Fast-forward 9 months into my studies, and I contacted an old high school friend about something completely unrelated to programming, but mentioned I was learning how to code and that I had lost touch with most people because of it. The next day, she asked me if I was interested in a part-time, remote Jr. Web Developer position. I obviously accepted. I have to admit, I was pretty lucky, but at that point, I had been doing Colt Steele's Web Developer Bootcamp course on Udemy and I had had a definitive boost in confidence. So I felt like I could do any job even if I was confronted with something I had never tried before, which was obviously what happened.
While going through the onboarding process, I was being told about all of the different projects that I could get assigned to in the future, and was obviously really excited to prove myself. My first assignment however, was a huge challenge and, one month into the job, it's something that I'm still struggling with. My first two assignments where two different webpage designs. The website was built in Drupal 7 and my supervisor wanted me to get acquainted with it first because eventually we're going to have to migrate it into Drupal 8.
I was told that the other developers weren't too fond of Drupal and my supervisor herself dreaded it. I saw it as an opportunity to stand out, but not without its fair share of obstacles. On my first day of work, I probably sat for 30 minutes staring at the computer screen not knowing where to get started. After 30 minutes of fetal position crying, I decided to ask my supervisor for some guidance, I was really honest with her, and I asked her for some resources to help me be on my way. She pointed me to the Drupal Theming Docs, but that was a dead end, so I asked again, and tried different things until I started searching for tutorials myself and going through things and figuring them out. My supervisor gave me lots of advice and threw me some hints here and there, but I tried to be prudent with asking for help because I know she has her own work to do.
On the second week of work, I was still studying and watching tutorials, and I have to admit that the pressure got real really fast. I had always assumed that because I was studying, I had space to fail because it was normal and I would not let Imposter Syndrome get the best of me. However, on that first week of work, I felt it. I started feeling like I wasn't really good enough at this and that I there would always be some kind of unreachable knowledge that I wouldn't ever get to grasp. But I pushed on, and eventually, I made a few experiments here and there, and finally got some work out. It was at that moment that I felt redeemed. I would be alright after all.
The next couple of weeks flowed somewhat in the same manner, as I was designing the webpage I was assigned, I came across obstacles that I had to think through and fix by trying things out and analyzing what was going on.
To conclude my little anecdote, I'm going to list a few of the things that I have learned throughout my first month as a Web Dev.
This is going to sound cliché, but syntax isn't as important as having the analytical skills to take a problem, break it into smaller bits and going through it little by little, it really helps you organize what you're doing and helps you get less anxious when tackling issues and tasks.
Using the console is really important because you want to know how the Web Environment is reacting differently from your local server.
Git is such and important skill to have, and knowing how to use it as part of a team instead of just your typical git add, git commit and git push will help you go a long way.
Know what questions to ask and be considerate of other people's time. Also, make sure you thank someone after they help you, and at the end of the week, let them know how much it helped you get through the week.
Sometimes, even if you feel like you're not doing anything at all, if you have any ideas of how you can solve them, but you're not sure, make sure you give those ideas to be expanded on, it might not work, but you'll probably figure out something that will.
Breaks are important, sleep is important, family is important. Make sure that you're keeping yourself healthy because that's going to help you perform better.
If you've been tackling a bug or any problems with your code for hours on end, just take a break, or sleep on it. I've probably already lost count of how many times I've spent a long time trying to fix something, left it until the next day, and figured it out in seconds.
Remember to enjoy what you're doing, if you're not enjoying it, you're either missing something or there's something else for you out there.
Soft skills are as critical as technical skills for a software engineer. No one works in isolation. Each person has to deal with teammates, colleagues, managers, etc. Therefore team interpersonal skills are essential too. Soft skills include things like good communication, honesty, teamwork, integrity, organization, empathy, etc.