Jander Lapmaa is a lead developer for Helmes, acting as a mentor and guiding light for young code enthusiasts. Eight years ago, he started working for Helmes coming straight from IT College. Below, he provides seven recommendations for students who are also planning to ply their trade in the IT field for a number of years.
Pay attention to the basic IT courses, even if they seem boring
In university, I only focused on courses where I could write code. I didn’t really pay attention to courses related to software technology and agile methodology, and pretty soon I felt that I was lacking this kind of knowledge.
When it comes to small projects, the code-writing skill alone is sometimes all you need. However, when you undertake more complex projects, the correct determination of the problems and the coordination of the work of the team are absolutely crucial. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a position where your work is technically flawless but actually pointless for the client.
Take on various hobby projects where you have room to freely make mistakes and practice
All IT-related hobby projects, be it creating games, developing smart home solutions, tuning your own website or something else, provide an excellent opportunity for practicing what you have learned beforehand in theory. When building their own hobby projects, people usually want to create the highest and most refined level of quality. They are willing to contribute their own time and add more functions than essentially required: this is a super-great spot for learning.
Learning by yourself is great. University provides extensive but not focused knowledge
If you learn independently, you generally learn a single focused topic, for example, React. The university, however, gives you a nice wide foundation to build on. When helping a junior tackle a new concept, it is easier when they have the basic knowledge.
On the other hand, independent extra learning is excellent both during school and during off-hours at work. When you start working, you will start using a specific framework or programming language. In this case, passing a respective web-based course helps a lot in order to accelerate your development.
Avoid “I don’t know why it works”
A widely known joke among coders is that someone copied a piece of code from Stack Overflow or changed a plus to a minus and the broken program started to work, but how? You must understand the logic behind your code and the tools and frameworks you use. This increases both your chance of success and your confidence. The best option is to learn from other team members by jointly discussing matters.
When looking to be hired, your attitude matters the most
Even though technical skills are the foundation for success for junior developers, the initiative of the person and their attitude towards work are crucial. When hiring junior developers, in addition to theoretical knowledge, we also focus on whether the person has a passion for coding, how clever they are, and whether they can get things done. Wondering what we mean by this? Click here.
When solving your test task, show your best abilities and diligence
The primary impression of the technical side of hiring comes from the test task. You should pay special attention to functional requirements and earn bonus points if you ask for clarifying questions before you start solving the task. Much too often, a too complex or a technically too simple framework is used for solving the task. As befits an engineer, you should find sufficient complexity for doing your work. Test tasks often contain a number of bugs; therefore, it is important to use both manual and unit testing. In the case of the latter, it will certainly earn you bonus points.
Every single piece of work is the foundation of your career
In order to gain wider possibilities for responsibility and trust, you should first show your level of quality in small pieces of work that can be done either diligently or negligently, with careful consideration or just on the go. Gaining trust does not depend on the decisions of a single day. It is a work in progress. All the best and remain vigilant!
See also: A great place to work and grow