Everyone has to start somewhere. Whether you’re first learning how to cook or beginning your career in the fast-moving highly competitive world of software development, you’re going to make some mistakes. Whether that comes in the form of burning your dinner or breaking code is just a matter of context.

the truth is, there are mistakes made by everyone at every level of an organization. Whether it’s the CEO moving the company in the wrong direction, the social media manager of an organization sending out a questionable tweet, or the mail room manager not sorting the mail correctly, mistakes will happen. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to avoid or correct mistakes before they manifest themselves into real problems.

When starting your career as a software developer, keep a look out for these 4 all too common mistakes and misconceptions that could hold you back from reaching your potential as quickly as you would like.

There is no right or wrong

Few things, if any, are black and white when it comes to software development. There are so many tools, tricks, and tips that are used by so many different developers that all that matters is what works best for you. Plenty of developers have wasted a lot of time trying to conform to their ideations of what’s ‘right’.

The bottom line is, almost every decision made by a software developer is made based off of the unique circumstances they’re in at that moment and their past experiences.

Reading a book isn’t the only way to learn

Often times, young developers make the mistake of spending too much time reading and not enough time implementing that knowledge. Sure, you can get a general understanding of how a new language works, or get a better idea of how to use a language you already know in a different way, but at the end of the day, the best way to learn a programming language is by doing.

A good strategy is skimming chapters of a book, and then spending some time practicing what the chapters say, instead of sitting down and plowing through a book cover to cover.

Learning niche technologies is often a waste of time

It’s great to broaden your understanding of different technologies, but trying to become an absolute expert on something new is often a waste of time. Unless, of course, you’re planning a big project that’s contingent upon your understanding, becoming the authority something completely new is difficult and time consuming, and often having a working understanding is enough to get your by in casual conversation and simple implementation.

Network, network, network

In your professional life, the adage “It’s not what you know it’s who you know” could not be more true. By connecting with more professional early inn your career, you’re setting yourself up to be a known and needed entity in your professional circle. By working an internship, you’re being exposed to like-minded and more experienced professionals who could make an impact on your career in the future.