Why I Turned Down My First Ever Full Time Development Job

Bryan Leighton on June 02, 2019

A fair majority of us have gone through the pains and troughs of at least several months of finding that first dev job, and then heading over to Li... [Read Full]
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I think you've got the right ideas, Bryan! I just started my second job out of a coding bootcamp and have a little more perspective on the job hunt for bootcamp grads.

I think valuing mentorship at your first job is a must! (Sidenote: don't think of asking questions of your peers as "pestering". If you've joined a company that's open to helping you grow, they won't think of it as pestering, either - it's learning opportunities for the whole team!)

Keep looking for other opportunities and talking with people at existing companies. I'd recommend meeting up with people who are employed for coffee to just to pick their brain on their experiences as developers. I've had good experience with this as really low-stress networking where you can learn about good companies in the area as well as make connections without asking for the person to do anything for you other than chat.


(Sidenote: don't think of asking questions of your peers as "pestering". If you've joined a company that's open to helping you grow, they won't think of it as pestering, either - it's learning opportunities for the whole team!)

+1 to this!


Thank you for the advice! I full-heartedly agree with doing coffee mingles with other developers. Here in Tel Aviv there is a coffee meetup open to all developers in the area which is a very nice way to start the morning before work while also getting to know a diverse set of developers from all over the area


Even experienced devs don't know everything, nobody does. It's always great to ask questions, provided you do a bit of work upfront first.


I completely agree with you here. A quote resonates with me and I can't seem to find the exact wording, however it goes similar to this: " A master is both always a master and an apprentice". No one fully understands everything like you said, and there's always opportunity for improvement and learning. I also agree with you regarding work put in. I do believe that you should strive to find the answer on your own for the most part as you can gain a lot to learn. However, there's a big difference in asking, "hey what are some articles you recommend me to dive into that are more relevant to this problem?" versus "what's the answer?" .. At the bootcamp I work for, we place an emphasis to sit down with the students and then we do the research together to find an answer rather than just giving it to them straight away. The old: "Give a man a fish he can eat for a day, teach a man to fish he can eat for a lifetime"


Nice post, it resonates so much with me. Most of all the mentorship and self-growth part. I'm at my first job after graduating college, as an Android dev, in a small startup and I love it. My boss is like my mentor, it's like he knows about everything lol so I learn a lot from him. Also I have free access to tutorials on Lynda so I can learn at the office when I don't have any task and I can work on sides projects.


I think it makes all the difference when you have a company that values you, and in the end any new knowledge you learn can benefit not only you but also the job! I hope that all jobs will move towards a setup similar to what you have!


You learned a lot in just one day!

While I believe your goals are admirable (mentorship, self worth and development opportunities) I can't help but feel you've missed a fundamentally important point. You mentioned that this was a contract role until a permanent position could be found. Contractors are paid to do a job, plain and simple. Companies provide mentors, meaningful work and opportunities for growth to permanent employees who have demonstrated their commitment to the company. By leaving after one day you have shown that you do not have this.

Manage your expectations of what a company should give you based on what you are prepared to give to a company.


I suppose I hadn't quite made it clear regarding the contracting situation as I believe it was a slightly unique one. I was offered the job as a full time employee, however the executive who writes the contracts happened to be out for a few days. They had told me to continue with the onboarding and an employment contract would've been written up whenever he got back from being out of the office.

What gave me a bad taste was the fact I was thrown into the job without any preparation or even introduction into the team nor was a plan laid out whatsoever about what my duties entailed. Even when I brought up the topic of mentorship and educational opportunities, rather than just giving me an upfront answer they had dodged the question. If I'm to be expected to work the same as everyone else, that's fine by me, but don't expect to pay 2/3 the salary for the same work as other employees. This is a similar mentality of a company relieving a manager, then giving the tasks and duties of that manager to the assistant manager but refusing to promote them as to not pay them the official manager amount.

I expect a company to treat their employees fairly and give the correct compensation for the work they are expected to produce. If you want to pay less because you believe the employee to be more "junior" than the normal junior developer salary. Great. Compensate with mentorship and education. Or if you want to treat them as every other employee, then match the compensation.


I have to nitpick a little bit with this:

As juniors, we must understand our self-worth and know that we take lower salaries because it should be compensated with options to learn and grow, and of course to have a mentor that we can pester day-in-and-day-out with all of the naïve questions that they once had themselves.

  • You're not a "junior." That word should be banned from job titles.
  • I think when you say "self-worth" you mean "value to your employer." Your value as perceived by the employer might be less or more. Your self-worth shouldn't change regardless of your employer or lack of one.

Companies should provide some form of mentorship. Many, perhaps even most, don't. Even though it makes sense, expecting it might limit our options. Many companies adopt a "sink or swim" attitude without really understanding how pointless that is. If they don't want to help new developers learn then they probably shouldn't hire them in the first place.

If a company does provide mentoring you still have to watch out because your mentor could be a horrible developer who's been doing it wrong for ten years and can't wait to tell you how wrong everything you read on all those stupid blogs is. It could be this fictional developer.

There is no experience quite like being a new developer and having the senior, "experienced" person tell you with absolute confidence something that you know is fundamentally wrong, and then do it again and again. It's a horrible position to be in because you feel that as a new developer you're not qualified to judge their skills. But despite their years and job title you realize that they don't know what they're talking about. And they're mentoring you. Now you've got to carefully weigh everything they say to figure out what's right and what's not. (Admittedly you should double-check what people tell you anyway.) That person can slow your growth.

Whether we're starting off or not, most jobs and companies aren't the way they should be. We're a giant mess. When I read that back it doesn't sound constructive or helpful. It isn't, unless it lowers our expectations until we don't have any. Okay, now I'm just sad.

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