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My learning experience in a fully remote company as a Junior Developer

codegram_user profile image Codegram Originally published at codegram.com on ・6 min read

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Three years ago I decided that I wanted to change my profession and look for better opportunities. I’m an Industrial Engineer and IT was, among other sectors, the one that since the beginning drew my attention the most, in particular the world of application development. I could still remember some of my development skills from my studies at university, so I decided to give it a try and start studying a language called Ruby.

The first steps were not easy, I couldn’t understand many concepts, and my English skills back then slowed down my progress. After improving my English skills and completing some courses and books and after a lot of effort and frustration, I managed to land my first job 2 years ago.

Due to my personal situation I needed to find a remote job, but I would usually get the same answer: "with your profile you must work in the office", another unattainable job for me.

I started wondering what was the difference between talking to a person next to you, or someone on the other side of the screen when they can both hear you and see your code?. My conclusion was, after speaking with experienced remote developers, that there was none… if they really want to work with you.

My very first job wasn't remote, the office was located a 5-minute walk from my place and that's why I decided to give it a try, but in the end, it only lasted one month, a really long month. They didn't know how to work as a team, which led them to use strange work methodologies and management also had a weird relationship with the employees that thankfully, I never saw again. It wasn't a good place to start my professional career and I didn't have the feeling that anything that I did couldn't be done remotely, so I decided that my next job has to be fully remote no matter what.

During the next months, I rejected a good number of offers, where working from home with my profile was not an option. Finally, I managed to find a company where they wanted to try remote work with juniors!

It was much better than my previous experience, but it wasn't my place either. I worked for this company for more than 6 months, but we couldn’t figure out how to make it work. The company managed to sign a bunch of deals with new clients and they didn't have resources to help me to grow. I felt stuck and not performing as I would like to so we decided that it was time to move.

Those first experiences didn’t help me to clearly see my future in development, but everything changed when I joined Codegram…

The Interviews

I met the three founders, Oriol, Josep, and Txus, through 3 very pleasant and entertaining interviews that managed to get my attention for the company.

I admit that it was not the first time I heard some of the things they told to me; everyone wants to teach you and help you to improve, but there is a long way between wanting to do something and doing it. Nevertheless, the way they behaved and how openly they spoke gave me more confidence than my previous interviews, so I decided to follow their hiring process. Finally, I managed to get the job!

My first days at Codegram

The evening before my first day of work, I was eager to get started as well as worried about what I might find in this new adventure. If it went wrong, I had lost nothing, but I wanted it to go well.

The big day came and when it was over I felt I had nothing to worry about.

Day 1

For me, the hardest thing about working remotely is the feeling of being alone in front of something unknown. When I start a new job, a feeling of being lost usually invades me and the days turn into a research job. This time I had my new computer ready to start working, and in my email a document with the first tasks to be performed within the company, in addition to the name of the person who was going to help me whenever I needed it, that seemed like a dream!

Having a reference person, Arnau in my case, is very useful. Of course, there are other people I can ask for help, but, especially at the beginning, I didn't know who was the right person for different topics, or if they have a high workload and you are bothering them. In addition to this, the existence of a person who knows your defects and your strengths at work can help you to learn faster. Something I did not expect that day was a meeting with Josep and Oriol, to find out how my day had gone, it was the first time that a C-Level cared about how I felt at work. In this sector, it is very important to know if the people in your company are happy. I have know companies that have suffered massive developer losses, with the risk that this entails for their own existence.

The first day of work gives you a fairly accurate idea of what your day to day will be like and my day ended with a desire to learn more.

My first months

In my day to day, there are many concepts that I do not know, and my big problem when learning as a Junior is having too many open fronts and not knowing what I should study.

As I discover this world I am more aware of how vast it is and of everything that I do not know, which is really overwhelming, that is why I need an easy goal to achieve so as not to block myself and continue learning. I have different meetings in which I explain what I would like to improve or what is a problem for me, and in this way, I can direct my work and my learning in the same direction.

Currently, my job is to fix small bugs or add small features, without the obligation to be productive from day one, it helps me to discover new concepts and acquiring better practices in my day to day, such as learning to research, debug or manage repositories with agility.

One of the most efficient ways of learning is to alternate studying something new by working on what you have learned, for which I have 5 hours each week to study whatever interests me. Also, every 2 weeks we enjoy listening to our colleagues talk about an interesting topic, what better way to discover something new than when someone explains it to you from their own experience!

Nowadays

After 4 months I am still curious to know how much I will be able to grow here, I am learning new things and improving my coding speed, although not as fast as I would like.

After this experience, I no longer doubt my future as a developer.

Lessons learned

This is what I have learned from my experience:

  • It is possible to work as a junior remotely if the company is willing to help you.
  • Having a dedicated mentor you can turn to at any time increases your learning speed and reduces downtime.
  • Carrying out small tasks makes you aware of your strengths and weaknesses, letting you establish a more targeted training plan.
  • To learn at a higher speed, it is important not to have the obligation to be productive at the beginning, since that only frustrates you. It is more important to acquire a stable knowledge base to gain more speed over time.
  • A disgruntled worker does not learn, or does so at a reduced speed.

In short, remote work can be facilitated and also help improve your career plan, provided you are lucky enough to find a company willing to make it possible.

📌 Codegram is always looking for great talents. Visit our career page.


Cover photo by Veronika Hradilová

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