My First Few Months as a Junior Engineer

Erin Fox
Erin Fox
Nov 22, 2017 · 4 min read

It hasn’t been all cat memes and smooth PR’s. I’ve learned loads of information in my first few months and now I’d like to share a small slice of it!

Coming from a coding bootcamp that focused on vanilla Javascript and Ruby, I would of never in a million years thought I’d be a Junior Engineer on the UI Team at Major League Soccer building a new app for our fans in React Native. I thought I had somewhat of an idea of how programing works but geez, was I wrong! Not only is this my first engineering role in my career, it’s my first time using React Native! Hopefully this post is helpful in letting first-time developers and engineers get an idea of what goes on for a Junior as they are exposed to new technology and a new career.

VS Code & Prettier

Before MLS, the only text editor I’ve used is Sublime, so switching to VS Code took a bit of adjustment. It’s really helpful to have the terminal connected, for fast commits and running servers. One thing that absolutely blew my mind was working with Prettier. Oh. My. God. It’s amazing. If you’ve never used it, please do. You will be a much faster developer and your code will be so, SO clean.

✨ magic ✨

Storybook & Universal Components

The first big concept I had to grasp my fresh bootcamp mind around, was building universal components in Storybook. If you haven’t heard, Storybook is amazing. kurtiskemple explained it to me as, “taking a component, putting it in isolation, and then building it.” This also had a hand motion of a claw selecting a single toy from a machine and dropping it into the winning bucket (toy = component and the winning bucket = storybook). I was building universal components!

GitHub & Jira

Working on a repo with hundreds of folders is a bit overwhelming. The first couple weeks I don’t think I remembered where anything was so I would continuously be peepin’ into files to try to find what I was looking for. I’ve never worked on a project where others are making PR’s (pull request — took me awhile to decipher that one), while I am writing new lines too. The collaboration, communication and teamwork that goes into a project is crazy cool. GitHub is still full of secrets but I’m slowly understanding and have been committing PR’s like a Boss.

Jira was another mystery. Tickets, get your tickets! Tickets are tasks we assign to ourselves to work on for the day (or sometimes weeks). I’m slowly getting the hang of it, the more confident I am with knowing what a ticket is, the better I am and the more organized I get.

GraphQL & Transforming Data Structures

I’m used to very classic API queries. So using GraphQL is a lot less confusing and much easier. GraphQL is like a trusty friend that runs off and returns with whatever you want. You just need to tell it exactly what it is you’re looking for.

so handy 👍

Basically…

There are a lot of things I still find confusing but, there’s a lot I totally understand, which is AWESOME. We should all compare ourselves, to our past selves to really see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned. Working on this new project at MLS using React Native is very challenging, but I am learning SO much. I like to add “yet” to the end of my sentences.

“I don’t know how to use componentDidMount yet.”

“I’m not sure I understand how our backend servers work yet.

Sum it up

As long as you have a growth mindset, persistence and a good attitude, starting out as a junior engineer can be really cool. Like, REALLY, REALLY cool. I get to ask a million questions a day and everyone think’s it’s great.

Feel free to follow my engineering journey on twitter @erinfoox!

Thanks to Jake Dawkins

Erin Fox

Written by

Erin Fox

Software Engineer. React. React Native. GraphQL. Metaphors. Cats.

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