The majority of programmers start their professional coding careers from Junior developer positions, which are meant for beginners with solid knowledge of the required programming language and related technologies whose practical work experience is absent or limited. Traditionally (in the tech industry), developers are divided into four gradations based on their qualification levels: Junior, Middle, Senior, and Team Lead. Or five, if you include coding Interns as the lowest-ranked “soldiers” of the software development industry. But these gradations are quite conditional and open to interpretations depending on the company or the country. That’s why we decided to paint a picture of what it’s like to be an average Junior/Middle/Senior developer, so you could clearly (as much as it is possible) understand what to expect, and how things are normally done in the industry these days. Naturally, we are going to start with the Junior developer position.
Who is a Junior Developer?Not to state the obvious, but Junior Developer normally is an inexperienced coder who still needs to learn many things about this profession, the way things are done in modern-day software development in general, and in the particular team/company the Junior is a part of. Going through the whole product development cycle at least several times is another important practical experience that any Junior still needs to obtain. When it comes to the specific work duties and tasks, Junior developers normally are the ones who will do relatively simple code writing, with the result being reviewed by senior team members, and deal with other mundane tasks, trying to get as much practical experience as possible. One thing that is worth mentioning, though. This is the way Junior developers are normally positioned in the developers team, but the perception of a Junior developer position can differ a lot depending on the company, the market, the industry, and the goals of the business. Despite the fact that a Junior coder should be a beginner-focused on learning and getting experience, it is not uncommon for many companies these days to have pretty serious requirements for a Junior position candidate. In some cases, the list of requirements may look like a solid knowledge stack even for a Middle or a Senior developer. The level of tasks the Junior developer is getting should be one of the main requirements. They should be relatively simple and basic, with senior team members reviewing the work of the junior and providing feedback. Companies that hire people as Junior devs, compensating them accordingly, but actually using them (or selling to a client, when we are talking about outsourcing companies) as Middle or even Senior devs are the ones to stay away from.
What are the responsibilities of a Junior Developer?Let’s talk in more detail about some of the most typical and specific responsibilities of a Junior Developer, just so you would have a clearer picture.
- Writing and maintaining the code.
- Analyzing the technical requirements of the project.
- Fixing minor bugs and mistakes in code.
- Participating in the execution and documentation of tests.
- Working with an agile team and attending meetings.
- Preparing reports, manuals, and other documentation.
- Learning the codebase and the project’s structure.
- Gathering information from users about the products.
Requirements for a Junior DeveloperHere is a list of the most common and typical requirements for the Junior Developer that you should meet in order to get this job.
- Thorough knowledge of the programming language required (depending on the position). For a Java programmer, that would be the Java syntax, collections, multithreading, tools for coding (Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA or NetBeans), version-control systems and services (GitHub, GitLab). Next step: mastering the frameworks for building web projects (Maven, Gradle), frameworks for enterprise projects (Spring, Hibernate, Spring Boot), tools for unit testing (JUnit, Mockito), etc.
- Basic practical experience in programming and code writing.
- Knowledge of databases and operating systems.
- Basic knowledge of Computer Science (as a foundation of knowledge for pretty much any profession on software development).
- The ability to learn new software platforms and technologies quickly (quite an important skill for any Junior coder).
- Ability to follow instructions and work in a team environment (another skill that in no way should be underestimated, even though it often does).
Why to be a Junior Developer?While the requirements and responsibilities of a Junior developer should be more or less clear, let’s look at the most exciting part of this job, which is what the Junior coders should expect to get from working in this position.
- The experience.