01.25.23 - Development
Developer Q&A: What I wish I knew
So, you want to advance your career as a developer?
You came to the right spot.
In this new Employee Q&A Series, we’re providing job seekers with answers to questions bigger than, “is a hot dog a sandwich?”. We’ll unpack the secrets of modern web development with our makers and share valuable tricks of the trade.
We’re taking on these big hairy topics because, at Makeway, we place a premium on personal development. We believe it’s not only possible to deliver excellent work to clients while growing as individuals but that the two go hand in hand.
Your progress as a developer is essential to the goals of the team. Plus, it’s just a whole lot more fun to be around people who are passionate about what they do!
For this installment, Makeway’s developers shared some career pointers touching on the power of teamwork, the importance of balancing specialties with general knowledge, and how to cope with not knowing everything (hint: it’s OK!).
Don’t worry, they’re not here to grade your use of languages and tools. They’re just some experienced folks sharing the things they wish they would’ve known earlier in their careers.
Now, for today’s question…
What do you wish you had known before starting your career that would have helped you be more prepared?
Víctor Deras, Developer
Being a developer is NOT a solo job. While languages, tools, and general programming skills are most definitely required and important, soft skills — knowing how to communicate, knowing how to schedule and estimate tasks, and knowing how to deal with people— are a crucial part of the job and oftentimes the differentiator between a good dev and a great dev.
Regardless of what your position is, you will need to deal with people: be it customers, clients, managers, stakeholders or even just other devs on your team. You will need to get your ideas across as well as understand others’ ideas: to coordinate development, understand client requirements, sell your product, and understand the market you’re in. No man is an island and no dev is either.
“Regardless of what your position is, you will need to deal with people: be it customers, clients, managers, stakeholders or even just other devs on your team.” – Víctor
Kate Coleman, Developer
I dropped into web development without a computer science background and had merely dabbled in the basics over two or three college courses. The impression I got from that experience was that a website is a series of HTML documents linked together and then prettied up with CSS. That impression can be true in some circumstances but fails to adequately illustrate the scope of modern web development. Most sites now are too complex for that kind of setup. They use databases and a template structure in order to manage large amounts of data that wouldn’t be feasible to maintain with a bunch of HTML documents linked together. When I supervise interns, this is one of the things that tends to catch them off guard too.
“In addition to your specialization, it’s good to have a high-level view of other technologies as well.” – Kate
Robbie Lund, Developer
I wish I knew that I wasn’t expected to know everything all the time. School teaches you the very basics of a good number of languages and logic, and then those topics get swapped to something new and you’re left feeling like a genius, then the real world shows up, and it turns out you don’t know shit. It’s ok to not know how to do something. However, a willingness to try, learn, and know how and where to look for answers is a must. Google is your friend, and check that you remembered the ; when something doesn;t work.
“It’s ok to not know how to do something. However, a willingness to try, learn, and know how and where to look for answers is a must.” – Robbie
Hopefully, you’re feeling energized and, perhaps, a little relieved. You don’t have to know everything from a technical standpoint to excel as a developer.
What you learned in school or your last job is a solid foundation to build on. As long as you come in with the right mentality about growth and development.
Are you interested in some one-on-one feedback? Reach out to us to talk to a member of our development team: [email protected]
Are you a student looking for an internship or a qualified developer looking for a new position? Check out our careers page.