From Junior to Lead

Over the last 5 years I graduated university, landed 2 full-time front-end jobs and grew from Junior to Lead engineer.

These are the 6 steps that worked extremely well for me through this journey:

  1. Pick a focus area

In the beginning, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I kept playing around with different programming languages but never really got anywhere.

But that all changed when I discovered front-end development.

I started to double down on HTML, CSS and JavaScript to really master these technologies (rather than be a jack of all trades, master of none).

  1. Learn soft skills

Technical skills are great, but they're not everything. To become a successful developer you also need to be able to:

→ Sell yourself

→ Communicate effectively

→ Create business value

Without those, it doesn't really matter how great your code and technical skills are.

  1. Practice consistently

Whatever you decide to work on or accomplish, consistency is the key. Build habits and systems that makes it easy to:

→ Show up

→ Do good work

→ Repeat

Keep it simple and focus on small wins. Even something like "I'm going to code a small feature for 30 minutes every day" is a great start.

When you build these systems, time is on your side.

  1. Learn how to learn

Whatever you choose to focus on, technology is always changing. That's why being ready to adapt is absolutely key.

By learning how to learn, you prepare yourself for any new tools, frameworks or libraries coming in the future.

  1. Build a portfolio.

When getting started in the field, you won't have experience - so a portfolio is how you show companies what you can do and why they should hire you.

Keep it short and sweet, but make sure it highlights both your technical and soft skills. The portfolio is your chance to stand out of the crowd when applying for jobs.

  1. Don't sell yourself short.

Imposter syndrome is (unfortunately) very common in the programming industry.

But even with just basic skills, you can create something of value. And if a company decides to pay you for it, that means they know that.

I hope these tips are useful and can help you level up your own skills and build a successful career.