From Bumpy Beginnings to Smooth Sailing: My First Project at Big Lemon

What's it like joining a Tech With Purpose company as a Junior Develop? Niall shares his journey: The Niall Chronicle

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Niall Paterson

Junior Full Stack Developer

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At the time of writing I'm entering my fourth month at Big Lemon. Just one week past I reached a major milestone: handover of my first ever project with the team.

It's a moment I'm super proud of; there's something special about seeing a product you've worked on get released into the wild. And although the end of a project is absolutely a time to celebrate, it's also a prime opportunity to reflect on how things went. Big Lemon are big on reflecting to learn and grow.

So, we're at the end of the beginning. How did things go?

I'll be the first to say the start was a little bumpy. Although I'd had some experience with the stack, in particular with React and React Native, a large portion was alien to me. As anyone who has started on a largely unknown stack can testify, it can get pretty overwhelming. Fortunately the team were there to support me and see me through. With daily check ins and one-to-one mentoring, pretty soon I got familiar with how things are run. And then I was ready to get cracking with my first major task at Big Lemon: creating a component library for the project's native application.

That turned out to be a perfect starting point. Tracing the stack from the smallest components all the way up to the views pulling in data at the highest level of the application, I touched on most parts of the stack, one part at a time. And through regular pull requests I learnt a lot from the team. One of the most important things I learnt was how to properly implement responsive design. Up until my time here the requirement that applications run on a wide variety of screen sizes had been, bluntly, a frustrating aspect of front end development. Frustrating before, but frustrating no more! The team showed me how to avoid absolute sizing and use contemporary tools and techniques designed to make responsivity a piece of lemon pie.

Looking back over the last few months, I've learnt a lot about developing software, and had a load of fun along the way. I was really excited to start at Big Lemon, and my first quarter has only reinforced my expectations. The team are a lovely, talented, supportive bunch and I feel super grateful to be working alongside them.

I'm starting my second project now, and I'm raring to go. Looking ahead, the future is bright. We've got some exciting new projects on the horizon, we're experimenting with awesome new technologies, and every day I'm becoming a more competent developer.

Stay tuned for more.