Three (not so obvious) tips for beginner front end developers

There are three philosophies I adopted quite early on in my FED career, and now, years later, I still find them applicable. These may seem obvious to some, but when mentoring some of the junior devs at work I find myself repeating these sentiments.

First of all, learn to love pseudo code. Scratching down some pseudo code in your trusty notepad (yep… pen and paper, boys and girls!) can make all the difference in maintaining your sanity. Whether you are trying to puzzle out some complex game logic, or simply some hide/show functionality, it really pays to write down what you are trying to achieve in a ‘human language’.

When I click on this link, hide any open menus, and display this menu

You can go as far as to write out your if/else blocks, for loops, etc in the pseudo code. Whatever helps you get the logic flow picked apart and making sense to you.

Once you have your pseudo code written down, the next step is to ‘just make it work’. I know, I know. You want to write perfect code. You want it clean, concise, modular, scalable, blah blah blah. Fantastic! It’s an admirable stance, and if you have the time, definitely what you should be doing. But first… just make it work.

It doesn’t matter how clean your code is. The biggest challenge is to write code that works. If it works, you’ve already figured out your logic and the flow — thanks to your pseudo code, right?! Right!

When your code functions the way you expect and want it to, that is the time to start refactoring and creating your little code nirvana.

My last point is a quick one; don’t be afraid to try it yourself. After helping a colleague with their latest problem, I almost always get a response along the lines of, “I thought it was something like that!”

If you think you know how to do something, try! Do some Google-Fu, check Stackoverflow, and then just give it a crack.

Sixty percent of the time, it works every time. — Brian Fantana

What were/are your tips, tricks, and philosophies when you were starting out? Let me know in the comments!