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Bartholomew Allen
Bartholomew Allen

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Feeling under utilized/not challenged, how to over come?

I work as a Software Developer for a top 50 Fortune 500 company where I am part of a team which specializes in Dev-Ops. Lately I’ve been feelings underutilized with most of my team members always asking others for help instead of coming to me or I always get stuck with tedious work which anyone can do. Based on my job title I am considered a Junior Developer and feel like the work handed to me isn’t challenging me. I find myself bored some days and others I immerse myself with reading various technology blogs, CS sub reddit or reading my book to pass time. But I want to know if any Junior Developer has ever felt like this? How do I change? I want to be promoted to at least a mid-level developer. I will preface that I have developed bad habits in terms of producing work at a slow pace or simply being too afraid to ask questions. I’ve been working here for over a year now and I want to improve and be taken more seriously, I want to excel, I want to be that go to person. Some other areas I need to work on are better articulating my issues when they arise. I have intense impostor syndrome where I am always nervous talking to Senior developers because I believe that I am not as good as everyone else or my level of thinking isn't on par with everyone else on the team.

Discussion (4)

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shreyanshrs44 profile image
Shreyansh Sancheti

Hey Allen, Even I am kinda stuck in the similar situation as you are in now. I think some teams don't treat junior developer well. The team I had joined wouldn't put me in critical tasks even after I spend almost 6 months, all I got was 2-3 week PoCs to work on. So recently I applied internally to a different team and they are really excited to have me on board. I would suggest you to talk to your project manager or look for better team that seems good fit for you by applying through internal mobility.

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ballen2713 profile image
Bartholomew Allen Author

Hmmm you raise a good point, maybe it may be a mismatch of interests since most of my interests lies with Web Development and I am doing DevOps but I may talk to my manager once I schedule a one on one meeting with him sometime soon. None the less thank you for your advice 😊 means a lot!

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jsrios profile image
jsrios

Hello!

I actually work at UPS in NJ and mentor a bunch of interns, co-ops, SD1s, and SD2s.

I'll start by saying that I think these are valid feelings as a junior developer, and that I don't think UPS always does the best in setting their new hires up for success so I wouldn't put too much blame on yourself. I also think communication is key here. It's unfortunate but the way the culture works, whether it's a promotion or more responsibility, people don't know what you want unless you ask for it! If you don't think you are being given challenging work, then ask how else you can contribute your skills to the team even if it's stuff like documentation, interviewing, mentoring, refactoring, etc. It can definitely be a scary or daunting ask but understand that a culture that wants what's best for you will do just that. Think of new features that your team plans on developing and mention to your boss that you would like to be heavily involved in completing it. See if there is anything that has sat in your backlog for months and ask if you can work on it. If there is something that you don't know that someone else does, ask if you can shadow them so you can understand it better. If there is a part of your job that you think can be automated, ask if you can create a tool/script to automate it and make everyone's life easier. If you think UPS is lacking a certain tool related to dev-ops, see if you can come up with a solution for it.

Whenever reviews come up, don't be afraid to be vocal. If you are given a "meets expectations" review, ask your manager what you have to do to get to "strong" or "exceeds expectations". If you are interested in a promotion ask your manager what you have to do to receive the promotion. This review session goes both ways, if you don't think your manager is doing enough for your career, bring it up. If you don't think you are being given challenging work or work that will help you grow, bring it up. If you are being left out of meetings that will help you learn more, ask to be invited. If you feel you are ready, ask if you can mentor the next set up interns that come in. If you think you struggled to be onboard, ask if you can improve the process. Again communication is key! My belief is that managers should notice these things themselves, but not everyone is like that, so sometimes you need to bring it up yourself.

Some other options if you don't think my advice is applicable to your team is considering whether your current team is right for your future. Evaluate whether going to another team would be better for you. And last resort, evaluate if UPS is what's best for your career. I think early on you don't realize it but you have a career to think about, and the decisions you make should be based on that career. In your situation, how possible is it to achieve your goal of mid-level developer? Do you see others on your team achieving it? How often are people getting promoted/interviewed?

My last piece of advice is to learn and contribute outside of your job. Get involved in open source, build your own side projects, learn in public, and document your progress like others do here!

Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!

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ballen2713 profile image
Bartholomew Allen Author

Thank you for your detailed response! Awesome to hear from a fellow UPSer!
In regards to your feedback I will definitely take everything you mentioned into close consideration, I believe I am biting a bit to soon but I believe with time I may be able to answer those thought provoking questions which relate to my career as a Software Developer and as a UPSer. I will be sure to bring up my concerns with my manager whenever we get a chance to meet for our one on one meeting.