This blog talks about my experience and advice on what I consider the main challenges in your first dev job.
This is part two of a three-part blog series where I am talking about the main points of being a dev from my perspective of a self-taught web developer.
A picture I share on instagram from my first day as a developer
My first job was working for a company that built browser-based software for the shipping industry. I started as a frontend only dev but ended up becoming full stacked. I was fortunate to have some lovely colleges that mentored me a lot in the first few months.
From my experience, the first two months were just about learning the ropes. How to use git properly, get used to the code base, and interacting with other devs. It may be a different story working for an agency, where you would probably be expected to build things quicker and have less opportunity to learn new skills in your own time.
At this point, you will want to get used to your working environment by learning the do and don’ts of working in this industry, learning about your company and learning the process of doing your job.
- The first two months is just about learning the basics
- No one will expect you to do an amazing job straight away
- Don’t worry about trying to impress at this point
It’s a black sheep, get it?
Imposter syndrome is the feeling of self-doubt, and somehow you don’t deserve or belong in the position you find yourself in.
I read about imposter syndrome before I even started as a developer. Being a self-taught dev who has never attended higher education gave me imposter syndrome as soon as I started.
Getting used to working with other people was the main thing. Before I got my first job, the only time somebody else read my code was when I was showing it off in personal projects or code challenges. Now everything I wrote was getting reviewed. This would make me very nervous every time I would commit my work.
The best way to get over this, I believe, is to remember no one is perfect, and everyone you are working with are in the same boat as you. Talk to your colleagues and be honest about what you do and don’t know. For sure, they will understand because they have been in the same position, whether it was at uni or their first dev job. However, you must overcome this feeling to help with your personal development, for reasons I will talk about in the next section.
- Be honest about your skill level.
- Everyone is in the same boat.
- Your colleges have been in your situation before.
- Don’t let imposter syndrome hinder you from reaching your goals.
Replace "dangerous person" with most "best-tist developer".
In my opinion, the main focus in your first job should be your personal development as a developer. You are essentially going from a junior or intern skill level to a mid-weight level because when you get to that point, you will have so many more options in your career (This I will talk about in part three).
The best way to do this is by learning from your peers. This is why it is essential, to be honest about your skill level and overcome that imposter syndrome I mentioned in the last section. If you don't know something, say it to your colleagues or ask for help directly. There will always be someone willing to show you or help you.
Another thing you can do; when another more senior dev is reviewing your pull request, ask them to be as brutal as possible, don't let anything slide. This might be frustrating at first, but it will help you become a better developer. And people respect someone willing to learn from them.
- Your focus should be personal development
- Always ask for help and ask colleges to be brutal on pull requests
- People respect someone willing to learn and not overly cocky and proud
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Please check out the other two blogs in this three-part series. Much of what I said is from my personal experience, and I know it is just my opinion. My goal here is to give some advice and hopefully help someone going through what I went through.