Developer Advice for the Class of 2017

June 13, 2017

Blog | Culture | Developer Advice for the Class of 2017

Dear class of 2017…

We asked our team to share their advice for things they wish they knew when they graduated, here’s what they had to say!

Kevin Varley, Director of Technology Kevin Varley, Director of Technology
“Expose yourself to as many platforms, tools, and languages as you can. An important component of my career path was learning about things that weren’t necessarily applicable to my day-to-day job. I think of amazing developers like Justin who are so passionate and are always trying new tools. Constantly learning about tools, techniques, and approaches outside of your everyday job is very important to your success.”

Jay Oliver, Chief Technology Officer Jay Oliver, Chief Technology Officer
“Debuggers are great tools, but don’t let them become a crutch. If you can’t tell what might be going wrong with your code without stepping through it, what are you going to do when there’s a problem in production that you can’t replicate locally?”
Michelle Heiman, Developer Michelle Banzer, Developer
“In an ever-changing industry, don’t forget the importance of being adaptable. Remember to take into consideration the overall scope and impact of your work. And most importantly, determine what aspects of technology most interest you and drive you, because gravitating to those will not only bring the most fulfillment but also allow you to make the best impact.”
George Jaray, Developer George Jaray, Developer
“Never be afraid of breaking things, breaking things is how you learn how they work. That being said, try not to break things that aren’t backed up in some way. Redundancy is your friend. If something’s already broken that is the best time to break it further to understand how it works.”
Cory Bergquist, Developer Cory Bergquist, Developer
“Deadlines aren’t going to be met. Projects are going to go over budget. Clients are going to get upset. These things are going to happen. The worst thing you can do is keep quiet. Keep an open channel of communication between you, your Project Manager, and your Tech Lead. They will help you work things out!”
John Rappel, Technical Lead John Rappel, Technical Lead
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge – use it. StackOverflow may be good for generic errors and syntax recommendations, but fellow developers are best for strategic discussions and weighing the pro’s and con’s of a decision. You may find that what you learned in school is out-of-date. Developers who have been in the real-world will be more up-to-date on best practices.”
Joe Balsamello, Project Manager Joe Balsamello, Project Manager
“Change happens. Accept it. Embrace it. In a few years you’ll be learning a technology that hasn’t been invented yet. Ask many questions. Align yourself with a broad range of programming languages, tools, technologies and methods. What you learn on one project/technology will come to your benefit on another project/different technology in the future. Learn how to map requirements to your code. Learn how to test your code well. But remember – exhaustive testing is an impossibility.“
Tim Leverett, Developer Tim Leverett, Developer
“No one knows what they’re doing, and everyone is making it up as they go along. If you feel like you don’t belong or that other people are smarter than you, that’s ok! You do belong. They’re not smarter than you, in fact, they are willing to teach you the things you may not know. If, after writing code, you find that you hate what you’ve written, that’s a good sign, that means you are growing. It’s important to ask for help. In my experience the most effective developers are the ones who ask lots of questions. Just because you can figure out a solution on your own doesn’t mean you should spend hours suffering alone in silence. If you’re stuck after a half hour of research, ask if anyone else has run into a similar issue. You’ll be surprised by how many people want to help you. Other developers want to solve problems just as much as you do. This is why so many people will extol the virtue of “good communication skills”. Asking good questions is more important than writing good code.”

Ashley McSweeney

Digital Strategist
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