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Notes on ”Advice for Your First Dev Role”

Sophia Brandt
former tax officer turned programmer
Originally published at rockyourcode.com on ・2 min read

Virtual Coffee is a remote community for developers that aim to support each other.

They offer "brown bags" which are talks and discussions about a specific topic.

Here are my notes from Advice for your first dev role by Bryan Healey:

Remember that there will be a ramp-up period. You should take the time to talk to other engineers in your team.

Learn about the tooling stack as soon as possible.

Talk to your manager regularly.

Keep in mind what you want to achieve in a year, 5 years, etc. Be proactive. Don't wait for tasks to come to you — gradually ask for more complex tasks. Take ownership.

Many juniors try to jump in and contribute at scale. That hinders them from seeking help, and opening a dialog. Having a "set of fresh eyes" is valuable for a company.

Bryan looks for continuous contributions on an escalating scale. He doesn't expect a junior to contribute major features right away.

Good engineers should be comfortable with asking questions as its part of the process.

A functional team will collaborate and discuss, so your questions should be welcomed, too.

When should you ask questions? As a beginner, don't spend too much time on trouble-shooting. Nobody gains much when you try to solve a problem yourself that could be solved faster by asking for help.

Rule of thumb: don't spend more than 30 minutes banging your head against the wall.

When you start a new job, there is a "grace period" where everyone expects you to ask questions. Build trust by doing your due diligence (take notes, learn, listen for feedback, etc.).

Also remember that seniors developers can learn from you.

Bryan hires junior developers for their personality, creativity, problem-solving, not for their technical skills. He looks for people that can push the team. He doesn't care about failure, not delivering things.

Don't be quiet, be part of the team.

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image credit: Marvin Meyer

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