You've finally landed your first job as a professional web developer! All of those hours (and coffee) spent tinkering away at personal projects, painstakingly committing the most granular changes, and trying to hone your skill set has finally paid off. While extremely exciting, the transition from personal to professional work can also be very stressful. Hopefully the following tips can help you out as you embark on the next chapter of your life.
Let's get started!
Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions
No single person on this planet knows everything about web development, so don't feel like you need to be an expert from day one. A common misconception about web development as a profession is that you need to know how to solve every problem at the drop of a hat – no questions asked. In reality, it's more so that you need to be able to learn on the fly.
In my experience, there's no better way to learn than by absorbing the knowledge of the people around you. Not only can they point you in the right direction, they can help you develop a better understanding of the concept or issue at hand and teach you how to get to the solution yourself next time.
Lastly, it's imporant to remember that your peers have stood in your shoes before. Don't be afraid to ask them questions. There was a point in every professional developer's career where they didn't know understand basic HTML or CSS.
It's important to note that you should attempt to solve problems on your own first – after all, that's one of your strongest skills!
Don't Take Your Work Home With You
When it's 5:00, sign off and leave your work at the office. When making the transition from personal to professional work, it's important that you compartmentalize and learn to give yourself some time to decompress. I guarantee that there will be times that you'll leave the office feeling like you've gotten nowhere on a task at hand. Leaving a task incomplete is frustrating, but it's the nature of the beast and something that I am still begrudgingly coming to terms with.
Remember that the work will always be there tomorrow and that approaching a problem with a refreshed and recharged mind can only improve your chances of solving it!
Learn Something New Every Day
You've spent all that time honing your craft, working your way towards becoming a professional, so don't stop doing what got you here. Try to find the lesson in each day.
Keep in mind, you don't necessarily have to learn something new about web development every day. You can learn something about yourself - for example, you may learn new ways to improve your work habits or how to approach different problems with a different mindset, depending on the context.
As long as you learn something everyday, you will find continued growth and success, which will make the transition to being a professional developer that much smoother.
The transition period when adjusting to life as a professional web developer can be stressful. To help ease this transition, you should ask questions when you need to, prevent your work from taking over your life, and try to learn something new every day. Stay positive and keep learning - you were hired for a reason.
Good luck and don't sweat the small stuff!