Advice For A Junior Web Developer

Okay, so I've decided that I'll be finishing my final year of my undergrad degree part time, while working full time, and I've got myself a junior web developer job. They're willing for me to have some time off to finish my degree which is great, but I'm more concerned about getting the job done.

At first I'll be doing mostly just front end web development, and I feel fairly confident with front end web development, however they said that I'll eventually have to help out with a lot of back end stuff, and I am far from confident with back end web development. I mean I can do basic stuff, like allow people to send e-mails through a webpage and stuff.

But I can hardly do anything complex, I can do very basic stuff with MySQL, but if you asked me to make a dynamic website that allows people to sign up. I wouldn’t be able to do anything like make a forum to say the least, I wouldn’t know where to start if I’m perfectly honest.

I'm already fairly confident with front end stuff, as I've said, but they've told me that they'll be needing me for more back end stuff as I work there, including MySQL, Python, ColdFusion, etc. I don’t know if I’ve been looking in all of the wrong places or what, but whenever I try to learn more advanced back end web stuff I struggle to find good learning sources. It probably is just that I’ve been looking in all the wrong places, but as I have such little back end experience, I really wouldn’t know.

Put aside the learning, do you guys have any advice for your first full time position? I’ve never had a full time job, and I’ve only ever done basic/small-ish web development projects, I think I’m just asking for a bit of advice simply because I’m a little nervous. After the interview I had, they said I was their strongest candidate, despite having very little, or next to no actual experience. Long story short we had to make a basic front end website during/after the interview. We had about 5 minutes in total, so we really didn’t have the chance to make anything too fancy.

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Congratulations on landing the job.

If you're working for a decent size agency I wouldn't stress - your role is that of a junior web developer at the beginning of your career.

Other web developers will mentor you and the lead developers, project managers and creative director will keep you on track.

If it's a small company, then just get some experience while you can and then find somewhere better.

I hire full-stack developers with a minimum of 10 years experience. I would never expect a junior web developer to have said experience.

source: One of my companies is a digital agency.

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Pretty much what @thirdmortal said.

For me, I started my job of the back of some crappy VB macros I made to automate my work at my old place. So I had no experience in web development. I was mentored by a senior dev and then left to my own devices.

I couldn't do a basic select statement in SQL and now I'm able to take a spec and make what's requested. It may be ugly but it works.

Just speak up when you feel overloaded or if the tasks given are out of your skill set. I doubt your employer would want you to burn out due to overwork/stress.

Try and see if you can pull a code repo or two and spin it up a vm and have a play about try to break it. How I picked up most of my knowledge.

I've now been doing this 5 years. I'm twice the dev now that I was a year ago and half the dev now I thought I was a year ago. Of course you're not a strong Jr. back end dev, that would make you some sort of strange alien beast, I hardly know any long term devs who really have good fundamentals down. The important thing right now is to soak it all in and pay attention, and try to keep your mentors from banging their heads too hard on things trying to help you :P. Communicate, read books (I know, I hate that, but my lead dev is always harping on that).

My advice to you is to just get some practical experience and not worry about it too much. I don't entirely agree with @JoxWar since I think you've been reading plenty already based on previous questions which you've asked on these forums. Backend development isn't hard - its just different, imho. So just give it some time.

@thirdmortal, @Randomio, @JoxWar, @aghost7... Guys I've already posted this response on another thread I've made, but I thought I'd post it here too anyway:

This is a totally unrelated topic, but I've ran into a silly bug, I'm rusty with javascript right now, I used to be okay for a beginner, but I've lost that level of skill already.

Anyway, I've written some code, it works on JSFiddle, but when I try to run it on my website, it doesn't work, any idea why?

So here's the basic HTML:

<div id="results">
    <p>Product 1 : £300.00</p>
    <p>Product 2 : £35.99</p>
    <p>Product 3 : £56.98</p>

Here's the simple loop that I'm trying to run:

var arr =  document.getElementById('results').getElementsByTagName("*");
var total = 0;

for(var i =0, len = arr.length; i<len; i++){
    var str = arr[i].innerHTML;
    var n = str.match(/\£(\d+(\.\d{1,2}))/);
    total += parseFloat(n[1]);

console.log("Total: " + total);

Like I said, it works on JSFiddle, but when I run it live, nope... Good thing I'm just messing around with some code right now... When I run it live, n = null... Any idea what I'm doing wrong? ...

I guess there's no need for the str value too, but I just have it there because I find that it makes the code a little more readable.

Link to the JSFiddle page:

5/7 on the items on that list compile into javascript, so I could hardly count them as alternatives.

what are the other two? html and css? :stuck_out_tongue:

I know a LOT of alternatives to using JS, BUT, if you look into WHY most developers use JS instead of alternatives, it makes sense to just use JS.

Plus my JS skills have come on leaps and bounds since I started my job. I f$!cking love jQuery, whenever I get the chance to use AJAX and animation(s), I take full advantage every time!

I’ve even become confident with SQL, when I started, I didn’t have enough of a clue to do anything amazing… Full stack ftw!

Wow, a sensible employer! There is still hope! You may not, but I’ve heard people where I work during retirement parties expect the subject’s successor to know everything and possess the experience.

This ain’t the Matrix. Tank can’t just upload the knowledge to your brain!

Does your school offer any classes in back-end web development? If not, then their program is lacking.

I’m not really in school anymore, I’m employed full time now. But either way, no, when I was in university, it was 110% theory, very little practical was actually done.

