Growing as a developer

lavet3

Lavet is an amazing and passionate programmer who desires to continuously improve her skills. We’ll let you see how she puts it in words :)

My name is Lavet Adhiambo, I’m a technology enthusiast and web developer. Programming has never been my thing, well at least not until early last year when I joined Akirachix. Since then, I have been trying new things to keep me away from my comfort zone. I am not an expert. I still consider myself a beginner as I am always learning everyday.

My friends and I are currently working on a project called Egeza pal. Egeza pal will enable motorists to find parking slots easily in malls thus saving them time, money and fuel.

Since starting out as a programmer there are a couple of key things I learned and discovered that I figure may be helpful to others walking down this path:

1. Attend Meet-Ups

As a newbie you would want to know what people are doing out there, go to as many meet-ups and tech events as you can. Of course don’t just go to every tech meet-up, go to those that you think are relevant to the road you want to take. Do not forget to be ACTIVE!

2. Keep Up with the latest

Try to keep up with the new technologies, read tech blogs and follow tech platforms.You will be able to know which technologies are taking over the world and these will help you a lot especially when you are still trying to figure out what you want to do plus you will also get to fit into some ‘geeky convos :)’

3. Open Source Contribution

Look for open source projects that you can contribute to, There are so many open source projects and you do not have to choose something complex just take a simple project. Contributing to open source projects is very important you will learn a lot of things and very quickly e.g working in a team. You will also get to network with people and learn from them.

Something that you should understand is that you do not have to write code in an open source project for you to be considered as a contributor, just giving a comment of what you think should be improved or what you think is great qualifies you to be a contributor.

4. Showcase

Show the world what you are doing, even if it’s a small project just talk to people let them know what you are working on get feedback from them, this will help you to understand where you are going wrong and you will be able to adjust quickly and move on

5. Focus

Do not learn every programming language you come across. Yes you will meet people who seem to know everything but don’t be tempted. Pick one or two languages then be very good at what you are doing.

6. Mentorship

Look for mentors, people you can look up to, people that will make you stay out of your comfort zone, people that will always be checking your progress. It doesn’t have to be someone from the tech space, but I usually advise that pick someone from your own field. If you are comfortable with someone else then by all means make that person your mentor as long as she/he is supportive :).

7. Keep pushing

Do not give up, Yes it’s going to be very hard especially if you are not a genius like me (haha just kidding) but don’t make giving up an option. If you are stuck on something you can always Google. There are some good platforms like stack overflow and quora that will help you a lot. When Google does not have an answer, find someone that you can go and ask for help, again this goes down to your networking skills.

8. Resources

Look for good materials to study, No one will tell you this especially if you are in school. It is up to you to choose what material works for you. If you are a visual person then videos will be awesome. There are platforms like Udacity and Udemy that have really good tutorials, if you love reading things like me then scotch.io is where you should go(trust me you will thank me later). If you want to get your hands dirty and code then go to Codewars its very awesome and challenging.

9. Grow

When you feel like you are now comfortable with what you are doing look for a job with the small projects that you have done(this means that you should have a place where you store your projects like Github and Bitbucket). I would also advise that you look for a job in a startup because you will get to build things from scratch rather than maintaining things that have already been built, remember that at this stage money is not the priority but experience and gaining skills.

Know that it’s never that serious, have fun when you are coding. People might seem to be extremely good, but they don’t know everything. That’s the beauty of this field everyone is a BEGINNER.

To see what Lavet’s building, you can visit her GitHub

lavet2

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