What a JR Developer Really Needs for Christmas…

What a Junior Developer really needs for Christmas can’t just be found under the Christmas tree like the latest Star Wars lego sets (but I will take a set off your hands if there’s extra). No it’s more than that and can take many different forms. What is needed is “Support” but what does that mean?

Support From..

Family — This is first on the list because for many of us, our family is our whole world. Family, no matter if it’s a spouse, our children, or even parents can have a huge impact on all of us. When the nights get long and the API calls get tough, it’s our family’s love and admiration who can make the crunch time that much more bearable.

Friends — These poor souls are the ones who sit and listen to the rants from us as we pour over the latest style guide changes or why the current Agile development sprint should bring about an outright office revolt. However it’s the friend’s honesty and unbiased perspective that is often needed to help support us growing developers in our time of need.

Mentors — Oh Mentors. You’re the Jedi to us padawans. It is you who we Junior Developers look up to. The confidence you show as you push your latest commit changes to that all important pull request. The time you take showing us why a certain method is built in a particular fashion all while keeping perfect indentation means so much. It is with you we wish to make proud, so please be vocal when we’ve done so.

Support With..

Technical Problems — As we aspire to grow and push ourselves towards challenging development tasks, we Junior Developers are likely to get in over our head. It’s with this I make a plea to all seasoned developers to please be kind when pulling us newbies out of the water. Pair program with us so we may have the chance to tackle the problem together and take care to fully explain how to better navigate those murky waters next time. Support with technical problems but not doing it for us juniors allow us to grow from these hurdles.

Goals — Each of us have our own goals as we continue down this bumpy road but one goal remains the same for all of us Junior Developers. That one shared goal at it’s core is becoming the best developer we can be.

Paired with that large aspiration are many smaller goals, such as becoming competent in one particular language or practicing more test driven development. As we as developers strive towards these goals, any support in one or all its forms can make the load that much lighter.

Failures — Now this isn’t unique by any means to just green developers. We all have experienced failure in one form or another. Just like the amature carpenter’s journey through woodworking or the aspiring baker’s challenges in trying to bake, there is a process of learning from our failures to allow us to grow from the experience.

This is not always a painless process. Some of us are better at controlling our emotions than others and sadly there is often hurt and disappointment associated with the idea of failing. However it’s important to not view failure this way. Many great entrepreneurs state that failing fast gives you the ability to find out what works and what doesn’t. This gives you the opportunity to pivot forward in the right direction rather continuing down the wrong path.

This means when given support with our failures through reassurance and guidance we can rebound even faster than before.

Patience — Junior Developers go through many stages during their learning process, some more than others. It can be quite the emotional rollercoaster. The bar of emotions can range from charged enthusiasm from successfully tackling a new feature request to savage frustration from a bad commit which resulted in a Git rollback. It’s support with patience from all of you for us learning developers that we need as the tide rushes in or drastically pulls out as we tackle our latest development challenges.

So as this magical season remains in the cold damp air remember, sometimes the best gifts you can give this year don’t always have a price tag attached to them.

May each of you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday!