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Sloan
Sloan

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Were you ever fired as a junior developer?

This is an anonymous post sent in by a member who does not want their name disclosed. Please be thoughtful with your responses, as these are usually tough posts to write. Email sloan@dev.to if you'd like to leave an anonymous comment or if you want to ask your own anonymous question.


I'm really curious to see if the DEV Community has any stories of being fired as a junior developer. How would something like that happen - what were the extraneous circumstances around it? What were (if any) the lasting career impacts from being fired as a junior dev?

Discussion (16)

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sebastienkb profile image
Sébastien Kalb • Edited on

I have, about 10 years ago. I was hired as junior Java Developer in a small company.
I had learned "vanilla" Java and JavaBeans at school but didn't know any big frameworks like Spring. I knew basic stuff like web requests and XML but I was missing other pieces like what exactly is an API, what is RESTful, what is JSON, etc. They knew this but they wanted to give it a try, hoping I'd learn on the spot. It was overwhelming to not know so many things so I felt like a failure that should quit programming altogether, so it made me freeze and not dare follow the tutorials feeling like I should have known already. When I got fired I felt like I had proof that I should give up.

I eventually got a similar job with the same stack, and things went much better, even though I didn't learn more than I already did.
This made me realise that not every job is entirely related to my skills or personality, it's also compatibility with the company and colleagues. Some relationships are bound to work better than others. Looking back, I did feel a bit off with the culture of the first job. It felt cold, hostile, and a bit competitive. At the next job I didn't feel overwhelmed at all and it went much more naturally. It's like dating, it's not because things don't work out that you're a terrible person.

On top of that, one needs to know that the version management will tell you when they fire you will not necessarily be the truth because they don't want to end up in hot waters legally. They can't just say "I'm firing you because I hate your guts", so they have to justify with performance which is, at best, arbitrary.

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

Well said

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damilolaai1 profile image
damilola-AI1

How were you able to get, cause have been trying to get a junior frontend react developer job but I don't know how to construct a CV for myself, cause am self taught and I don't hang cert at all

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sebastienkb profile image
Sébastien Kalb • Edited on

I have a bachelor in computer science which helped, but even then I got many, many rejections before landing a job.
Don't worry, rejections are often more frequent than acceptance. My success sits on a mountain of failures!

Look for tips online to make a good CV, never lie, try to find what techs are hot and learn those so you can add them on the CV.
React is a good choice, if possible try to learn other JS variants like VueJS, Angular or ReactNative. Add to your CV your Github link with some frontend projects, don't forget each time a README and a GIF to show what each project does so the recruiter can see what you can do without installing software. Make a lot of projects on your Github, even if they differ just a little bit, but enough to showcase you know many aspects of your tech.
Add something personal to your CV, like some non-IT hobby or sports or something unique about you.

If you are self taught and cannot spend the time in a proper school/training in a (physical) center, you could look for training websites with certifications. I don't know which ones are worth it but you could create a topic here in dev.to and ask which ones are most valuable to recruiters.
Most certifications cost some money, but it's often much less than tuition and commuting to school.

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nandollo profile image
Nicholas Andollo

Kindly get one certification or completion certificate

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett • Edited on

Yes I was fired, it's not your fault, but that will come in time.

Companies, the wrong ones, they fail to nurture and support Thier staff, forget the commitment of raising up a junior developer.

A good manager raises people to thier level and leads from the front, cares about your well-being and supports your growth

Some companies I'm afraid, just cull the weaker starters and never give them the boost they need to flourish 🪴

Plants

___ ps

How this affected me, it distroyed my confidence and made me say sorry for absolutely everything for about 5 years, I didn't trust management and I was so busy in my next job trying to prove I was enough.

I am.

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yvad60 profile image
Ivad Yves HABIMANA

I like that!

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

Besides obvious fire-able offenses (disruptive, threatening, lying, fraud, etc)

I think firing someone that is just starting out is a sign of a bad company culture. Such an event doesn't reflect an engineer, especially a junior engineer's potential skill.

Any company willing to invest in a junior developer should be willing to help them along regardless of their experience level, as it should be expected.

I'm thankful this hasn't happened to me, and hope it isn't common. But for anyone who has had it happen, I hope they understand it's the companies problem, not something wrong with themselves.

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

This sounds like being fired was a blessing in disguise for this person, working here would be unhealthy

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mirokole profile image
MiroKoLe

Yep.

I'm a self-taught developer and I got fired two months ago. I landed my first job quite easily but the project was a nightmare for me. Jumping from app to app, from stack to stack, backend-frontend and vice versa - I was just over the top for me. I totally got lost, lost self confidence and at the end I just give up. I was stressed out the whole time so it was either I'll quit or I'll get fired. Well, they were faster.

Now I'm in search for a new job as a junior dev and I have to tell you - it's a nightmare of it's own. Most of the companies are looking for a mid or senior devs, and if they have a need for a junior dev they just hire students.

How did all impact me? Well I have to start looking for other jobs outside of it world because I cannot afford myself to be unemployed anymore.

But if a look at the bigger picture I'd give advice to all people who are planning to join it world. Specially to those who are self-taught as myself. Do a research of your local it market. Gather as much information as possible about demand for junior devs. I was bombed with info how demand is huge in it world. It is but for high profile developers. If you are experienced dev with huge pool of knowledge than there is no problems for you. But if you are unemployed junior dev there is a big change you are gonna struggle like myself.

If I knew everything I know now I'd never become a part of it world. It would be my hobby like it was before.

Hope this will help someone. Sorry about my English.

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nandollo profile image
Nicholas Andollo

Sorry for this.
If you are self-taught. I would recommend the following. Have a mentor you can lean on. Use Linkedin if possible. Read IT programming books, not only watching videos only. Enroll or engage in a developer community that engages on that programming language. Get an Oreilly account as it has a lot of books that would have guided you. Listen to Podcasts. Constantly review code on Github so that you can see how different people solve the same problem. Contact people through social media and freelance job sites for help.
What I have experienced from many self-taught developers is they do not know computer science concepts, software engineering concepts, and know architecture patterns. Read and learn on this. Do not lose hope and leave this coding space. Go to freelance sites and create a profile. Look for those small companies or people who need websites and mobile apps. This can sustain you until you get a permanent position. Consider volunteering in NGOs, small business owners, and religious centers so that you can gain experience. 
Grammarly has an browser extension that can help with your English. 
Wish you all the best. 

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mirokole profile image
MiroKoLe

Thank you for your reply. I will definitely follow advices you wrote. :)

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maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

I have. Twice, kind of.

Well, the first time it was at the end of my contract, so they just didn't renew it, even though I had the results. Turns out that my boss made me do work that wasn't actually related to the company. I had no idea, but I was caught in the middle (also my boss was fired). Pretty sad, but in retrospect nothing of value was lost, at least for me. Colleagues were nice, though, but we never bonded outside work.

Then my boss and I got hired to the company we were (secretely) working for. In almost 5 years I think I grew a lot as a developer, even though there was none who could teach me anything. All was good, until business went down, the company owner decided that "the Web isn't going to cut it, the future is mobile apps!" (in 2014?!), my former boss was now working part-time because he had to deal with an auto-immune syndrome, and in the end I got fired for "disciplinary" reasons. (They were "kind enough" to officially put it as a staff cut for economic restructuring and gave me severance.)

That was depressing, because I actually gave my best and brought results.

Again, in the end it was for the best. First, because they thought I was a junior developer, but I was surely more than that: I could develop and deploy an application from scratch, design the full stack, bring in new tools (I was the one who introduced code version control in the company - and it was SVN, not even git!). But somehow it wasn't acknowledged: none was doing what I was doing.
And then, because they made me feel I wasn't a good team member.

In the new (and current) company, they never doubted of my seniority. There were colleagues who could actually confirm the quality of my code, and I could do the same with them - I actually learnt a lot, and enjoyed it. I made new, actual friends; we often hang out together outside work, have parties (not just company's, which happen twice a year), and I even met my fiancée through my coworkers.

The results speak for themselves: the current company grow 4.5 times; the other folded two years later.

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aktoriukas profile image
Gedi

I have. ( sort of ) my second job i got hired as a front end developer. Work there for a month and then been fired.

It was the weirdest working month in my life. Was not brieft very well what exacly the company is doing. Every day been tasks with random tasks with no explanation where this project is going. ( example - mock some kind of website, integrate payment, integrate database, deploy site ). When started offering suggestions how maybe we should consider better approach to task, been let go. To be honest was on the edge of leaving anyway, that just speed up the process.

In the end it was best thing ever for me. Now i know that i should choose where to work, not just grab what ever is availible.

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valenc3x profile image
Ricardo Valencia

I already had some experience doing contractor jobs but had an offer for BigCorp. My entire onboarding was a pretty bad honestly. Manager was on vacation when I joined, had a mentor that went on parental leave 1 month after I started and was assigned to do mostly menial work (responding to customer tickets, 1-10 line fixes, etc)

About 4 months into the job, my manager started to have our 1:1 walking outside instead of in the office (BigCorp is a campus-style workplace) and explain how I was underperforming. 1 month later "underperforming" turned into "I do not believe you have what is required for a job like this. Not here, not anywhere" o_o'
Understandably I just wanted to stop existing, but did my best to improve. Started leaving late and worked over the weekends.
By month 6, manager went on holiday vacation for 4 weeks. Came back on a Monday and I got fired on a Friday for "not meeting the performance bar expected for my level" and was walked out after lunch...

Spent about 6 weeks studying and then got an offer for another BigCorp and have been a high performer, working on getting a Senior position.

In hindsight, I think that, for some reason, manager did not like me/my work style and/or had some weird high expectation; while I was for sure not a rockstar employee, their assessment of not having "what is required" was just unnecessarily mean. There is no way to judge so harshly a junior employee 4-5 months into their first big job.

Not any lasting impact, other than skipping a lot of details of why I stopped working there while doing interviews :P

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

I would not say that I was fired but I was made redundant in at least one role when the front end work dried up. And the CEO was far too indecisive with projects and did not know what they really wanted to achieve.