How to: Become a Junior Developer

8 accelerator steps to landing your first job

Written by Nology Team - 02.01.20

So you want a job in technology? Chances are you're going to start out as a Junior Developer. We’ll give you a brief introduction into the role, and what you need to learn if you want to become one!

Junior Developer

A Junior Developer is an entry-level programmer, or the least senior member of a development team. They are often mentored by seniors, and possess a willingness to learn and acquire new skills.

Traits of a good Junior Developer

Ability to learn – being receptive to new ideas and concepts, and the commitment to practice them is what coding is all about.
Work ethic – becoming a developer means lots of hard work and dedication. Don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded generously!
Problem-solver – You’re going to use code to solve problems, so motivation is key!
Commercial understanding – The best developers create technology which supports business goals.
Collaborate in a team – Your ability to work in a team effectively will go a long way in building technology.

What do Junior Developers do?

As the entry-level role in development teams, your job as a Junior Developer is to support the project work your team is responsible for delivering. The nature of this could vary enormously; depending on who you’re working for, how big the development team is, and the workload in terms of business needs.

One thing’s for certain – you’ll be learning a lot, and everyone in your team will be aware and supportive of this. After all, all developers started as Juniors at the beginning of their career! Making mistakes and learning from them is all part of the job, so don’t be shy or fearful to just get stuck in. You’ll likely have a senior member of staff mentoring you and could be working on anything from new website launches to app updates

What you’ll need to do

The team here at _nology are specialists in training students to become top Junior Developers. We’ve rounded up 8 accelerator steps to landing your first job as a Junior Developer.

1.Get the basics nailed

This is the most important stage, and one which shouldn’t be disregarded, even if you’ve got past coding experience. Technology is ever-evolving, and being proficient in HTML, CSS and Javascript will get you a long way, and avoid any difficulties later down the line when your tackling more advanced projects.

2. Find someone who inspires you

Whether it’s someone’s journey into technology you can relate to, or the CEO of a tech start-up with unicorn status – Equally, a supportive mentor or trainer who is able to explain new concepts in a language or medium you can understand is an invaluable asset to any Junior Developer, and should be rinsed of all their knowledge.

3. Build build build

As soon as you’ve got to grips with HTML and CSS, you can start building projects to practice your new found knowledge. Practice, and practice some more. Then build, and build some more! Once you’ve got stuck into Javascript, the scope of your projects can grow. Most developers set up an account on Github, the place on the internet where keen developers keep their best code and contribute to each others projects.

4. Build things you love

It’s all well and good following ready-made tutorials, but you’ll start becoming a true developer when you use your toolkit to build your own ideas from the ground-up. Whether it’s mobile or desktop software, a game or a website, building things you’re genuinely interested in will prove to employers your imaginative, motivated and not afraid of a challenge.

5. Absorb Yourself

Read articles and industry news to keep your finger on the pulse, both in the local tech sector and international topics of conversation. Attend events, got to tech meetups and participate in a hackathon! Immersing yourself into the communities and activities around technology will keep you motivated, build contacts in the industry and help you become a better developer.

6. Be comfortable with failure

We’ve already touched on this, but as a Junior Developer, you’re going to have to befriend failure and fast. Learning to code requires perseverance; you are going to try and understand concepts which initially don’t make any sense, and make mistakes in your code which means things won’t work or look the way you intended. Accepting and overcoming these speedbumps and pitfalls are what makes a great developer. What’s more, you can be assured that even the most experienced coders make mistakes. It’s all part of the job!

7. Get support with professional skills

From working in a team, to selling yourself in interviews, we can’t stress enough how important it is to prove your worth as an employee. So you can code, but employer’s want to understand how you approach problems and whether you understand their goals as a business, enterprise or not-for-profit, for example. Not to mention your ability to work as part of a team and manage situations of conflict or failure. Finding a mentor, recruiter or career coach who can support you in gaining these skills will prove invaluable both in the interview process, and throughout your career as a developer.

8. Evidence

This comes back to building projects, but securing your first job as a developer will prove extremely difficult without a portfolio of work. Because development is a practical discipline, where experience is gained incrementally through building software, you need to prove your skills with a strong and diverse portfolio of work. Employers will want evidence you have mastered the programming languages you said you’ve got in your CV, and reassurance you are capable of seeing projects through to completion.

What’s the next step after you’ve gained your first job as a Junior Developer? In our how-to guides, we explore the essential traits and skills of the main roles in a software development team. Discover what you’ll need to learn to progress in your career as a Front-end Developer, or if logical thinking comes the most naturally to you, learn how to become a Back-end Developer.


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