We Asked 5 Programmers What Advice They’d Give to a Newcomer. Here’s What They Said.

Making the transition from newbie to seasoned pro can be a bit daunting at first, especially when you’re trying to break your way into programming. You’re surrounded by people who have been at it for years, deciding which programming language you need to learn, sometimes juggling tight deadlines, and trying to bond with your teammates.   

So how do you keep up?  

We asked five programmers at OPENLANE what advice they would give newcomers, so you don’t have to. 

Brandon Groff, Sr. Software Developer, TradeRev 

Ask questions — no matter your title. That’s how you start to understand the system context, workflows and how the team operates. An apprentice coming in may ask simpler questions like, “How do I do X?” But even more experienced newcomers need to as well. Wonder why the system works as it does, why this workflow is what it is. These questions are how shortcomings are recognized and optimizations are developed — not just in software but in the business. 

Julie Schaub, QA Engineer, BacklotCars  

Find a really good mentor. Someone with years of experience, although they don’t necessarily have to have the same job as you. The knowledge they bring to the table, the networks they can introduce you to and the advice they can offer will be invaluable to you, both starting out and as you grow in your career. 

Andrew Kozell, Sr. Product Engineer, CarsArrive  

Don’t hesitate to ask for help or pose questions. At OPENLANE, we have a surprisingly large number of teams, systems, and integrations that all work together. The more understanding you have of this ecosystem, the more likely you are to save time and build better solutions. Everyone that I’ve reached out to is always eager to help. 

Lakshman Rajagopal, Lead Product Engineer, AFC  

In the programming world, learning is the guide. The way to innovate and grow is to continue to learn. Don’t be afraid of failure — fear of failure is worse than failure itself. 

Casey Lierley, Product Engineer, RDN  

There’s a few. You always have to be ready to adapt. Whatever you’re doing — make sure you’re able to enjoy your work life because it’s too short. Lastly, learn how to debug. If you’re not sure now, dedicate time for learning.  

There is a reward for every challenge that you face in the world of programming. At its heart, it’s a career rooted in collaboration, creativity, and innovation.  

At OPENLANE, programmers have solidified these values and created a community. With regular hackathons, peer/mentor support and other team building events, we always want to see you grow.  

Think OPENLANE is the right fit for you? Apply here.


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