With our 1st and 16th Philadelphia and Boston cohorts, respectively, under our belts, we’ve seen many students come as beginners and leave as Launchers. There have been bugs and problems aplenty but our Experience Engineers (EEs) and mentors are always there for our students. We asked our EEs for what they think are a developer’s 3 biggest problems and here’s what they came back to us with.
At Launch Academy, the most common “big picture” mistake a coding bootcamp student tends to make, when designing their projects, is overcomplicating. Complexity kills. Just think about it. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook are not brands that added complexity within their industries. Instead, they did one simple thing well and were able to monetize expedience:
Learn from these successful brands. Don’t add complexity. Don’t bury the information users want 5 submenus deep. Don’t make a Swiss Army app that does 7 things poorly. Don’t make users work to get to their information. And please, please, don’t think that making things harder on people will make them enjoy the process more.
Your biggest investment towards the success of your app is solving the puzzle of designing a back end that takes even more difficulty off the shoulders of the user. How can the number of steps needed to complete the process be reduced? Do you REALLY need that extra form field of data to get a result? What would a user experience expert tell you to do?
Before you write a line of code, you need to first ask yourself who will be using your app. What is that person’s goal, what conclusion do they want? Of all the ways to code, all the libraries on the interwebs, and all the snippets you can Google, what’s the fastest solution to get them there? 90% of the time, that’s the right solution to go for.
Before you start crunching out those lines of code, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself.
The second biggest problem that developers face is known as scale. If your app is a character tracker just for people who play as elves in D&D, you may not have a large enough audience for this to be a product worth making. But maybe you just want to make it for yourself and, in that case, we applaud your effort.
However, developers will oftentimes build projects with an, “if you build it, they will come,” level of aspiration, and become disappointed with the results. If you want to do some quick research prior to development, we recommend using Google Trends to identify the volume of people who search for your topic or solution over a period of time. Doing preliminary research can save months of burned time.
In development, there’s a concept called scope. Scope is the opportunity of the project you are working on. To grow as a developer, you need to constantly be challenging yourself. You need to push hard. But sometimes you can push a project a little too grand in scale. In those cases, you have a problem with scope.
When looking for a personal challenge, try researching how many new elements you need to learn. Then, plan and plot out how much time each piece will take to complete. This can save you from the overwhelming darkness of a project that never gets completed and bogs you down.
As you mature as a developer, not only can you solve a larger spectrum of problems, but also become more accurate in the amount of time it takes to solve new ones. Accurate scoping is a vital skill in your professional life. You need to learn to craft a balance in your selection of personal projects and the scoping of your work. You need to challenge yourself to grow, but unrealistic expectations can lead to a stagnation of motivation.
These are roadblocks to building your expertise but, by thinking through this process over and over, you will eventually build up a talent that can save the companies you work for millions of dollars. The awareness of the user experience can move a developer from good to excellent.
Want to learn more about how overcoming tech roadblocks and how to start your career in tech? Check out Launch Academy.
Launch Academy's three-month, full-stack developer program begins with pre-work and concludes with a career networking day which allows students to display completed projects to potential employers. Launch Academy also offers scholarship assistance for underrepresented students attending its Boston campus.