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Anya Brun
Anya Brun

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My first week as a web developer

Today officially concludes the first week of my new job. I know it’s only Thursday, but I started last week on Thursday, so technically it’s been a full week. At least, I think it has but I’m not good with elapsed time. I digress…

I’m working for btwb, a company that connects CrossFit gyms across the US and provides workout programs, trackers, and analytics for both athletes and gym owners. For now, I’ll be working on their web app, using Rails and Bootstrap 5.

I haven’t gotten to know any of my coworkers very well yet, but they seem cool. It feels weird to call them coworkers, honestly. They’ve all been doing this for probably more than 10 years (not trying to offend anyone but they’re all at least 30, I’m pretty sure). I feel more like a kid on a soccer team, except I’m the only person on the soccer team and I have like 4 different coaches. And I only just started playing soccer and I’m terrible at it because I’m an asthmatic nerd (true story).

A flawed analogy, maybe, but that’s what I could think of in the moment. Honestly, my brain is fried from trying to get my machine set up for work.

It’s been a saga…

First, I downloaded the source code to my machine and tried to set up my dev environment with all the gems and tools I’d need. A couple gems in particular (first it was idn-ruby then solr) weren’t playing nicely with the M1 chip on my new laptop, so it took an entire day of reading error messages, looking up pull requests and Stack Overflow posts, trying commands that returned new errors, rinse and repeat. The senior engineer who’s basically mentoring me—Corey—did most of the legwork, of course. At one point, we had to go into the solr bin files and delete a bunch of VM options.

I could write a blog post going in-depth into what the actual errors were and how we fixed them, but it’s too soon to revisit the trauma…

On Tuesday, one of the backend devs—Ben—made a devcontainer for the dev environment, so I spent the rest of the week setting it up. In my efforts to get that working, I learned about git stash , discovered Cmd+Shift+G in Finder, and poked through the mysql folder on my machine in search of the my.cnf file. Fun Fact: it’s not provided in the mac OS installation of mysql.

Aside from technical stuff, I’ve also learned to ask stupid questions. When I was setting up my machine that first time, I deliberated for a good 10 minutes whether or not to send a message in the Slack channel. I thought that I was asking a super obvious question and my boss would figure out how dumb I was and fire me. You could say I’m a bit of a catastrophizer.

Turns out my question wasn’t that dumb, seeing as it took me and Corey (and Ben, a little) an entire day (and then some) to figure it out. If I hadn’t asked, I would be completely stuck. Kudos to the dev team for being super welcoming and willing to answer my questions; that definitely mitigates the apprehension to ask for help.

Other than trying to get my environment up and running, I’ve just been reading docs and attending meetings. I don’t have much to contribute at the moment since I’m still getting my bearings, so I mostly listen and take notes. I’m trying to absorb as much knowledge via osmosis as I can.

As for learning outside of work, I bought Justin Weiss’ book—Practicing Rails. I’ve gone through two chapters, so far, and I’ve already gotten some valuable insights.

For one, Justin suggests having a list of app types that you refer to whenever you need to quickly spin up an app to test a concept. That way, you have a list of apps that you’re familiar with (because you’ve used them to practice over and over again) so you know exactly what features you need and how to build them. He also emphasizes writing exactly the code you need for whatever feature you’re working on right now and nothing more.

The book’s overall philosophy on learning is very hands-on, which works well with my brain.

I’m also working through UCSD’s Data Structures and Algorithms specialization on Coursera—slowly, but surely.

All in all, it’s been a good first week and I’m excited for what comes next.

Top comments (20)

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ricardorojor profile image
Ricardo Rojo

Congrats for the job and don´t worry too much about been unproductive.

Is always the same with a new job. Nobody expects you to be productive the first week (or even the first month).

A couple of tips that may help you.

Read the already existing code. Take notes and try to learn how it works. If you have doubts, talk to the people and ask for help.

People usually don´t care explaining things to the new people if they see you have tried hard to understand.

It´s also important to choose the right moment to talk. If someone is busy, ask him/her when can you talk with them.

Example:

Hey Jim, i´ve been studying the code in the payments class and there are a couple of things i don´t get. Can i ask you a couple of questions when you have a few minutes?.

After a few weeks you will be able to be do more and more and in a couple of years you will be the one on the other side when someone new joins.

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

This is great advice. Thank you

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Interesting 👏👏 well started Anya

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

Thanks, Atul. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

:) keep growing

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gamerseo profile image
Gamerseo

Great post

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

Thanks!

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topitguy profile image
Pankaj Sharma

Congratulations!

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

Thank you!

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geesilu profile image
Luthira Geesilu

Best of luck!

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

Thanks 🙂

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

Thanks, I’m glad you liked it!

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samarpan1738 profile image
Samarpan Harit • Edited on

This is relatable.
It took me around 1.5 weeks to get the codebase running locally at my first job.
PS : The issue was corrupt SQL dumps

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tsbrun profile image
Anya Brun Author

🤦🏽‍♀️

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sakthivela0567 profile image
sakthi_l_u_c_i

Give some tips to get Motivated to do the coding.
I'm at my First Dev job and i feel like i'm a Imposter so what should i do to avoid that..?

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ricardorojor profile image
Ricardo Rojo

Don´t be too hard with your self.

I´ve been coding for 8 years and still feel the same some days. At the end of the day everyone goes to stackoverflow when we have doubts.

You don´t need to know every class. No one knows it. You have to take the time and effort to understand how the thinks work and learn how to resolve the problems.

Once you start to understand how the thinks work, start using what you learnt.

Copy code and modify it to add new functionality. Do that 5 times and it will stick with you. That´s how you learn, by practicing. The more you learn, the less you will feel as an imporster.

Your motivation. Don´t know. Earning money, feeding your kids, learning new things, becaming Neo.

Everyone has a different one. You have to choose yours.

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sakthivela0567 profile image
sakthi_l_u_c_i

Are you Java Developer.?
I'm new to java...
It's a total change for me...
so it has hard to change language..
do u have any effective way to study without unmotivated..
coz sometimes when i study i've been get demotivated like some error show up and i don't know what to do then i skip them..

so whats your thoughts about that any tips..?

Thread Thread
ricardorojor profile image
Ricardo Rojo

To learn a new lenguage.

Watch tutorials in youtube or any course in udemy or similar website. Don´t just look, build the same thing they are building in the course.

After that, start making small modifications in the code to learn how it works.

If something fails the best place to find help is stackoverflow.com.

Usually you don´t even need to go there, just copy/paste the error in google and google will send you to the answers to that problem there.

Don´t just ask. Say what you have tried, write your code and take your time to make it easy for people to help you. Saying thanks after someone has tried to help you is a superpower.

About motivation. That depends on you. Find a goal for you in 1 year. Find a goal to 5 years and work toward them.

Do you want to work and earn money? Do you want to become the next Elon Musk? Do you want to have kids and take care of them?

Find a goal, print it and place it in front of you so everytime you raise your head from the computer you can see your goal.

Good luck. I think you can do amazing things. Just need to find your goal and go for it.

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rmoulay profile image
Rahm Moulay

I hope the best for you my dear.

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