On your first internship or job, there is bound to be a lot of self-doubt and pressure to make an impression. These tips helped me excel as an intern and junior developer, and I hope they'll help you too.
In my first internship, I was working on a CRUD application from scratch. I didn't know what ORMs are and which one I should be using. I tried one solution after the other and after more than a day I compiled everything I tried and thought of and why it didn't work, and went to my supervisor explaining where I got stuck. He was impressed that I did so much research and wasn't scared of trying different methods, noting why each one didn't work. A good measure is to read the entire first page of Google results.
I mean sure, a lot of people will prefer you asking instead of going ahead with incorrect assumptions. However, before asking what a database column is used for or the difference in user permissions, consider searching through the codebase to find those answers yourself. You'll learn more and appear knowledgeable if you're ever asked about it.
Even if you're still unsure, asking "which one of these two existing plugins should be used in this case?" shows more knowledge than merely asking "which plugin should I use?" This tip is closely related with doing your research, because the more research you do, the smarter your questions will sound.
I'd say most software developers are self-taught to a degree. Who among us hasn't take one or three online courses? Highlighting this quality will let your supervisors know they don't have to walk you through each step, they can provide you with general guidance and trust you'll find the way. Of course this will make your experience harder, but it's worth it in the long run. This trait will increase your team's trust in you more than any other.
Most structured companies will give you periodical feedback, but if the company is small or you find that your supervisor is busy and doesn't approach you first, consider approaching them yourself. Don't focus a lot on the positive feedback they'll give you, because it's likely they don't want to be hard on you, especially if you're an intern. Instead, pay attention to the points you can improve. In my first job, my supervisor told me I can be faster and better at estimating how long tasks will take 😅
It's natural to start your first job proud of your two applications and think you know it all. The workplace is a different story, and the faster you know that the better. That said, don't be scared to make dumb mistakes. We all make them. Also, don't take things personally if your idea is shot down or your PRs get sent back with a lot of comments. Remember that you're all working toward the same goal!
Thank you for reading. Until next time 👋
Photo by kate.sade on Unsplash