Advice for Aspiring Developers

March 19, 2022

I recently received a message from someone looking to become a developer, who wanted general advice on the road ahead with no degree. This is what I said.

Everyone is going to have a different path, so I suggest getting your mind right and the rest will follow.

  1. Don’t give up, this stuff is hard. But if you keep coming back you’ll make it far.
  2. Once you find a direction, stick with it and don’t let other people shake you. For example, I am a back-end dev working in Laravel/PHP and if I listened to people who said PHP was a stupid, dead language I’d have switched to another framework and put myself further back relearning things.
  3. Don’t get suck in tutorial hell. It’s easy to watch videos all day and have nothing stick. Make yourself build things and learn to fail. When you hit a wall, do research to find out how to do it, then keep going. Practice is the fastest way to really learn.
  4. Focus on the fundamentals. Read books about Clean Code, SOLID principles, refactoring, OOP/functional programming, design patterns, architecture, etc. Those are the skills that transfer beyond this new framework or that hot new library. The concepts transfer everywhere and will allow you to learn new skills much much faster because you’ll see the patterns underneath.