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Cover image for Building your career as a developer

Building your career as a developer

ziizium profile image Habdul Hazeez ・6 min read

We've come a long way in this series, we've covered HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Web design in general and at the end, we shipped a fictional web design company as our final project, but you should know that web development (and software development in general) is more than coding.

When you are a developer there are so many skills that you have to work on and most of these skills you'll have to work on them all by yourself. In the end, it will all make you a better developer.

The list below is incomplete and you should take them as my opinion and not necessarily the go-to guide.

  • Believe in yourself
  • Communication skills
  • Never stop learning
  • Learning new technology
  • Read research papers
  • Keeping up to date
  • Work on different projects
  • Write
  • Staying healthy

Let's go into detail about each skill without making this post longer than usual.


Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself and the rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish.

Brad Henry

When you take your first steps into the world of software development you might feel confused at first and question yourself whether the field is really meant for you. You might hear those voices in your head telling you to quit and call it a day, this is the time when you have to sum up the courage and keep going.

Keep going in this context means you should keep doing what you are doing whether it's learning HTML and knowing how the DOM fix some of your HTML errors or trying your best to master layout in CSS (which you might find difficult at first) because you have to master concepts like margin collapsing and block formating concept.

Communication skills

To effectively communicate we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

Tony Robbins

Unless you are working on a project as the solo developer you might not need to worry much about communication skills but at some point in time, you will work with other developers on a project.

You should know not everyone will see the world as you do. This means every single developer working on the project (yourself included) will approach the project with a different mindset, try your possible best and listen to other opinions on how to solve the problem at hand then offer your suggestions.

When you do this you are giving everyone a chance to say their minds and contribute to the project.

Never stop learning

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Mahatma Ghandi

No one knows everything, you will never know everything but that should not stop you from learning. Every new thing you learn adds up to what you know before until you get to a point you'll be considered as a knowledgeable person in your field or an expert.

When you start out on your learning endeavors don't get discouraged when you look ahead and you see people that are considered superintelligent and you ask yourself: How can I know or be as good as these guys? If you dwell on this taught for too long, there is a high chance you might lose sight of your goal and give up altogether. But if you keep at it, you will look back one day and you'll be glad that you never gave up on yourself.

Anyone you might consider as an expert read books and to an extent, they never stop learning.

Learning new technology

Every time I learn a new thing to do on my computer, I have to write it down so that I can remember it.

Betty Parsons

The field of web development is ever bubbling with new technology from frameworks, libraries to programming languages. You might feel tempted to learn every new tool because everyone seems to be using it. The reality is to trust in your ability to learn on-demand. This means you should only learn a new tech if you really plan on using it on a project.

Read research papers

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.

Zora Neale Hurston

Reading research papers might seem odd to you and you'll hardly find anyone advising you at the early stages of your career to read research papers. There is one thing I will tell you right here, right now: Reading research papers is not an easy endeavor but it is a worthy investment in the long run.

The developers that write the tools we use from our web browsers to operating systems take their time to read research papers.

Most UI that we are accustomed to are based on years of research in the field of Human computer interaction which is the foundation of the modern-day field of User Experience.

As a web developer, you should find time from your schedule to read research papers in the field of web development even it's just a single one for the whole week and by the end of a year, you'll have read 52 research papers.

You'll find research papers on arXiv and some free ones on springer. A simple search of javascript on arXiv will yield many results. Take a deep breath and exhale. How are you feeling? Download a research paper today and find time to read it.

You can also check the morning paper by Adrian colyer.

Keeping up to date

I realize I don't do a very good job in keeping up to date, but I try to.

Bob Dylan

The field of web development moves at a pretty fast pace when it comes to information. One of the ways to be in the loop is via twitter. Follow developers of your interest and if there is anything "popular" or worth knowing you'll read about it from their tweets.

Here are some recommendations:

Work on different projects

The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.

Jonas Salk

One of the best ways to horn your skills as a developer is to work on different projects that force you to learn new things and new approaches to problem-solving.

Write

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.

Francis Bacon

Writing might seem like mission impossible when you consider yourself a beginner developer and you might ask questions like: What can I write?

When you work on your projects no matter how small it might seem, write something about it. Your writing can consist of the following:

  • How you approached the project
  • The tools you used and any challenges you faced using the tool
  • How you solved the problem
  • What you learned
  • Advice to others

During your writing process, you will realize the stuff you read in the research papers (or blog) will play a significant role in how you put your thoughts down because your brain has somehow learned how to write without you knowing. When you are done writing you might ask yourself: Who wrote this? Trust me, you did!.

Staying healthy

Just staying healthy, that is true wealth and true happiness.

Jon Jones

Staying healthy should be your priority as a human and as a developer. I beg you to forgive me for putting this as the last item on the list. Take care of yourself, don't spend too much time in front of the computer. When you are working on a project and you are close to smashing your computer, walk away and go for a walk or something then come back after a while you'll be surprised how this works.

Don't work all day, all week without giving yourself a break as this can lead to burnout. Take good care of yourself.


With this article, we've come to the end of this series, I hope you've learned enough that'll give you confidence in building usable and accessible websites.

You can follow me on twitter @ziizium or drop me a mail at ziizum[@]protonmail[.]ch

Thank you and I'll see you another time.

Posted on by:

ziizium profile

Habdul Hazeez

@ziizium

I teach and write code with interests in Web Development, Computer Security, and Artificial Intelligence.

Discussion

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With everything that's going on in the world right now, as well as trying to study, I am on complete burnout this week. I have felt unnerved and like totally giving in. Thank you thank you thank you for this article today. Much needed.

Here's to never giving up and learning everyday x

 

I guess it is quite important to find the balance! Do something interesting in your leisure time, could be making dinner or playing any online game or have a good laugh with your house mates!

 

Balance is key.

 

Never give up! This is the perfect moment to push and work harder !

 

Got to agree with everything you said :) ! Great tips! I haven't tried reading research papers, but will see now.

 

Great! if you haven't already, you can start with A Comparative Evaluation of JavaScript Execution Behavior.

Thanks for reading.