What is your advice to new developers who want to increase their skill?

The field of web development is growing rapidly and a lot of people are trying to acquire these skills.What you you say to help them navigate the terrain?

  • What advice did you wish you had?
  • What mistakes do you feel you made?
  • Would you have done anything differently?

The new members of the community would like some advice from some professionals so share your best tips!

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Hooo boy, I got thoughts on this :slight_smile:

This is a mix of advice I wish I had, and advice I’d prescribe:

  • Learn to tell when you’re stuck and need a break. Banging your head on the desk for hours instead of walking away (or going to sleep for the night) never yields a better result than coming back to the problem with a fresh mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but try to solve the problem on your own first.
  • Rubber ducking is real. Embrace it.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Stay hydrated. Get enough sleep. A car will break down if you don’t take care of it; your body and mind are no different.
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Doesn’t matter what stage of the game you’re at. There’s always someone out there that knows more about something than you do. Don’t get defensive when someone shows you a better (or just different) way of solving a problem. Listen to them, learn from them, and improve yourself.
  • Don’t think of yourself as a PHP/JavaScript/Ruby/Python developer. Don’t apply a limiting title like that. Think of yourself as someone that solves problems using code.
  • Languages and frameworks come and go. Learn enough of the fundamentals so that you’re not gonna be obsolete when $X dies and $Y is the new hotness.
  • Speaking of fundamentals, it’s perfectly OK to start with frameworks. The most important thing is to learn and do it in a way that you enjoy. If that means using a framework to get something working instead of doing it the Hard Way, then so be it. Nothing wrong with that.
  • You’re gonna encounter assholes and gatekeepers in this field. Don’t listen to them, and don’t let them stand in the way of your progress.
  • You’re gonna have good bosses, bad bosses, and everything in between. Learn from all of them. Learn to emulate good behaviors, and avoid bad ones. Trust your gut if an employer/client/coworker is sending red flags.
  • Nothing is done in a vacuum. People skills are just as important as coding skills. Learn how to listen, how to collaborate, and how to resolve conflicts.

I’m constantly beating the drum of “blog more” because I think that the idea of learning in public is a huge lever that we can pull to gain a competitive advantage.

We are all spending so much time learning, researching, discovering, experimenting, playing, etc and the more we can communicate those efforts the less we have to prove what we know and the more we can simply show what we’ve built, how we communicate, and our willingness to help and share with others.


Really great advice here! I’m glad you’re shared from your experiences and gave some real world tips! Thank you.

To echo what @joel said, I think one the greatest ways I’ve found I’ve increased my skills in certain areas has been when I’ve needed to teach something to others. I’ve certainly struggled with imposter syndrome over the years as I bet the large majority of us have. So initially putting myself out in front of others to teach them something spurred in me the greatest motivation to make sure I knew what I was talking about before I passed on that information to others. And as I get more into the space of teaching and sharing what I learn with others the more I see folks who are just like me, just another dev trying to learn more and sharing along the way. You don’t have to know everything before you can start to share what it is you have learned so far about something and there’s something about that learning-and-then-sharing-it process that helps you learn it and retain it better.

So I’d suggest find some medium to share what you’re learning that works for you. If you’re not ready to blog yet or that feels too time intensive maybe start small and local and go from there. Do you have a chat app where you work? Share what you learned with your coworkers there. Maybe organize a “lunch and learn” or “brown bag meeting” (whatever you call it) where you can show something you’ve learned to your coworkers. Maybe try a local meetup group and share something there. Maybe share on twitter. Bit by bit work up that comfort level of saying “I’m no expert but here’s this cool thing I just learned, let me show you” and work to broaden your scope. Now you’re learning more AND you’re helping others as you go.


Very good advice thank you for sharing! I agree teaching something really makes you question if you really know something and motivates you to learn it even more!

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The one piece of advice that I’ll never forget is from my first year Software Engineering Uni lecturer:

“If you’re stuck in a rut, go out dancing. Come back tomorrow and you’ll fix it.”

I’ve experimented with this advice often over the years and the conclusion to my research is that dancing is substitutable with just about anything that takes you away from the keyboard. :slight_smile: