Iris Classon
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Stupid Question 66: What one piece of advice would you give first year developers?

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

What on piece of advice would you give newcomers?

Today I’m doing a session at a private university for java developers. I’m very excited about this! The students are on their first year, and many are like I was a year ago, completely new to the world of programming. I’ve been told some of them are a bit dishearten, as we all get from time to time, and some feel like they don’t understand anything and things feels miserable and hopeless. I sure hope I can give some energy and inspiration, and I am looking forward to learn things from them and I am very thankful they are having me. Before I go there today, I thought it would be great to ask the wonderful community out there, what one piece of advice would you give newcomers?

Write your position, and if you don’t mind your name being public, your name as well.

Here is my number one advice:

Don’t panic!

  • Iris Classon, developer 15 months :)

    Comments

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    Oblomov
    10/25/2012 7:20:43 PM
    Remember that you're not really coding for the computer. You're coding for the next person who has to maintain the code. This could be you next month or someone else entirely next year. So code, just like human language, has to be comprehensible. As with spoken or written English, it's easy to vomit reams of poorly organized thought. Simple, easily understood language takes hard work. But if you ever have to look at that code again, you'll thank yourself later. 
    Omar Gonzalez
    10/24/2012 11:03:32 PM
    This sounds silly, but you should learn how to read documentation for the language you're learning. Programmers are in a constant state of learning the latest and greatest updates to the technologies that they have to employ to perform the work they must do everyday. We spend more time reading code than writing code, as well as reading documentation for different libraries. Becoming familiar with language reference documentation will help you to find your way around a language and its API library. The sooner you become intimately familiar with the documentation and how to read it the easier it will be to learn new and different parts of your chosen language. But most of all, be patient in the process, it gets much easier with time and experience. 
    Dan Wahlin
    10/24/2012 11:03:37 PM
    Things often seem harder than they really are. I've been in this business for 15+ years now and still get intimidated from time to time by some new technologies. In nearly every case things always seemed harder than they really are though. After a little practice I almost always look back and wonder why I felt intimidated at all by a given technology. 
    Tormod Haugen
    10/24/2012 11:04:49 PM
    Making mistakes and not understanding means you are learning something new. Don't be sad or ashamed of the fact that you are learning. If you share your mistakes that will probably help someone else avoid them, and probably help them help you see ways to solve it. I hope you are still making mistakes, and correcting them, in one, five and ten more years. 
    Eimantas
    10/24/2012 11:18:58 PM
    If you think that after the first year in development you are not "new to the programming world" you have another thing coming .]
    
    My advice would be - don't choose the easy way. Look for the right one. 
    Justin Yorke
    10/24/2012 11:45:29 PM
    Not necessarily encouraging pieces of advice, but 2 things I wish I'd learned in school:
    
    Software engineering is much more than just programming.
    
    Software engineering is both easier and harder than you think it is. One of the hardest parts is recognizing the difference between the two. 
    Joakim Rosendahl
    10/24/2012 11:48:15 PM
    Take your time and understand the basics, it will pay off in the long run. Know the difference between common data structures and algorithms. Frameworks is a "flavor of the month"-kind of thing. Learn, unlearn and relearn, don't be a zealot =D. If you really into programming, try learning a new language each year. 
    
    Joakim "Kimmen" Rosendahl - Studied Computer Science, working as a .net consultant in Stockholm. 
    Andreas Paulsson
    10/25/2012 12:11:11 AM
    Never be afraid to ask! 
    James Curran
    10/25/2012 12:26:36 AM
    The top advise I've been giving starting developers for the past 20 years:  Learn how to type.   The greatest crimes in programming are committed by those trying to save a couple keystrokes. 
    huitseeker
    10/25/2012 12:28:31 AM
    Actually, Microsoft wrote a paper about it:
    https://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/abegel/papers/sigcse-begel-2008.pdf 
    Anders Holmström
    10/25/2012 1:21:12 AM
    Don't get locked into thinking a single programming language is the answer to everything. Don't become a zealot. Be open-minded and don't listen to anyone who tells you that language X is better than language Y. 
    Vladimir Marinkovic
    10/25/2012 2:24:59 AM
    If you don't understand something, ask questions! 
    There is always someone who knows the answer. Don't see that as a failure, but as an opportunity. And keep in mind that all of them were also in your shoes once upon a time. 
    David Corbett
    10/25/2012 4:36:55 AM
    My advice
    Don't forget you will also be working with people: Learning from them, teaching them, working with them, working for them, taking instructions, communicating, working in teams, motivating others and being motivated by others, occasionally getting annoyed by some and also getting enthused by some.
    
    So, try to develop your people skills as well as the technical ones - they are just as important and maybe even more so. 
    Jon
    10/25/2012 9:23:21 AM
    I'm new to developing but after university (all in Java). I'd say learn the fundamentals, not the syntax. Learn concepts meaning, and how they work, don't worry about the language, once you have the concepts down, you can pick up most languages!
    
    And always to become proficient in a specific language you need to code in that language! 
    Mike Wills
    10/25/2012 9:36:02 AM
    Use StackOverflow! Don't just ask questions on there, but take the time to research and answer questions. You learn a lot more that way. Plus you have built-in feedback! 
    Tracy Sells
    10/26/2012 6:13:20 PM
    It's funny I just did a blog post on this very topic a few weeks ago.  And the best part - you were referenced in it.  :)
    
    http://tsells.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/advice-to-new-developers/ 
    Iris Classon
    10/27/2012 3:51:51 AM
    Reply to: Tracy Sells
    Hi Tracy! Yeah, that's right- I remember that! I referenced to your blog in the new entry, that is some great advice, and thank you for referencing me :D :D :D
    
    I needed some multiple advice from different devs for the session, I'm still collecting so I hope to get more advice :D
    
    here is the new blog post: http://www.irisclasson.com/2012/10/25/stupid-question-67-what-was-the-advice-given-to-first-year-developers/ 

Last modified on 2012-10-24