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Cover image for Trying to Be a Good Friend to Myself as a Junior Developer
Alex Morton
Alex Morton

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Trying to Be a Good Friend to Myself as a Junior Developer

This post was originally published on January 20, 2021 on my blog.

Friends, I'm in my third week at my new job as a junior software engineer and it still feels great! But I'm having one internal issue, not altogether unexpectedly.

You see, I'm conscious of my brain trying to tell me that I'm not making progress as quickly as it thinks I should. It's so strange and I'm aware of thoughts throughout the day that make me feel like I'm underperforming and don't understand everything that I should.

But the minute I start to realize that, and especially when I ask myself "Would I treat a friend like this?" I start to come back to reality a little bit.

Like, of course freaking not! I'd never pat a friend on the shoulder and be like, "You know, you really should be comfortable with the entire codecase of a new organization, and have successfully learned a new programming language (Ruby) and architecture (Rails) in a matter of two and a half weeks. There, there."

That would be insane! And now as I'm writing this all out, I'm kind of laughing at myself and getting back to reality.

I had a great chat with a teammate yesterday who definitely also helped pull me back down to the ground and reminded me not to be too hard on myself.

Why do we do this to ourselves? I wish the default thinking could always be positive and erring on the side of reassurance, but that's just how it is.

In other news, I received my new work laptop yesterday! Excited to get my local set-up up and running (round twooo!) again. I'll probabl spend a good amount of time on that today, and then I'm also in the midst of doing an interesting (everything is interesting right now!) refactor with another teammate.

The thing to remember is that even if we're not feeling like we're making progress on a daily basis, that daily work will be compounded over time. When I take a moment to actually recognize the progress I'm making every single day (instead of irrationally putting myself down), I'm already leaps and bounds ahead of where I was when I started.

P.S. I send weekly newsletters about the self-taught coding journey and my own coding adventures (and misadventures!) Sign up here! >>

Top comments (3)

ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis

It took me a while that just because no one said anything when I accomplished tasks didn't mean that they disapproved of me or were unsatisfied with my work. They had faith in me to figure it out and deliver on time and it wasn't a surprise to them that I did so.

Don't be afraid to ask your supervisor for more feedback in your next 1 on 1. The more you can teach your supervisor about what works best to motivate you and keep you happy, the more effective they can be.

kieran profile image
Kieran Bond

This hits incredibly close for me too currently. New job for the new year, faced with the constant internal battle of feeling I'm being too slow!

Keep feeding yourself those positive thoughts.

bookercodes profile image
Alex Booker

Congratulations on the new job, @alexlsalt !

I work at Scrimba, a small team helping new developers land their first roles. Stories like yours are awesome, and I've love to share it with the Scrimba community. Is a quick interview with me something you're interested in?