Which agile methodology should junior developers learn?
Agile methodology breaks projects into sprints, emphasizing continuous collaboration and improvement.
Scrumban (a combination of Scrum and Kanban)
Extreme Programming (XP)
Other methodology
Bah, Waterfall was good enough for my elders, it is good enough for me
Junior devs shouldn’t think about development methodologies.
Cloud Native Ecosystem / Software Development

New to Building on a Platform? Here’s How to Expand Your Skills

If you are ready to build awesome stuff that solves problems but you aren’t sure how to get started, here are a few tips to help.
Jun 22nd, 2023 11:29am by
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When I got started in this industry, I used to hear people say that you need to be logical, excellent at math and obsessed with computers to be great at software development. In my opinion these traits are helpful, but they won’t make you a great developer. The best developers are relentless problem solvers. They think about the most proficient way to solve a problem, knowing there are many solutions but taking the time to find the best one that will have the biggest impact.

And the devs in our open source community are certainly flexing their problem-solving skills by building cool things that have a big impact on Slack developers. Take Block Builder, for example, which helps developers save time by keeping your Slack app code for UI maintainable, testable and reusable. The creative ability to take everyday tasks and make them more efficient — and even fun — is what drew me to a career in software development and eventually led me to become a director of developer relations at Slack.

So if you’re new to developing on a platform and are ready to build awesome stuff that solves problems but you aren’t sure how to get started, here are a few tips to help.

Find Your People

Coding efficiently doesn’t come quickly for anyone. The first time I had to implement OAuth in a project I was building, it took me close to two weeks to get it working because I knew nothing about how OAuth worked. Today, that would take me closer to two hours. It takes time to develop your skill set, and because of this I dealt with imposter syndrome when I started my first job out of college. I questioned if I knew what I was doing or if I even belonged. Luckily, I had great mentors who supported me early on and helped me overcome those doubts. That’s why I believe creating a support network is essential, and meet-ups are a great way to find people in your industry to connect with.

I recommend joining one of Slack’s local community chapters, where you can meet other local developers in your city, learn new skills, expand your network and even get to know the developers from Slack. We even join in on the fun occasionally.

Another great way to meet people is through open source communities online. Early in my career, I spent a lot of time checking out open source libraries that I was using in my projects. I would read the source code and issues of popular frameworks to understand how certain things were done, and then I would try to contribute code. It was a great way to bolster my portfolio and meet other developers doing the same. Some of the relationships I built through open source are still going strong today.

Build a Solid Foundation

Slack is often used in a lot of classrooms and bootcamps around the world. Because of this, the Slack platform is often an early target for new developers to learn how to build on a platform. Before you start building on Slack’s platform — or any platform, for that matter — you want to build a solid foundation. Here are a few key areas you’ll want to master.

  • Read the docs before you start building. Good docs will provide quick-start guides and installation instructions for any libraries or tools. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about the different features the platform offers to help you decide how to approach building a solution. At Slack, we are quite proud of our docs and are constantly improving them as our platform continues to grow.
  • Checkout the tools and SDKs written for the platform. Many platforms have SDKs and other tools (such as command line interfaces) that help with developing on the platform. At Slack, for instance, we’ve created the new Deno Slack SDK, which is written in TypeScript and is open source, and the new Slack Command Line Interface, which helps developers create and deploy a new project within minutes.
  • Explore videos, tutorials and samples that are created for the platform. This type of content is great to get more in-depth with a platform and is very useful if you prefer alternative styles of learning. At Slack, we have videos embedded throughout the docs site and more on our YouTube. We also have a robust set of samples and templates to help inspire developers on the types of projects they can create.

Once you’ve mastered these basics, it’s time to start building!

Have a Growth Mindset 

One of the biggest mistakes I made early on in my career was taking too long to ask for help when I was stuck on a coding problem. I often dug my heels in trying to solve the problem on my own and went down a rabbit hole wasting hours instead of just asking my coworkers for help.

With coding, it’s easy to go into that individual mindset — I should know how to solve this, so I’ll just keep digging and debugging. The downside of that is wasting a lot of time on problems that could be solved much quicker by asking a few questions. By asking for help, especially from more-senior engineers, you have a chance to learn from their experience and gain different perspectives that can take your code to the next level. The best coders have a growth mindset and are always open to learning from others.

You can always get help from Slack by using the /feedback command in your Slack workspace or by reaching out to us on our open source repos on GitHub. The ability to listen, learn and collaborate is what makes open source so special.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma, Deno.
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