As easy as it seems, it is often overlooked. There is a large contrast among developers who can use modern devices and frameworks like React, Vue and Angular on the one hand, and node js developers by heart on the other.
Fundamentals like scopes and closures shouldn’t be a mystery to you. The same goes for garbage collection, prototyping, and syntax.
2. Read quality content
I read – I do not look. There is a reason why scientists and intellectuals are often called bookworms rather than screenworms. A quick glance at the countless low-quality tutorials and videos won’t get you far. More often than not, you don’t even focus when you read or watch them.
“Hell in training courses is when we end up with a sense of little knowledge. And if you dare to write code for yourself, you feel overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start or even what to do.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I strongly think of the popular tool named books. They have been used for millennia and for a reason. I am modern enough to admit that you do not physically need to own the book and there are many (digital) alternatives for reading their content, but that is beyond my point of view. (Hexlet is a good example).
Books are truly a valuable source of information, no matter how you use them. You cannot write a book overnight (take my word for it). This means that the author has put a lot of effort into collecting and recording this information. The same cannot always be said for the content you find online for free.
Another major benefit of reading a book is that it requires complete concentration. When you sit down, open a (physical) book and start reading it, that’s all you do. You cannot read a book and talk to a friend, or play with one of your children at the same time.
Get a good book. Turn off your phone, isolate yourself for a few hours, and read it. And yes, they cost money. But this is an investment. An investment in you as a developer.
3. Become familiar with the different concepts
With that said, please play around with all the popular frameworks. The list seems to change from day to day, but you can’t go wrong by taking a look at React, Vue, Angular, Gatsby, and Next.js, just to name a few.
On a day or evening when nothing is happening, turn on your laptop and create a new project with one of these. They are all well documented and getting started often takes minutes. Play it, write the code. Feel each of them and form an opinion about them, even a superficial one.
I can’t count how many times I’ve interviewed potential new colleagues, and when asked, for example, why they prefer to work with React, for example, they replied: “Because I read that it is the most popular framework today.”
Fair enough. This could be true. Or not. Who knows? But why do you think it’s popular and cool? What features do you like the most versus Vue or Angular features? What’s better than React in Next.js and vice versa?
4. Understand HTML and CSS
Don’t forget that HTML and CSS are the backbone of the web. Building blocks. All you’re looking at are HTML elements with some styling.
5. Respect Senior Developers
I am always surprised when I see young developers who do not respect their colleagues and do not try to listen to them carefully. When you, as a junior, talk to a senior developer, you shouldn’t do anything other than assimilate their input. Listen and learn. After all, you are talking to someone who has been doing your job for years. They were there and they all saw it. And while it can hurt your ego, they have a lot more knowledge and skills than you.
Don’t get me wrong: a good Senior Developer will also listen to people who just got on stage. Everyone can add value – regardless of their age or level of experience. Mentors and peers are a great source of information for aspiring developers. Treat them that way.
6. Be curious, research and acquire knowledge
- Curiosity. If you don’t understand something, do not blindly copy it into your project. Of course this will work and solve the specific problem. But you cannot call this solution part of your repertoire. It’s too easy to copy someone else’s decisions and you won’t go far.
- Look behind the curtains. Why does this solution work? How it works? Can I reproduce this myself next time? Do I have a clear idea of this now? If not, then it’s time to read this book, talk to a senior developer, or search the Internet until you understand everything.
7. Write the code And then write more
We can speak, read or write as many blog posts as we want. At the end of the day, you have to make sure you write code, write code, and write more code.
Auto mechanics don’t become auto mechanics by listening to their teacher. They become experts and good auto mechanics when their hands are dirty and their face is covered in oil and grease as they try to loosen a hard-to-reach bolt. Or something like that – you get me.
I have read and followed many, many tutorials on Node.JS development myself. But I always made sure to write the code while I was doing it. Even if I could copy and paste the provided code, I didn’t. I’ve always written (exactly the same) code myself. Seeing the code is one thing. Literally writing yourself is a completely different matter. Then it becomes a part of you and your repertoire.