If you're studying to become a professional developer, you might be wondering what a junior developer does on the job.
In this article, I will talk about the typical day of a junior developer and what to expect on the job.
The Onboarding Process
When you get started with a new company, you will go through what is considered the onboarding process. This is a term that refers to the process of getting introduced to the company.
You will first go through a period of filling out important paperwork for the company. This will include stuff like payroll information needed for the HR department.
You will also start to gain access to some of the company's project codebase, staff calendar, meetings, and staff chat room.
Before you get started with your first day, you will probably be receiving tons of emails. It is really important that you get your company email setup and check it periodically throughout the day to setup everything you need to.
In the first few days on the job, you will have a few meetings to get you introduced to your manager, your team, as well as an overview of the company and its expectations.
It is completely normal to be overwhelmed with the sheer volume of new information. Try to take notes during the meetings and ask questions.
Tips for Getting Set Up with the Project
You might be overwhelmed when you try to setup the codebase for the first time or you might not understand all of the code in it. It is important to remember that your company is not expecting to learn everything about the codebase during your first week.
They understand that it will take some time before you get used to where everything is and how things works. Take your time studying the codebase and ask questions about things you don't understand.
Also, if you have trouble getting set up with the project, make sure to reach out to a team member. If the setup process is not documented that well, this could be a good opportunity for you to update the documentation so future developers will have a smoother onboarding process.
What are Tickets and Project Boards?
Project boards are used so teams know the current status of a project and understand what work still needs to be completed. These boards will have what are called tickets which represent tasks in various stages of completion for the project.
This is an example of what a project board might look like. Here is an example from one of my personal projects.
Developers will assign themselves to a ticket listed on the board and read through the requirements.
Some of these tickets might be small bug fixes for an existing project. Or you might be asked to build out a new page or component for the site.
When you are finished working on the ticket, you will submit a PR (pull request) and ask for a code review. Once your code has been reviewed and approved, then it will be pushed into production.
If you have any clarifying questions about the ticket's requirements, just reach out to your project manager.
What are Code Reviews?
The code review process involves another developer looking over your code and submitting their comments for improvement. These code reviews will help catch small bugs, code inconsistencies, and improve code quality.
It is important not to take code reviews personally. Remember that your team is there to help you and offer constructive criticism.
As a junior developer on your first job, you might not be used to having other people looking at your code. You also might not be aware of the current best practices in building large scale production level apps.
Code reviews can be a great learning opportunity for you and help you become a more mature developer.
What is the Role of a Manager?
Engineering managers hold several responsibilities, including being involved with the planning, and coordination of projects as well as supervising engineering teams.
These are individuals that have years of software experience and have to balance project management with people management.
Here are are some core day to day activities for engineering managers:
- Being involved with daily standup meetings
- Meetings with other managers, clients, and stakeholders
- One-on-one meetings with engineers
- Might participate in some code reviews or coding
I believe that a good manager is someone who can effectively communicate with the team and is a good problem solver when issues arise. They are also responsible for providing feedback to their engineers on what they are doing well and areas of improvement.
What are Standup Meetings?
Standup meetings are when the entire team meets up and each member shares the work they did, the work that still needs to be done, and anything that is blocking them from moving forward.
It is really important that if you are stuck with something or blocked that you bring it up with the team. As a new member of the team, especially as a junior, make sure to ask for help if you can't proceed with the project.
Remember that your team is there to help you and you shouldn't feel ashamed to ask for help.
What to Expect from the Company's Group Chat
A lot of companies will have a designated chat server or group where teammates can connect with each other throughout the day. My company uses Slack and has a variety of channels for specific projects, software topics, and miscellaneous non-tech conversations.
I believe a healthy company culture will not expect you to be available for every single second on the group chat. It is ok if someone messages you and you don't respond back right away because you were busy with something else.
But it's typically not alright to go completely silent throughout the whole day where no one can get a hold of you. If you are working virtually as a junior developer, communication is really important.
It is up to you on how involved you want to be in the company chat. But I would suggest checking in once in a while throughout the day just so you remain up to date on what is going on with your team and the project.
Your first few weeks working as a junior can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that your company understands that you are still new to the industry and have a lot to learn.
Just try to take it one day at a time and learn as much as you can. Ask questions on what you don't understand and ask for help if you are stuck on an issue.
Make sure to try solving the issue on your own first by reading documentation and other articles before reaching out for help. Also do the best you can communicating exactly what the issue is with a lot of detail so others can best help you.
Try to learn from your co-workers because they have different levels of expertise and experience.
And most importantly, be easy on yourself. It will take awhile before you will get comfortable with the codebase and the workflow requirements.
I hope this article helped you understand what to expect working as a junior developer! Best of luck on your developer journey.