5 Lessons From My Software Development Journey of 6 Months

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Right from when I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to be a software developer, front end developer to be precise.

If there is anything that catch my fancy back then even up till today, it is a well-designed and beautiful website.

Unfortunately I was unable to study computer science for my bachelor’s degree but fortunately I was able to teach myself to code.

In May 2020 after I left university and while searching for openings for an economics grad, I decided to teach myself coding.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve learnt a lot, made some mistakes and have also come to realize that there are still many things to learn.

In this post, I’ll share with you 5 lessons from my software development journey.

The focus of this article won’t be on the skillsets, programming languages or tools but rather on lessons and tips. I hope upcoming or newbie developers can pick one or two things from this post.

1. Take it slow and steady

When I first started learning to code, am always anxious to finish the tutorial quickly and move to the next one.

I want to crush the tutorial and be done with it. I can’t wait to call myself a developer. Do you want to know where all this led me? I think you should guess

Well, I end up forgetting most of things I learn. Anytime I start a project to practice what I’ve learnt, I found out that I can’t even recall or figure out anything myself.

I had to sat down and think where I was getting it wrong. Took me a while to understand that I don’t really understand the tutorials I’ve been watching all this while.

If you are a newbie developer, one of the best things you can do while learning to code is to take it easy on yourself, take it slow and don’t rush things.

Whatever tutorial you are watching, make sure you fully understand it, Even if it will take you several hours or days to get it, then take your time, don’t rush.

In the end, nobody will be there to congratulate and give you a medal to rushing things up.

2. You can never know it all

You heard me right, you can never know it all.

This point is meant to support the first point up there.

Don’t think you can just learn everything in few months and call yourself a developer.

The software development industry will be always be changing and improving. The moment you know something, another thing else is on the way.

The moment you realize you can’t know it all, you will be able to position yourself to learn new things as they come and become better.

The moment you realize you can’t learn it all, you will be able to take it easy on yourself and have less feelings of being an imposter.

Imposter syndrome is very common among programmers. We’ll discuss that in another topic, not this.

3. Build Projects

Watching tutorials without building projects is one of the worst ways to become a developer. You might end up as a half-baked developer should you not be careful.

No matter how, try and make use of the knowledge you gained in the tutorial by building a project. It doesn’t have to be something big. It might be a mini project like building a calculator, a to-do app or even a landing page.

While I was learning, I spent most of my time watching tutorials without building a single project. I know and understand what is being taught in the tutorials but didn’t build anything.

It was when I met a senior developer who asked for my portfolio and what I’ve built that it dawned on me that I haven’t built anything and that am just a tutorial developer.

A tutorial developer is a developer who watch tutorial and do nothing else.

Don’t search for that name elsewhere, I coined it myself.

So dear newbie developer, as you watch that tutorial don’t forget to build stuffs. Demonstrate that knowledge, let the world see.

4. Join a community

One of the best way to become a great developer is to engage with the community.

There are thousands of developers out there doing what you are doing, go out there and interact with them.

You can join local meetups or facebook groups where you will be able to interact and connect with other developers.

You can learn from this community and also seek feedback on your projects.

Some of these developers community also offer mentorships and supports to new developer.

Two of the best communities for developers of which am a member are Google Dev Fest and Facebook Developer Circles, Lagos.

5. Document Whatever You are learning

Form the habit of taking notes while learning or create a blog to share what you’ve learnt. This will help you in a lot of ways.

By writing things down in your own words clearly shows you understand what you just learnt. Am not sure you can write an article on javascript loop when you don’t even know what it is and how it works.

Also you are sharing your knowledge with others. Other upcoming developers will be able to learn from your article. A newbie dev who understand a particular concept can explain that concept better to another newbie dev than a senior dev can.

The End.

Glad you made it here, hope you enjoyed the post.

So guys, over to you. How long have you been coding and what have you learnt so far?

Don’t hesitate to drop a comment below, show some love and share this post.

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