One of my tweets regarding junior developers became very popular on Twitter. I thought “why not write an article about it?”. After all, I am a junior developer, and I know first-hand what it feels to be in this position. Not long ago, I have started the role, and I would like to encourage other people who are in the same situation. I have embedded the tweet in the article to act as a summary of the points described in the article.
Dear JUNIOR devs:
👉 Always speak up your mind
👉 Your knowledge IS NOT EQUAL to your human worth
👉 You’re valuable for your company
👉 You don’t have to know/memorize everything
👉 Always look to progress
👉 Never keep your head down
— ᴄᴀᴛᴀʟɪɴ ᴘɪᴛ 💡🚀 (@catalinmpit) February 18, 2020
Some of the points from the tweet are taken separately, whereas some are combined in the same paragraph. The ideas remain the same.
YOUR KNOWLEDGE ≠ HUMAN WORTH
At the very beginning, I made the wrong association between knowledge and human worth. I thought that because I know less than my peers, I am “less of a person”. This thinking could not be more erroneous. Your knowledge does not determine your human worth. Nobody should feel they are less valuable than their peers because they do not possess the same amount of expertise.
Wrongly associating your worth as a person with your knowledge, stops you from speaking your mind, and in turn, it makes you keep your head down. You do not come with suggestions. You do not give your input. You do not come with ideas. You do not participate in meetings. You avoid conversations. All these are the results of this wrong thinking. Thinking like this only brings more misery and poor performance at your workplace.
We, as humans, should be equal in terms of our human worth. Nobody is worth more than the other. And when I say this, I mean in the workplace. Knowledge is one thing; human worth is another thing.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MEMORISE AND KNOW EVERYTHING
If you were able to memorise and know everything, you would be a superhuman, let alone a super developer. Nobody knows everything, and that is fine. Developers are not supposed to act like hard-drives that store information. While it is good to know the basics, and things you use on a daily basis, you do not have to know everything. It is impossible.
That is why we have Google and Stack Overflow. For instance, if you browse Stack Overflow, you can see people of all levels, from juniors to seniors with tens of years of experience, asking questions. Moreover, the tech industry is so dynamic that something you know today might become obsolete the next day. And you have to learn new technologies from zero. Learn to be comfortable with not knowing everything, and learn to use your brain as a processor, rather than a hard-drive. (Props to Marc for the analogy)
ALWAYS SPEAK UP YOUR MIND
Do you have something on your mind? Do you have other ideas than your more experienced co-workers? Talk about them. Just because you are a junior developer does not mean that you cannot have good ideas. It does not mean you cannot contribute. You can be assured that a company does not hire you for your technical skills as a junior. They look at you as a person too. Maybe you cannot come up with complex architectures, design patterns, and so on. But you can contribute anyway in other areas.
Thus, do not keep your head down. Everyone appreciates you if you speak up your mind because it means you care and you want to give your input.
YOU ARE VALUABLE
You are a valuable member of the company. You have no idea the impact you have on the company. You bring fresh ideas to the table, you are enthusiastic. They can mould you into the developer they want.
Understand that if you would not be valuable, they would not have hired you.
ALWAYS LOOK FOR PROGRESS
This is something every developer of every level should do. But us, as junior developers, should thrive for progress even more. The first one to three years are your formative years. You should aim to learn as much as possible. By this statement, I do not mean to learn every tool available on earth. I mean to progress as much as possible in your craft. Are you a back-end developer, for example? Aim to learn as much as possible about best practices, technologies, design patterns, tools, and so on, that are used in back-end development.
Do not sacrifice your progress and career for a good salary, especially in the beginning of your career. Many companies pay good money, but in turn, you do unexciting, repetitive work. That does not do yourself any good. You do not progress, and the time flies quickly. After three or four years you will find yourself at the same level, which is not ideal. I do not think anybody wants to be considered a junior after a couple of years.
Thus, always look for progress when picking a job, or even when choosing tasks at your current workplace.
Read this article as many times as it takes to understand all these points. Also, remember that every developer you look up to started from the same place. Everyone starts as a junior. There is no way around it.
Your first job, and the first year as a developer is an amazing experience. Make the most of it, and do not let irrational thinking get the best of you.