Anything back end I’ve had to learn myself, that was a bit of a leap and a half… Everything from session variables to SQL stuff, that was all new to me…

It’s insane to think about how much I’ve improved in a matter of a few months though, thank god for stack overflow.

Oh, I thought you said you were finishing your last year part-time. If it’s that much theory, then they didn’t properly prepare you for the real world™, but a lot of undergrad programs are like that in many fields. Unfortunately, students only learn this after the fact. The college has your money, and you’re stuck in a field unrelated to your studies and most likely, severely underpaid too.

You are extremely lucky if you avoided both of these fates. Theory is important, but there’s got to be some application of that theory too involved in one’s education.

Oh I know that, insanely lucky! I feel happy that I’ve also learned more in the short space of time where I’ve been working full time. I’ve learned more from working in the field, than what I have done over the years of my academic studies, that is a fact. I won’t lie, I knew the basics of SQL, but if you asked me to write one hell of an advanced query, one that uses all kinda joins, sub-queries, etc and still executes in under 0.5s, I wouldn’t have known where the hell to start. Now, I feel confident enough to be able to write queries on the back-end that saves me having to do loops and more but smaller queries. I really didn’t have a clue before I started my job, I mean I work for an eCommerce company, so trying to write the likes of counter pages, that was one hell of a leap for me. Let alone doing searching algorithms, or anything fancy like a tonne of back end interaction through ajax calls.

Turns out, I’m so good with AJAX and JSON that whenever my boss has a job that he wants done in AJAX, I’m the go to guy. I think a big part of it is down to the fact that I animate transitions between ajax calls too. I know AJAX and JSON, neither of them are hard or complex to master, but they’re always nice to play around with. Plus it makes for a more enjoyable UX IMO.

Sorry, I am, however I’ll be in uni 1 day a week, and working the other 4 days, I had a chat with my employer and they’ve even said because I’m doing such a good job, I’m free to take extra time off if necessary.

Be careful, when you become to the “go to” that tends to be all you ever do. Make sure you get to try new things too.

…You bastard!

Congratulations…make sure they don’t start treating you like dirt after you’ve graduated.

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I keep trying to get dev work but get turned down. So all I can get is IT experience. Oh well. Hoping things will change once I get my Bachelors.

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Maybe, Maybe not.
The industry has been over-saturated in the last ten years or so and is extremely hard to get your foot in the door if you’re from any decent sized city.

If you can’t find work, just do a bootcamp with either Bloc, Hack Reactor or Maker Square. They will get you a job earning at least 100K a year.

You’re welcome.

edit: It seems Bloc doesn’t exist now, and Maker Square has merged with Hack Reactor.
Still, Hack Reactor will get you a job if you really can’t find anything.


Thanks for the advice. Hopefully with a BS and a bootcamp under my belt I’ll have a fighting chance.

Bootcamps like Hack Reactor have 95%+ placement rates worldwide.

So you could defer from Uni, do a bootcamp, and land a well paying job, then get your new employer to pay your Uni fees and finish your degree.

Well I’m already in my fall semester of online school so before I jump on that ship I’m going to finish what I started so far.

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That response made me giggle, as for being the go to guy for a lot of the work everyone comes to me for… I’d be happy with that, I can only assume that due to be enjoying it all so much, that may be why I excel at it. Turns out I’m awesome with jquery, I’m begging to find pretty common applications that I’d have a hard time developing. I might give myself a challenge and a half when it comes to JS and jquery, i may just give NodeJS a go, started learning it the other day, so far I’ve found it easy enough… But I’ve hardly done anything complex with NodeJS…

I’ve started to even create my own theories with front end development, LIKE when it’s acceptable to use the HTML attribute ‘on click’… An example being where you may have a shait load of ajax calls and other complex functions which totally changes the structure of the page… I mean yes, there are ways around using on click in jquery and java script, but when you’re dealing with hundreds of functions, a lot that use multiple ajax calls, etc, it’s just easier, it’s neater, it’s probably quicker too as it’s less actual jquery or java script to run… And for people who have to maintain that code or expand on it, once or if I leave that role, it’s just better all round…

I do try my best to not use the html on click attribute when possible, but today I found a case where it’s just so much better to just use it than not… I mean the application I’m working on at the moment, it’s bloody complex as hell, both backend and front end, turns out I’ve hit a brick wall with SQL too…

I need to write a query that will generate a temp table for each refinement that’s been selected. The structure of the database where I work is a bit messy, that’s not down to us current developers, but the developers before us… I mean the previous developers were awful, HTML tables for everything, just a total nightmare, apparently they were so bad, they’d crash our SQL servers like 6 times a day, everyday when writing advanced queries… Pretty fun and embarrassing at the same time… Even when I first started, not even I was that bad… :joy:

But as for the query I need to write, like I said, I have to generate a temp table for every refinement, then for every temp table generated, inner join them onto another table on certain keys… It’s disgusting… But there’s not many other ways around it as far as I’m aware… It sounds disgusting to do, but if that’s the only way, then so be it… Turns out you can’t just use one table and use the refinements on the one table, and use a and clause for each refinement, because of how screwed up the database is…

I’ll have to share one of the queries I’ve recently written, just to give you an idea of my SQL skills… I don’t think I’m too bad now, when I first started, I was just God awful, no doubt about it… :joy:

I’ll also share some of my front end snippets sometime if you like too, just straight forward and quirky functions, plenty of animation too… I love me some animations…