After five (somewhat grueling) years of college, the day to finally begin my career as a junior web developer has arrived. In addition to being anxious to get started and build upon the knowledge I’ve gained through college and other self-learning projects, I couldn’t help but have countless questions running through my mind about what this experience would actually be like. Was I prepared enough? What would be expected of me? What level of knowledge did they hope for me to have? These may be similar to the thoughts you have as well.
So, the big question…what really is expected of a junior web developer? It’s been over six months since my first day as a junior web developer at BizStream, and I’m here to give you answers to those questions.
Okay, maybe not nothing, but starting out, it’s a pretty mutual thought on both sides with not knowing what to expect. It’s no secret that technology is changing daily, and it can be hard to keep up with – especially for someone who is just starting out. While searching for a job, one of my big concerns was that the company would expect me to know more than I actually knew. My ideal company to work for was one that could see my potential, and BizStream was that exact company.
When I started working at BizStream, I was happy to see how much they were willing to invest in me. My first few weeks on the job focused on giving me a clear understanding of who BizStream is, like the projects they work on, the technologies they use, and the required training. When I finally started getting into development work, they didn’t just throw me into the trenches. They began with paired programming and then moved me to my own tasks. BizStream has always been flexible when I ask for assistance when I get stuck on a problem, and everyone is always willing to extend a helping hand whenever I ask them for help.
While it wasn’t expected of me to know everything on my first day, I have learned a lot of things in these last few months that I think would have been helpful to know on my first day.
While these are still great resources, when it became important for me to start learning more technologies quicker, the best way to do that was by referencing the technology’s documentation. Since documentation is not written to give you the exact solution to every problem you run into, learning to comprehend documentation so that I can translate that into an appropriate solution was a bit of a learning curve for me.
However, after six months of referencing some documentation almost daily, I can happily report that it’s not much of a challenge for me anymore – it just takes consistent practice, as any newly learned trait does.
No matter your job, it’s always important to have good communication skills. Communication allows everyone in the team to be on the same page and work to be completed in the most efficient way possible. From a junior web developer’s point of view, communication will allow you to grow as a developer even quicker.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, you were hired for your potential. Be transparent about what you know and what you don’t know. Your employer wants to see that you’re willing to learn and put forth the effort to enable you to gain the skills necessary to make yourself and the company successful. When you run into a problem with a task you’re working on and truly feel you’ve tried everything to solve the problem, reach out to someone who can provide you with some help. In my experience, everyone is always happy to help when possible, and if the person you reach out to for help can’t solve it, they will more than likely help you find someone who can give you the answers you’re looking for.
There you have it, everything you need to know to make yourself a successful junior web developer. Okay, maybe not everything you need to know, but you’re not expected to know everything, remember? At the end of the day, most of us starting a junior web developer role are fresh out of school or some other training that taught us to be a developer. In this role, your job is to mix being a student with being a professional, and sooner than you may realize, you’re going to be in a position where you are the person a junior developer is approaching for advice.
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