Tips for a developer in 2017

I am now in a position in my career where I help to mentor other developers in my team. It is a very privileged place to be, and I take pride in it, as I am a strong believer that they can also teach me something new too. We are always learning in our industry, and that is something that always shines through. If you aren’t learning, then something is going wrong, and you need change. Our industry moves too fast, and you will become obsolete if you do not stay in check with how technology is moving.

I thought I would share some things that are becoming more important as we have transitioned into 2017. If you are looking to get employed or start your career this year in development, this may help you. Don’t take everything as the golden truth, it all has to work for your situation.

Don’t get wrapped up in frameworks

The number of frameworks available today is astonishing, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. It is quite easy to forget the bigger picture when developing using some of these frameworks. It is becoming increasingly common that a developer will only understand a solution from a single frameworks point of view. One of my biggest tips for you this year would be to start thinking about what the solution would be if you were to write it using the native language.

Delving deeper, there is a constant battle in front end technology at the moment between using React or Angular. Don’t get me wrong, knowing one of these frameworks will be an invaluable experience for a potential employer. However, something that is even more important is for you to understand what is going on under the hood. All Javascript frameworks, in the end, transpose down to pure Javascript. Learn it; it really will help you in the future.

Understanding the basics without a framework lets you write simple behaviour without the need for a framework. Becoming very useful when thinking about it from a performance point of view. Why would you add additional payload and depth to your application when you can do what you needed directly. Don’t forget that frameworks are there to help you do hundreds of tasks, if you are writing a simple application on using one of the useful methods, take a step back and ask yourself. Do I need this framework?

Understand what you want from a job

A hard question to answer when looking for a new role as a developer, especially when you are taking on your first job as an engineer. It is important to think about though, if you don’t know what you are looking for, there is a high chance you will take on something you will not enjoy in the long run.

This question doesn’t mean you can’t take on something flexible, but it does make you think about flexibility if you want to be more of a full stack developer over specialising in front-end or back-end technologies. Without knowing what you want, you can’t ensure what you are moving into is right for you. The more specific you can be to an employer also shows them an idea of where you plan to be in a years time which can be very beneficial as it shows drive and passion for what you do.

Learn from the past

It is relatively common for developers in our current age to not think about the problems and difficulties we have already had to overcome to get to where we are. Racing ahead with modern technologies is great. However, there will be a point where you will meet the following question.

How compatible is this with x?

Understanding the past lets us choose the best technology for the people using what we are creating. USERS

These are the people you have to think about when it comes to deciding what approach to take. Without doing so, you will almost definitely create something that inevitably won’t be able to be used by a particular segment of users. Think about people who simply can’t upgrade devices (Business computers and mobile devices) A lot of people are locked out from installing on their work machines for security reasons. Why make your software incompatible for no real reason than thinking about your solution before hand.

Now, let’s go a little further on this subject and think about accessibility, why should someone in remote parts of the world not be able to access our software. Isn’t the reason we are developers, to make what we create accessible irrelevant of their location or hardware? Creating the world where we can all access should be a primary goal in my opinion.

Learn how to accept criticism and other people’s views

It is rare that you will be a lone worker when creating software, you will more than likely be a part of a team or at the very least be working with business owners to contribute to creating their vision. Learning to accept criticism with what you have created only makes the product better and your knowledge base wider.

You may be correct on the way you have implemented something, but without learning to be articulate as to why you have coded something as you have. Makes it very hard for the person objecting how it is created to take on your viewpoint.

We can’t understand every single perspective as to how something could work better; it is physically not possible as an individual, this is where collaboration is essential. Not just important, as without collaboration, your product will simply be inferior and not cater to the needs of your intended users.

Take a break once in a while

Technology is moving so fast these days that it is hard to keep up. However, working day and night on software will only do one thing. Burn you out. We have to do other things and take a break from our mind constantly looking at code. Freeing up your mind to look at other things will also make it able to understand complex tasks when you inevitably come across them.

Quality, Quality, Quality

Your employer maybe pushing you to increase your output in all kinds of incremental ways. However, we should always be focusing on the quality of what we are creating. Without that focus, we are creating code what will have bugs and scalability issues.

Any employer will always prefer code that works and has been thoroughly thought about than code that is buggy, but you got it out quick.

This doesn’t mean to over bloat a solution; the best solutions are the simplest to implement. Just make sure you are checking your work thoroughly and if you are unsure, ask, your team are there to help you. If they are not there to help you, you should consider looking for a new job as that atmosphere is not one that thrives on community and creativity. Yes, developers can be creative, just because it isn’t always beautiful, doesn’t mean it isn’t creative.

Hopefully, the above has informed you slightly on things to look out for or try to take on board in your day to day life as a developer in 2017.

I write about lots of different subjects including Development, Management, Photography and being a Creative.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Medium or my Website.