Memoirs of a Jr. Dev 2


When someone has taken a huge chance on you and has the confidence that you and only you are the right person for the job, this is both a blessing and scary thing all in one.
As a blessing, it validates the fact that someone OBVI knows something you don’t that you are capable of, and as a fear, you don’t want to fail. I think my biggest struggle at this moment is feeling like I am not solving my tasks quick enough and I feel like that is a failure on my part and for everyone that relies on me.
Sooooooo, I reached out to my mentor and asked~ “When do I get to the point where I can find the bug in 60 minutes or less”, and “is it typical to take several hours, often my whole day, to locate the template and the line of code where the bug is?”. His response to me was priceless. Let me remind you, my mentor has 20+ years of experience and almost half of that in Ruby on Rails. He said “Whenever I start a new place it feels like all I’m doing is trying to find the file where the bug is, rather than making the change. That will improve as you learn your way around”.

As I move forward, becoming better at what I do each day because of the awesome team of engineers I am grateful to work with, I know there will come a time very soon where all bugs will be squashed by me in an efficient amount of time. So, I say to you now, if you have this feeling in a new role, do not freak out like me and beat yourself up, keep asking those questions (the right ones) and keep doing you!

One of my favourite things I learned this week involved how to test a newsletter mailer without having to send dummy emails to yourself to test. I spent a bit of time looking through over 200 lines of code to locate a non escaping HTML tag in newsletter mailer. The challenge for me was, I never found a rogue HTML tag or anything that screamed HI this is why this is happening, I’m here LINE XXXX or whatever.

You all know that I now know to reach out for help sooner than later and thank goodness I did. As I was struggling to figure out how to test what was going on with this mailer, I was given this gem.

The beautiful and awesomesauce Letter Opener gem, authored by Ryan Bates. If you don’t already know about this gem, go check it out to view it’s magic!
Moving forward, AND get ready to die laughing, I didn’t even need that gem, for THIS particular task. This was a simple issue of using safe mode for HTML, something I originally read about in a Ruby Tapas article. There is a theme here…and that is,  I would have sat on this task until I figured it out myself if this were a month ago. Since I have learned this lesson the hard way for both me and you, I don’t do this any longer.  I reached out early with the right question, I had the “clues” and “hints” I needed to put me on the path to fixing this bug AND I now know about an awesome gem to use if I ever need to test a mailer in the browser. ANOTHER Win/Win!

I was also the lucky recipient of a Git Pro Tip from my co-worker for mashing up your commit and add in your branch. I feel like I had already known about this command from git documentation, and/or while in bootcamp, but since I hadn’t had the opportunity to use it alot, I never used it.

git commit -a -m 'My Awesome Commit Message'   <-that’s it! That was my DUH moment of the week, well that and forgetting to connect to the VPN so I couldn’t deploy SHIZZ. PORT errors are VPN errors, FYI.

Lastly, Something fun I learnt about myself this week. I LOVE creating PR’s. I absolutely LOVE clicking the merge button and I ABSOLUTELY need to remember to take out my debugging lines of code prior to creating a PR. Bad Bootcamp habit. So, if you see “I love tacos” in any of my files on Github, please let me know so I can remove.

As always, please let me and the community know in the comments how you survived impatience in your first engineering role. How did you find all the bugs, and when did you find your first bug in under an hour?


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2 thoughts on “Memoirs of a Jr. Dev

  • Gabi Jack

    Oh, the memories! Haha! Hang in there, it does get better! It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does, eventually, and the day will come when you know your way around the codebase and feel confident enough to tackle any bug they throw at you, and to contribute new features too. ePub wasn’t my first coding job, but it was pretty much my first job doing Rails, and I was very green, but, like the Pokemon, I evolved. Like you, I started out a little late in life, only I didn’t have the fortune of attending a dev camp; I was mostly self-taught. Everyone at ePub was awesome and I learned a lot during my time working there. You will too!

    I used to get frustrated wondering WHEN I would stop being so new to everything, when I would finally know EVERYTHING I needed to know. But one thing I’ve learned is that every time you start a new job you will always feel a bit lost, regardless of how much experience you may have. This is simply because every team does things differently, and that’s OK. Eventually, you learn your way around. Also, things in this field change so fast that you never quite stop being a newbie. There’s always something new to learn, one more mountain left to climb, and that’s what makes software development so fascinating. There’s no way you can ever be finished learning or know everything you need to know! And the framework/language you learn today could very well be obsolete tomorrow, but that’s OK because you gain experience where it matters: you learn to solve problems, to find the information that you need, and, basically, you learn how to learn.

    Chin up! Better days are coming!

    • Patricia Post author

      Omg Gabi thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I can’t tell you how much it means to know that Sr Engineers run into these challenges too! It really validates those of us that are new to the process.
      BTW, can I say that I heart you for the Pokemon reference!