21 Things I Wish I Learned Sooner (As A Junior Developer)

I wrote my first line of JavaScript over ten years ago. ‍

While studying for an Aerospace Engineering degree, I had the crazy idea that machines would dominate the world and that programmers would be the ones able to control them.

Plus, any engineer who doesn’t know how to code isn’t really an engineer, in my opinion.

So, as soon as my second year of university, I started learning how to code. It’s been one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s also been a very tough journey. Full of victories as well as disappointments.

In these ten years, I went from a low-skilled, underpaid, self-taught Junior developer to a Senior developer. Looking back, one thing that helped me progress the fastest was learning from software developers who were more experienced than me.

Here are, in no particular order, a few lessons I’ve learned along the way that you can use to fast-track your Developer career to the Senior level (and have a lot more fun in the process).

  1. The fastest way to master a framework or technology is to commit 100% to it. This means not paying attention to the hundreds of shiny objects in your newsfeed and focusing on one thing for a long time. Do it. It will pay off.
  2. Don’t fall in love with frameworks, libraries, or programming languages. They come and go. Don’t fall in love with companies or teams. They come and go. Fall in love with the process. 
  3. Knowing about something is different than knowing something. The job market rewards technical depth. Whatever technology you work with, go deep. Understand not just how to use it, but the principles behind it.
  4. Self-limiting beliefs are the number one reason why developers fail. Most developers think too little about themselves, their potential, and their paychecks. 
  5. If you want to excel, do things most developers are unwilling to do. Write tests and create documentation. Build processes, not just code. Deal with hard stakeholders and do technical interviews. The hardest things will teach you the most.
  6. The best-paying skill you can learn as a developer has nothing with writing code. It's doing and passing technical interviews. It is also one of the hardest skills to learn. You have to be ready to fail a lot. You will get rejected, and you will get ghosted. You will do great interviews and still won’t get an offer. There is a lot of randomness in technical interviews. You can do everything well and still fail. Which is why most developers hate it. Do the opposite. Get good at it. It will pay off.
  7. Companies don’t hire developers to write code. They hire them to solve problems. Most times, those problems involve code, sometimes, they don’t. Whatever problem you are solving, remember that the best code is no code. Code is a liability, not an asset.
  8. Always negotiate your salary. Even if you only have one offer. I spent my first five years of writing code underpaid because I was afraid of negotiating. 
  9. Daily habits are superpowers. From algorithms to writing tests, you will be exponentially better at it if you make it a daily habit. 
  10. Procrastination is a deadly sin. You might think, “Ohh, one bad day doesn’t hurt”. But days become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years very quickly. One day, your whole developer career will be over. Winners don’t postpone. They do it, and they do it now.
  11. Each bad developer is different, but all good developers share the same traits. They have a strong work ethic, a hunger for progress and getting things done, and they are good students. They don’t skip the homework. They don’t cut corners. They don’t try to cheat the game and put in the work. This is still a profession where skill is king.
  12. Don’t underlook small tasks, as they can teach you more than the big ones. Most times I would learn more by writing tests and debugging tinny legacy code, than by writing tons of code for new green field projects. 
  13. Passion keeps you going when discipline is gone, but a great developer career is based on discipline. If you expect to love every single moment of your career, you will be disappointed. There will be times when you won’t like what you do. You will want to do anything else than write code. Ignore those voices. Keep getting the job done. In the long run, steady, consistent progress beats sparks of passion. The best developers I’ve worked with were both passionate and disciplined at the same time.
  14. Keep yourself healthy. I’ve never been happy while I was sick, no matter how successful I was. Eat healthy. Sleep well. Exercise. Quit video games and limit social media.
  15. Your close relationships will do more for your happiness than any sophisticated daily routine. Don’t let consumerism tell you otherwise. Work hard, but make space to enjoy the present moment. Don’t sleep, code, repeat. Get a good taste of life while you move your career forward.
  16. Working hard on the wrong things will not get you very far. Most developers spend way too little time thinking about why you do something before you commit to it. Always have a plan - or at least a goal to aim for. If you don’t know where you are going, it is easy to get confused and derailed.
  17. Solid developer careers are built on solid fundamentals. Don’t build castles on sand. You can know hundreds of shiny libraries and frameworks, but if your fundamentals are weak, you will still doubt yourself and your skills. 
  18. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like the job, switch jobs. If you don’t like the project you are working on, get another one. If you don’t like the framework you are working with, learn another one.
  19. AI writing code is so overrated. People who think AI will replace software developers know very little about software development. Learn how to use it to go faster, but don’t be afraid of it.
  20. Accept no matter how much you code or how many hours you put in, things take time. You can go faster if you push, but there is a limit to how fast you can go. Take a break from time to time. Enjoy the ride.
  21. Be kind to everybody, and be even more kind to Junior Developers. They are already under a lot of self-imposed pressure. Don’t make it harder.

I could go on and write about a hundred of these points. Maybe I will make a second part of this article. For now, I hope this wisdom will help you make even better decisions and reach your developer goals whatever those might be. 

If you want my team and I to mentor you in your software development journey, watch this video and see what we could help you with. 

I will see you in the next one!

Take care,


🚨P.S. Are you looking to fast-track to the Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability? Click here to join our Free Community - The Senior Dev Academy. 🚨

Join The Free Community
A free Community for JavaScript Developers to fast-track from Junior to Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability 🥳
Join The Free Developer Community

Join the Free Community for Ambitious Developers

A free Community for JavaScript Developers to fast-track from Junior to Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability 🥳
Join The Free Developer Community