June 25, 2015

Junior Developer How-to: Get a Place on Big Projects


Ever wondered how many years have to pass before you can make your way onto the big teams and projects?

It is up to you and only you!

Here are some hints to help you get onto larger projects.

Each person is one of a kind and so is the programmers’ way of developing code. The desire to deliver working code in a short timeframe does not mean that it is of good quality. The important thing is to understand that if you want to step up to higher levels you should adhere to the style of the project’s code. Review what others wrote and compare.

Code conventions and Refactoring – sounds familiar?

There are 4 important things you should know and never forget through your professional career as developer:

  • Write your code like you are showing your new phone to your friends;
  • Stick to the code conventions;
  • Refactor your code;
  • Finally – always use English, it is the international standard.

At first sight you might consider these rules as boring, but they will make your life much easier. The first thing you should look at is the way you name code elements. For example, the practice of naming classes is to use PascalCase and for methods and variables – camelCase. The first one is with two capital letters and other is with one small and one capital letter. According to one hypothesis this convention has become the most used by programmers after C programmers simply found it more convenient than the snake case (ex. “the_snake_case”). Also avoid putting abbreviations except well-known ones (like HTML). Conventions will help you deliver reusable code, well named and perfectly structured, which will help towards your easy integration in a big project.

“The code works, so where is the problem?”

You want to gain the seat in the project? So get off your hands and don’t save couple of minutes – rework your code and show professionalism. When you repeat these steps for weeks and even months you will be proud of your work and have the confidence to work on tougher tasks.

Another part of code conventions is the documentation of code.

“Real programmers don’t comment their code – if it was hard to write it should be hard to read.”

It is highly valuable to document your code WHILE you are writing it in order not to forget critical comments. Make sure not to cross the line – write effective comments and avoid adding them before every line. A good tool in Eclipse is JavaDoc which generates automatically several lines of comments after you write only “/**”. This makes the code more readable and of course, if you need some other comments you can add them.

Is there anything else?

The last thing to do is refactor your code. The process of refactoring is about restructuring the written code. It is important that these changes do not change what the code does, i.e. business logic.

The main advantage from doing this is the easy maintenance and scalability of your code. If you have these characteristics you will then be ready to become the junior star in the project team. Refactoring code means that you do not duplicate code or use “magic” numbers, extract method and always think a step forward. Group your data – for example, if you have a point in the 3D space (which have coordinates x,y,z) it is easy, but if you have 10 points and each of them has these 3 coordinates, it gets complicated, don’t you think so?

The solution:

Save them in 1 object and when needed call the object and use these coordinates. Another good skill is to group similar tasks and method in a class. Let’s see, if you have a method to calculate the perimeter of triangle and another to calculate the area you can put them in a class called Triangle. Then you can do the same for rectangle – and both you can put in class called Geometry figures. And again Eclipse can do this work for us – there is a command “Refactor” which can make most of the best practices we have shared with you above.