Letter to the coding newbie

Dear Newbie,

I know you struggle a bit with your new role and how to become a successful professional programmer. I think the best would be if I just told you, already now at start, what you need to know!

Many newbies are worried that they are not smart enough, but this is rarely the problem. What I’ve seen though, is lack of communication and humbleness. So, when you get stuck, don’t wait too long before you ask. Just do it! Asking questions means you’re smart! And even smarter is to ask the one in the team who you suspect might criticize your code later!

One advantage of being a newbie, is that you’re not supposed to know so much. I mean, after all, you’re a newbie! So instead of pretending to know stuff, be curious and try to learn all the time, every day. Being a person who wants to learn, is always appreciated by others. You’ll show the team that you’re genuine and you will learn and become more productive.

If the customer is happy, then I’m happy, you may think. And while this is of course true in one sense, it’s not the whole story. Because almost equally important is being a good team member. If the team agrees about something, you need to comply. Make friends with the team members and if something seems important to them try to work in that direction too. They might know something that you haven’t understood yet. Assume you work with smart people and try not to be the smartest person in the room.

I’m very glad that you’ve chosen this career path and I promise you a lot of great moments! Even if we old dinosaurs seems stressed sometimes, we love your enthusiasm and drive, and to relive memories from the time when we were newbies ourselves!

Yours sincerely,

Christina