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Samuel Cruz
Samuel Cruz

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Surviving your first months as a developer in a company

So, you decided to start programming, done some courses, created a few projects, and you want to find your first developer job. That's great! I'm glad you survived so far, now let me tell you some stuff you don't learn in programming courses.

I was a freelance developer for a little more than a year, made some money with that, but decided to get a job in a real company in order to learn more and build up experience, and when I did get the job, I was shocked. It may or may not sound like an exaggeration, but it is, in fact, a whole new world. All of sudden you can't see your own programming patterns anymore, weird documentation, new technologies you've never used before and doesn't even know where to start, so you ask yourself: what the f***?

You're still glad you got the job but now you want to run away and embrace your dearest impostor's syndrome, but do not fear, the initial panic is part of the job.

When a company hires a junior-middle level developer, it already knows what's going to happen, and trust me, they did not hire you because they think you're a genius, so let's get this out of the way, you're surely spending your first few weeks praying to god for your own survival, and that's fine. Focus on asking questions, learning the tecnologies through observation and/or pre-planned exercises the CTO has created for this sort of situation, and try not to get too proud of yourself because at this point you probably haven't seen the company's whole structure yet. Nevertheless, do your best to stay calm, you're not supposed to become the company's next senior developer in a short period of time, what you are supposed to do is learn, and that's what you will be doing for the next years of your life, until you're finally ready to lead and create huge things from scratch. So don't worry about the pressure, talk to your supervisor, ask for help, ask all the questions you need to, even if they sound stupid. No one thinks you're dumb or ignorant, unless, of course, you refuse to learn. Your first months are pretty much like going to college, except you get paid to do it, so enjoy it while you can. Programming gets harder with time, and soon you'll be able to do way more than the average junior level programmer, which is why you'll also get paid way more for your work. Also, don't ever think becoming a better programmer means you'll be less frustrated, frustration is a necessary part of being a problem solver, so the quicker you get fond to the process of finding a problem, getting stuck in it and grinding to find solutions, the quicker you'll evolve.

Top comments (2)

cariehl profile image
Cooper Riehl

+1 for "focus on asking questions". This was the most valuable skill I had to learn when starting at my first company. Good developers ask questions early and often.

If you don't understand a function/library/pattern, you'll most likely end up using it incorrectly. This introduces bugs into your program that will eventually have to be fixed, and the cost of fixing a bug is almost always higher than the cost of a coworker explaining something to you.

Even if you think your question is "dumb", or you're 80% confident you already know the answer, ask a coworker for confirmation anyway. You'll bump your 80% confidence up to 99% confidence, and your coworkers will see you as an invested member of the team. Win-win!

madza profile image

asking questions

One of the most fundamental skills that should be put in resume, instead of 10 frameworks you know like 1/5 anyways 😉