during product meetings as high a priority in your role as writing code.

Tip #30

Share your learnings with a broader audience using a developer's content model.

Tip #31

Focus on a niche interest/skill in your realm of development and get really good at it.

Tip #32

Work on side projects that sharpen your niche skill.

Tip #33

Stay up to date with latest trends in the industry (via Twitter, Bytes, Dev.to, newsletters, etc.

Tip #34

Outwork everyone.

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Raden Maulana Rifa'i Abdullah

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