3 Things I've Learned After 1 Month as Full Time Software Developer

by Joseph Tatum

June 20th, 2020

Hello! I’m Joseph and I work at Kickstand as a full-time software development apprentice. After spending five years as a designer and light coder, I spent 6 months deep-diving into the wondrous world of javascript at Alchemy Code Lab. A few weeks later, I joined the team here at Kickstand. I’ve been a full-time developer for just 30 days and I’ve learned all kinds of new things and lessons. Allow me to share a few of them below:

1. Spend time Exploring the Code

Nearly every project I’ve worked on has been a project that was handed off to me unfinished by another dev. It can be daunting receiving a project with hundreds (if not thousands) of files floating about inside of it. It’s benefitted me to take a few hours to just explore the code and get my mind wrapped around how it all works together rather than jump straight in. If you’re working on a project that is using NPM, just taking a look at what packages are installed can give you a great lens into what to expect from a codebase. If there are tests, even better!

2. Read the Docs & use Youtube to your advantage

One of the projects I’ve been working on is using Gatsby (which is awesome, by the way). I had heard of Gatsby and its wonders, but I’d never actually utilized it for a project myself. I went through some of the Gatsby documentation to get an idea of how things worked and was pretty quickly able to understand how the project was working. When I was later tased with building a blog for Kickstand (the one you’re reading right now) I found a tutorial on YouTube and learned how to utilize the gatsby-node.js file to compile the blog from markdown files when Gatsby is built. The development community is very helpful and the wealth of information freely accessible to those of us who are newer is astounding.

3. Step Away from the Computer (Set an Alarm to do so if it helps)

I’ve had moments where I’ve looked up at my computer’s clock and saw that it had been 3 hours since I went heads down on something. After stepping away for a bit and coming back to whatever I was working on, my brain is clearer and something that I was struggling with may become almost painfully obvious (a good night sleep can do the same thing).

Josh, Wendy, and the team at Kickstand have been super supportive and helpful as I dive headfirst into the development world. Here’s to the next 30 days, the next 30 months, and the next 30 years!

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