Published: 24th Oct 2023

Industry Spotlight: How to become a Jnr Developer

Meet George: true's Junior Developer. In this article, George shares her path into the industry along with some great resources and tips for the role.

George Bidder - Junior Developer

This month, we got under the skin of our Jnr Dev, George – who initially fancied a career in fashion before curve balling and making her way into the world of software development.

Meet George

George 2

Here’s a little about how she got into the role and some advice for anyone thinking about joining the industry.

How did you get the role of Junior Dev?

“I initially started at true in 2021 as a Digital Operative but ‘officially’ became a Junior Dev in January this year.

Prior to that, I had worked in marketing, and particularly enjoyed the website and CMS-oriented tasks, making “hacky” type changes – so I started looking for more technical roles. I wasn’t sure if wanted to work in marketing – but came across the role at true, which advertised the opportunity to get into a more technical role. true were looking for someone who was interested in tech with some experience in CMS, and front-end and back-end code.

Once I landed the job, I spent time working as part of the QA team and I got the chance to explore different automated testing frameworks. I also got the chance to try different elements of developer's work and I was allocated three hours a week to learning and exploring code. I was already using tools like Code Academy, and I’ve watch more dotnet tutorial videos than I can count. I was able to take the time to discover other tools and websites that introduced code and sparked my interest.

My line manager, Victoria, also supported me a lot. She’d set me little tasks to do, or I’d set myself mini projects, to learn the basic principles of coding. For example, I built a little weather app, that texted me the weather every day, learnt how to convert Roman numerals into numbers and how to email myself a dog picture. Setting little challenges and working out the solutions is important to build knowledge and see yourself improve.”

What tips would you give to someone who wants to get into coding?

“You don’t need to come from a technical background – but be willing and use your spare time to educate yourself. Attend meet-ups like Codebar and .net South West events. Umbraco also run local meet-up like UmBristol which is a great space to learn about tech.

Spend free time following and learning – there are plenty of self-taught tutorials online so watching these and putting them into practise is a great way to learn skills. Udemy offers paid courses but these are free with a business account”

What do you enjoy about coding?

“You must enjoy a challenge, problem-solving. When you start a project, you don’t always know how you’re going to solve the issue – so it never feels mundane, each challenge is different. There are some instances, of course, where the problem is too difficult, but that’s where Senior Devs can help to figure out methods that may work from experience. There’s always an answer – so at times, it can feel frustrating and stressful, particularly with a deadline approaching, but really rewarding when you crack it."

What makes a “great” Dev?

“A good mindset, someone who is resilient and prepared to keep at the problem and is always willing to learn!

It's not a job you can just pick up and “do”. Play the long game and be patient and committed to learning – the languages, the different methods, it’s what makes the job exciting.”

What does a day-to-day look like?

“I start the day with a task list of what needs to be completed that day/week – for a set project or client. Tasks are set in “sprints” to complete so I plan out what needs to be looked at. Often, there’s one client focus for the day, and I make notes as I go, to work out how I’ll fix things. Trying different ways of making things work to solve a problem and setting mini milestones of how to get things done."

Is there anything else useful that someone considering the role should know?

“Having support from Senior Devs is really important. Umbraco have a great Discord community with a genuine knowledge-sharing culture. I am part of the Umbraco core collaborators team which reviews other people’s code from all over the world and it’s been an amazing way to learn. I would advise anyone thinking about coding to join a community or find someone to pair program with."

A recent trip to Umbraco HQ  

"Being part of the Umbraco core collaborators team gave me the recent opportunity to visit the HQ in Denmark. The involved lots of collaborating, learning and exploring. We spent time getting to know the other teams and had time to work independently on some set tasks." 

Umbraco HQ

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"In my team, our focus was to enhance the contribution experience for anyone interested in contributing to the Umbraco codebase. We had a variety of tasks within the team, ranging from investigating how we handle 'breaking changes' to my task of improving our social media presence. This was somewhat different from my usual day-to-day work, but it proved to be an interesting experience. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet with a member of the Umbraco HQ development team who demonstrated how their issue tracker functions and how they collaborate with the community to identify and resolve issues. 

When we weren't working, we spent time exploring Copenhagen and Odense, we embarked on a boat trip down a canal, and had a party on the Friday evening, during which I discovered my unexpected talent for a game involving hammering nails into wood. Overall, this trip provided a fantastic opportunity to gain deeper insights into Umbraco, and conversing with other Umbraco developers from around the world was a rewarding experience."

George Bidder - Junior Developer