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Zarah is an Android developer based in Sydney, Australia. She started doing mobile development work in 2007, and has been on a constant rollercoaster of emotions with the Android platform since the days of Donut. Recognized as a Google Developer Expert for Android, she helps organise GDG Sydney and the Android User Group Sydney. She loves board games, books, and dessert, and has a knack for eating breakfast food for dinner.
Connect with Zarah
What is the most significant mistake you see junior developers making over and over again in their work?
They sometimes make things a lot more complex than they usually need to be. There seems to be an assumption that they need to know everything all the time right now—that’s one mistake that I tended to make when I was starting, and I see it a lot now when I work with more junior developers. It’s a hard skill to learn; it takes years of experience and writing to actually recognize that something you’re doing can be done in a much simpler way. But I think the mistake is mainly rooted in trying to do everything all at once.
What suggestions can you give for overcoming this problem?
A lot of it is practice. Also coming back to something you’ve written in the past, because sometimes—especially when we’re on a project—we ship something and then it’s done, right? But I find that if I go back to something that I did even a few months ago, usually there are new ideas that come to me like, “Oh, I could have done it this way rather than that way.” Or the project is actually more simple than I thought. It’s kind of like reviewing past work for a future exam. If you go back and review your code, I think that really helps a lot.
For your learning or growth, do you draw from podcasts or books?
For technical information, usually podcasts. There are a couple that I would recommend to any fellow software developer. The first is the Android Developers Backstage podcast, which is hosted by members of the Android development team. They talk to a lot of Android engineers and people who drive changes and developments in the Android community, so it’s a really good reference as some of the episodes are very highly specific to a topic.