Lessons From a Veteran: When You’re Not Sure If This Career Is For You

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Today, we’re talking to Sylvia Fronczak. Sylvia is a software developer that has worked in various industries with various software methodologies. She’s currently focused on design practices that the whole team can own, understand, and evolve over time.

Wondering if a career in programming is right for you? Read Sylvia’s advice below.

Basic Logistics: Stack? How long have you been doing it?

Most of my career has involved Java in some shape or form. Coming in a distant second place is JavaScript, and it’s distant mostly due to the fact that I’ve spent more of my career developing back-end web services or batch jobs than apps that include a front-end. In the case of Java, I’ve been writing Java for over 20 years, since version 1.2. The language has changed so much over the past few decades as it works to follow the needs of programmers. And although many other languages have become very popular, Java still has a strong share of the market.

Early in your career, don't put too much emphasis on learning multiple languages and frameworks. Instead, work on getting depth in just a couple languages. And then learn those well.

Although I’ve done mostly Java for my entire career, there’s a ton of value in learning other languages, frameworks, and tools. In fact, I spent time working with many other languages, like C++, C#, Kotlin, Groovy, and Scala. For front-end work, when just considering JavaScript frameworks, I’ve used jQuery, Vue.js, Angular, and React. And then if you add in all the different databases, integration tools, and messaging systems, you can see that there are a lot of different tools to solve software problems.

Through my experience, I realized that one of the most important skills you’ll develop over your career in programming involves being able to pick up new languages and frameworks easily.

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