Common Bad Habits Seen by Seniors
Drop your advice, comments, or experiences as a senior below! Doesn't matter how messy it looks - we'll clean it up 🧹
Running Before You Can Walk
"I've seen a lot of juniors throw in the towel prematurely. Software development can be painstakingly slow. Patience and perseverance are non-negotiable virtues on the path to becoming a good software developer. You can't rush the process."
Not Asking Enough "Dumb" Questions
"Why so quiet? Be unashamedly inquisitive. Ask questions even if you think they make you sound stupid. It's the only way you're going to build good analytical skills. And you can't be a good developer without good analytical skills. So ask any and all "dumb" questions."
Not Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"If someone has helped you get to the bottom of something, always acknowledge and thank them. Don't forget. This is all the more important when you work in a larger software team. If you get into the habit of taking without giving back, the teamwork and work environment suffer."
Resting on Your Laurels
"I see this a lot. Junior developers get to a level of skill they're comfortable with and slowly make less effort to learn and upskill as time goes on. As a developer—junior or senior—there's always more to learn and so you should make an effort to pick up something new and useful whenever there's an opportunity to do so. If you don't, your path to incremental success gradually diminishes. Of course, it's impossible to keep up with everything. Tech stacks come and go. But it's not impossible to maintain the urge to learn and know more."
Being Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty
"I've seen junior developers scared to take on bigger projects or tinker and fiddle with existing code; they'd rather build something they know they're comfortable with or modify something familiar. Juniors need to be willing to write and fix code—even if it scares them."
Pushing Spaghetti Code
"Think clean; write clean code. As a junior with tight deadlines, it's so easy to get in the habit of writing messy, convoluted code because it 'works'—but it's simply not maintainable in the long-run. Creating a program that breaks after a few months is costly and frustrating for you and everyone else involved in the project. Writing clean is a skill that you need to hone early in your career."
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
"This adage holds especially true for software development. Juniors sometimes write code they can't explain which means they struggle to convince others if its value. If you can't explain the logic of your code to a non-technical person using pictures, diagrams, flow charts, or swim lanes then your job is half-done. Highly maintainable software is that which can be understood from both the inside and the outside."
"Soft Skills? Why Do I Need to Work on Those?"
"Soft skills aren't "optional" as a developer so work on them as much as you do your technical skills. If you can't connect with the other humans in your team and communicate appropriately, then your software skills ultimately won't be able to be put to proper use."
Only Solving Coding Problems
"I wish they called junior software developers 'junior problem solvers' because that's really what they are: they're at the beginning of their careers as problem solvers. Perhaps if they were called that they wouldn't restrict their problem-solving skills to the code. Problem-solving extends to almost every other aspect of our lives. As a developer, you can't just solve the problems on your screen. You need to train yourself to observe real-world, non-coding problems and try to find solutions to them. Problem-solving skills need to be exercised as often as possible. Adapting your mind to solving problems is part of what defines you as a software developer. So solve away!"
"Juniors need to start setting boundaries for themselves at the beginning of their careers. The lesson that a life exists beyond writing lines of code can't be learned soon enough. Learn to switch off from your work life and value your personal life early before you get to a point where you're burned out and can't enjoy either."