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To the Developer in their First Job Feeling Worried About Career Growth Due To Pandemic

bhumi profile image Bhumi ・3 min read

I was inspired to write some things down after reading this post from @thecaitcode

Concerns and problems mentioned in that post:

  1. The author wants to keep growing in her career and she feels worried that she won't due to quarantine.

  2. She wants to be on track to getting promoted in 6 months but there are new hurdles due to remote work.

  3. She feels bad about having to exchange a challenging ticket for a friendlier/easier ticket.

  4. Typing questions via slack makes her realize that she has a lot of questions, which make her feel vulnerable.

My thoughts on each pain point (from my own experience and things I have actually done in the past):

  1. Things you can do to keep up the momentum and grow everyday (daily habits):

    • Read code, that is related to part of the application you're familiar with (but that maybe you're afraid to modify).
    • Setup info sessions with developer coworkers who are experts in some area of the codebase/system and have good questions to ask. You will learn stuff before you need to use it. It'll require you to do some preparation but you'll get to find out things that are not written down, hopefully connect some dots, and build relationships with your coworkers. This also demonstrates curiosity and a learning mindset. And it can be productive way to socialize.
    • Read general programming books for 30 minutes a day - this keeps your head in the right place and introduces new ideas into your mind regularly.
  2. Promotion - this is externally important yes. What is on that list of things? These things are usually vague in my experience. So if you can't directly work on the list don't worry. Do the things in #1 or whatever else that allows you know that you are growing.

  3. Follow through and understand how the other developer implemented the hard backend ticket. Find their code review or just find the commit message in the ticket, find the branch and file changes, find the diff. Read the code, understand what was done and why. Dig deep. Ask questions if needed.

  4. This is a tough one. On the one hand you want to feel self-sufficient. You want to take on any ticket and know that you can figure it out and solve it without having to ask for assistance (and you will get there!). On the other hand, you do want to interact with coworkers as an extroverted person and want to collaborate to learn. No easy answers about the energy/need for social interactions part. But as far as asking for help, here's what you can do: distribute asking for help if possible so not to always as the same persons. Also ask online when that is possible - ask on Dev or other communities. As far as the layoff concern, yes that is possible. But I would keep someone around who demonstrates curiosity and willingness to dig into things to figure it out.

Another idea is to get a mentor (outside of work) and talk to this person regularly about your career thoughts and general technical questions. Together you can come up with daily and weekly actions to create a roadmap with a sense of regular progress. If not, you can certainly keep up the momentum with the four ideas above.

I would agree with you that being a early stage developer in this pandemic is not easy. Though easy is overrated :)

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