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Junior Devs: How to stand out

As a junior dev, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd of other junior devs in your first few years of your career, let alone show off your skills and talents in their own right. You probably don’t have much commercial code to point to, your GitHub account is a little emptier than you’d want, and even your resume is pretty brief. But there is one simple project you can do that can highlight your talents in a number of ways: build your own blog.

Blogs are great because it’s a simple project that you can whip up from scratch over a weekend, regardless of what your preferred language is. You can then continue to iterate and improve and add to it as your own skills improve. There’s plenty of online resources if you need some tips on getting started. The blog itself also doesn’t have to be revolutionary in its own technical brilliance, it just needs to be a home for you to document your work. Sometimes what is actually more important is seeing the journey of creating the blog - What things did you consider before you even started? What problems did you run into while putting it together and how did you fix them? What visual design and usability decisions were most important to you? Or maybe you forgo visual design entirely for technical quality?

Once you’ve got your blog up and running, I’d suggest trying to post at least once or twice a week. You don’t have to write War & Peace-length posts - maybe just a couple of lines to show off something you’re currently working on, a link to a blog that is relevant to what you’re doing with a line or two about why you liked it, or even vent about a particular error in your code that you can’t work out how to fix. If you’re really struggling, a few pictures of cute dogs and cats is always welcome!

A blog is a good way to record your career for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s just nice to see what you’ve completed and cathartic to work through the problems you overcame. It’s also great as a confidence booster when you can see just how far your coding skills have come since you started - looking back at the things that you were tackling 6 months ago compared to now is always nice. It’s also good for potential employers as well, as it gives a more rounded picture of who you are as a person, and also shows off your coding journey by displaying all the new things you’ve learnt as you go.