With the demand for new websites and apps higher than ever, we asked Robert Kent from our tech team what his advice would be for newcomers to the craft...

 

Be curious 

  • Follow developers you like on Twitter. Browse their github repositories. Read development blogs. 

 

Get hands on 

  • Find a project you're interested in and do it. It doesn't matter if it's small or simple, just do something. There are lots of places to get ideas (reddit prompts, taking apart someone else's work, dribbble, behance etc) 
  • It's more important to learn why something works the way it does than learning a quick fix. It helps in the long run to understand fundamental concepts. New technologies are coming up all the time and techniques that didn't work a few months ago are now totally different. This industry is constantly evolving. 

 

Find your niche 

  • Find an aspect of development that interests you and stick with it. These days there are so many technologies and frameworks popping up all the time that it can feel overwhelming to try and keep up with them all. It's important to have an idea of what these new technologies are for so you can tell if it's worth learning how to use it. Don't spread yourself too thin. 

 

Build your network 

  • Don't work in a vacuum - find a community (online or meetup) or a mentor/mentors who can review your work and give you pointers/suggestions/improvements. It's really good for learning as a developer because online courses or books can only anticipate so many questions and can't give you individual feedback. 

 

Show them the receipts 

  • Document your work as much as you can. It's not only helpful for someone else looking at your work to understand what it does or why, but it can help you too when you revisit old work. 

 

And remember... 

  • You are going to mess up. A lot. It's a normal part of being a developer - we all do work that, when we look back, we realise how bad it is. It's part of learning and improving so don't get disheartened by it or feel like a failure.

 

Still curious?

Junior developer Euan recommends: 

  • Codecademy is very useful to begin with as it gives you a good idea of whether you’d actually enjoy doing development work. It gamifies basic concepts whilst not getting too bogged-down in the detail. It led me to exploring how to take the interest further, and I ended up doing the 16 week software development course at Codeclan.  
  • YouTube is an invaluable resource for pretty much anything you want to learn these days!