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Justin Chau
Justin Chau

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The Best Way To Learn on the Job

I've been in the industry now for 2 years after getting my first job as a Developer Support Engineer at Plaid. I never knew what to expect but I knew that I still had a lot to learn. As a self-taught developer, there are naturally some gaps in my knowledge that I need to fill. The question I asked myself so much is "how in the hell am I going to learn all this?".

Being brand new to the role and the industry, I came in already overthinking every aspect of the job and feeling like there was this high expectation to deliver that I needed to hit. But I found out very early on what I had to do in order to fill in the gaps and bring as much impact as possible to the team!

And that was to:

Leverage Your Co-Workers!

There was an invaluable resource readily available to me that I completely overlooked.. And that was my co-workers. These are individuals that have been in the trenches way longer than I have! They have seen and done the things I dreamt of doing so I started to leverage them and became a sponge, soaking up as much knowledge as I could.

I asked them questions whenever I could. Being an introvert myself, it was hard at first to get out of my comfort zone and actually talk to people. Yes.. weird I know but I do suffer from social anxiety. Over the years, I have learned to somewhat overcome this. I'd love to tackle this in another blog post if people are interested!

Becoming a Sponge

Anytime I struggled on a certain bug/problem, I asked in related Slack channels so individuals from that respective team could give me an answer. If it still wasn't clear, I'd keep poking until I understood. Eventually I identified the people that explained certain concepts in a way I could understand and were willing to hop on calls to explain them further.

Those are the people I'd naturally gravitate towards and who I have learned from the most. Without them, it would've taken me even longer to learn something either from scratch or sifting through StackOverflow questions.


Moral of the story here is to use the resources that are right in front of you. It might seem intimidating at first (and trust me, I still get anxiety doing it now), but it will be the best thing you'll ever do.

In March of 2022, I started a new role as a Developer Advocate at Airbyte, making the transition from more of a Frontend focus to a Data Engineering focus. This in itself is one of the biggest challenges I am currently going through. But being surrounded by Data Engineers and Data Analysts, I know I will get through this 😉

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Hit me up on Twitter if ya have any questions and to see when a new blog post comes out! See ya in the next one 🙏🏽

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