A Day in the Life of Junior Developers

Agnes Kanizsai | July 10, 2024

A Day in the Life of Junior Developers

Entering the world of software development as a junior developer can be both exciting and challenging. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview two junior developers, András and Marcell, who were onboarding at Origin/develop, a development partner of platformOS. Their perspectives offer an intriguing look into their daily routines, learning experiences, and the active community they are currently part of. 

A Typical Day as a Junior Developer

After greeting the team in the morning, the first activity each day is usually to check if there’s any outstanding tasks from the previous day, or if their mentor has provided any feedback on the code pushed the day before. Once pending tasks are cleared, they’d choose a ticket from the backlog and brainstorm a solution, often in collaboration with team members. Together they’d tackle roadblocks, sometimes also juggling two or three projects simultaneously - this making every day dynamic and interesting. Between tasks they focus on self-development and look to learn new skills.

Balance Coding Tasks with Learning New Skills and Technologies

Our junior developers emphasize the importance of focusing on what’s necessary to solve the given tasks. In addition, they engage in independent and group learning, often giving short presentations to each other. During their onboarding, Peter, their mentor, provided guidance, often leveraging the platformOS documentation, helping them stay on track with their learning goals - balancing time spent between work, research and self-development.

Support and Mentorship

In their team, the junior developers can count on each other’s support throughout the day. Through the learning process they have become great friends, and feel part of a community. The empathy and servant leadership by Peter has fostered a strong bond between the junior devs and has created a ‘safe’ space for them to feel comfortable to ask any question no matter how simple it might seem.

Most Frequently Used Programming Languages and Tools

During their internship they actively coded using HTML and CSS, typically leveraging frameworks like Tailwind and Gatsby (which is based on React). JavaScript, TypeScript, and various combinations of these languages were also used. The team also became acquainted with GraphQL and Liquid, both being core technologies used in platformOS.

Junior developers often rely on a suite of powerful tools to boost their productivity and collaboration. These include Trello for task management, Figma for design collaboration, and GitHub for version control. They often engage in pair programming, where two programmers work together to tackle problems real time. This all together helps to create a collaborative and efficient work environment, fostering growth and innovation.

A Recent Project – Contribution, Experience, Challenges

One of the first major projects that András participated in was the alumni community solution for the Pacific Coast Banking School. His primary role was fixing bugs in the existing code and creating new admin functions. He also worked on routing and fine-tuning the website in many areas. He found it particularly interesting to debug and understand its websocket-based messaging system.

Marcell worked on the Vine&Roof and WineSofi projects with one of his fellow junior developers. They created these two projects from scratch using tools and technologies like Figma, frontend build systems and module bundlers, ReactJS, Gatsby as a static site generator and platformOS as the hosting and backend API platform.

Keeping Up with the Latest Trends and Updates

Our junior developers use TikTok and YouTube channels like Fireship, which provides weekly tech news and updates. These platforms prove to be good springboards for further research and learning. One of the topics they dive into frequently is AI-related content.

On the other hand, they also follow community pages and several programming groups on social media. (The team found a way to take advantage of the algorithm and trained it to show them programming and coding content, which has turned out to be incredibly useful. If they need inspiration, they interact with relevant posts to ensure the algorithm continues to provide useful content).

Key Insights for Junior Developers from CEO Adam Broadway’s Talk

Earlier this year, platformOS Founder and CEO,Adam Broadway, delivered an inspiring presentation  to mark the beginning of a new partnership between platformOS and University of Szeged. This collaboration aims to give students real-world tech experience that aligns with their academic goals. This presentation provided particularly useful ideas for both current students and junior developers who were recently university students themselves.

Marcell and András also attended the event and were really struck by Mr. Broadway’s focus on being resilient in the face of challenges. He shared personal stories and examples from his career to show that persistence – sometimes even involving taking risks or making financial sacrifices – is key to achieving significant success. His main message was crystal clear: no matter how difficult the challenges, there's always a way forward.

Like all the other university students, Marcell and András found the lecture insightful and exciting. It was fascinating to hear about Adam’s previous projects and the experiences he shared.

University and/or Learning Experience to Prepare You for the Current Role

Marcell sees the value of a university education in that it provided him a foundation to understand the first principles of coding which then helped him find what programming language (and type of development) he was most interested in. However, most of the things he knows now he learned mostly on his own. The relevant courses (HTML, web CSS, and Java) covered only the basics, but offered a helpful frame of reference. The knowledge from other courses, like discrete mathematics, he found less applicable.

András, in contrast, found discrete mathematics helpful for developing logic. For his final exam he worked on a full-stack project using JavaSpring and Angular. He also attended a bootcamp which was very practice-oriented, and covered Agile programming and web development frameworks extensively.

Internship Experience and its Impact on their Approach to Software Development

Marcell spent the beginning of his internship studying and reading documentation. The goal was to understand the software development life cycle, the process, and to learn the technologies involved. During the last month they worked on a real project, which was a great transition.

For the first month András studied he became acquainted with the numerous pathways that he could take. He discovered that before delving further into coding, it’s crucial to master the fundamentals. The thorough documentation and Peter's mentoring made the onboarding process with platformOS a lot easier - and he’s excited to be working on the Community Solution and the PCBS projects.

Advice to Current Students or Recent Graduates Who Are Looking to Start Their Careers in Software Development

András advises creating and working on a pet project, and constantly improving oneself to meet the tech stack needs of different jobs. Perseverance and humble work are key. He also adds that anyone can accomplish their goals, even in a competitive market, if they are motivated enough.

Marcell recommends a self-taught path in parallel to a formal education. While university gives you a foundation, you still need to follow your interests. In a team you learn more quickly, and he encourages students to create communities such as Reddit groups, Discord servers, or Facebook groups.

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