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Gift Egwuenu
Gift Egwuenu

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What was your first year as developer/designer like? Got any advice?

Hi there 👋

A lot of developers tend to struggle in their first year, either with staying consistent as learners or finding their first jobs.

Personally, I had a fair share of my own struggle from deciding what technology was best to start learning to finding the right fit for me in terms of my career.

So I will love to hear from other experienced developers and designers what their experience was like and I feel it'll help beginners just getting into tech feel they are on the right track and it's only normal to feel a certain way.

Top comments (14)

clintdev profile image
Clint Maruti • Edited

I am in my second year as a developer. Initially, I was stack in tutorial hell. I was flipping through different tutorials and when it came to developing a real app, I was stack. I forgot about what I learnt through all the tutorials I was going through. Frustrated and dissapointed, I kept thinking, may be this is not the right path for me. Later on, I decided to enroll into Andela's Bootcamp, that's where I found hope. Through the guidance and mentorship from the learning facilitators, I was able to focus on one niche. I built my first API, wrote the documentation using Swagger then hosted it on Heroku. What joy I felt. Later, I was recruited in as a fellow. If I had not taken that step in joining the bootcamp, I would probably have given up on my journey as a developer

lauragift21 profile image
Gift Egwuenu

I totally understand this. I was also in your shoes until I decided to just stick to one technology and learn that extensively. No back and forth and that helped.

buphmin profile image

My first year was interesting so we had an idea of tool for managing data feed submissions for product advertising but me and this other guy had almost no coding experience. We compiled a list of best practices, researched symfony, job queues, scalable design, etc. Over a year of dev and we made it happen. So suffice to say we learned a lot. Looking back it is crazy how much we learned. It's one thing to build a website, it's another to build a web application that integrates with many third party apis scalable queues to handle massive amounts of data.

mr_mig_by profile image
Alexey Migutsky

Here are some things which are crucial for your faster growth (both in skills and confidence):

  1. Find someone experienced you can trust enough to ask “stupid questions”

  2. Ask people how they made decisions, found the root cause or what principles they use and why.

  3. Join both offline and online communities where you can ask questions and ask for help freely.

marcelocajueiro profile image
Marcelo Cajueiro

It was in 2010. I was public server at the post office (that is a good thing for a 20 year old Brazilian guy).

I was at the college doing Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology.

In the winter vacation I did a Ruby on Rails course. It was superficial.

One day I saw a remote job to work for a Startup. I thought "I am too junior for that" but I listed to a friend who said "It is your chance, Man. Just do it." And I did it.

I started noob as hell doing a lot of code smells and anti-patterns. I was "alone" in the project. The other developers just wanted to deliver their job in other project so I was assigned to work without guidance.

It was very important to me because I learned to experiment, to take risks, to accept that the code is awful in the very beginning and that I can put a lot of effort if I want to become better on what I do faster.

6 months later I dropped out of college because I was learning so much more alone.

Almost 11 months later I was receiving proposals from other companies. It was great but with a lot of stress. I would do it everything again!

dillionmegida profile image
Dillion Megida • Edited

My first year as a developer was 2017, when I was introduced to HTML and CSS.

I experienced challenges such as network, power supply and my PC battery was bad. Being consistent wasn't really easy, but what motivated me was the things I saw people creating on websites and I felt, I could do this too.

I would go around looking for power, and instead of watching movies, I'd learn and write some codes. The next day, I would continue in my pursuit for power.

Few months later I was introcued to FreeCodeCamp. I also downloaded Sololearn app.

From HTML and CSS, I went to JS.

Down the road till now, I'd say that me keeping at being a developer despite the circumstances, was really a great choice.

My advice is,
Being a developer is sometimes frustrating and discouraging especially as a beginner, but when you know what you are aiming towards, you'll surely get there.

ndhlamini profile image

Hi Dillion, I just joined this amazing community and reading what you wrote i felt I needed to hear this words as I'm also doing my first year in software engineering. Thank you for sharing your journey, it made an impact in my life🙌.

dillionmegida profile image
Dillion Megida

I'm glad sharing my experience was helpful, you're welcome 😇

integerman profile image
Matt Eland

My first year was in 2006. The economy was not doing well and nobody wanted to hire me, despite having coded for the past 20 years and graduating with a 4.0 GPA. I eventually got a Java job as a contractor at a large telecommunications company writing back-end automated systems.

I discovered pretty quickly that the culture didn't like contractors, that the organization had done massive waves of layoffs in the past, and that the recruiter who placed me there was pocketing an immense amount of my billable rate. I wasn't happy, but I liked my boss and coworkers.

6 months in, the recruiter who placed me auto-renewed my contract at the same billable rate for me without discussing it with me first. My boss gave notice and moved to a startup and recommended I take a look at a .NET startup he encountered while interviewing.

I left and have largely avoided recruiters since. I loved the .NET role and serving a smaller company and was almost immediately promoted from junior dev to a mid-level developer role with a nice salary bump to boot. The rest of the year was full of late nights and some weekends with the occasional trade show or major demo we were involved with as we tried to gain traction.

So, in summary, my first job made me feel small, unwelcome, and betrayed by the recruiting industry, and it was hard to see myself in the business world, but I kept at it until I found something better. It was a lot more work, but it was a lot more fulfilling as well, and I loved every minute of it.

I wrote a bit more about that adjustment process earlier.

nickhodges profile image
Nick Hodges • Edited

My first year as a developer was pretty fraught with peer-pressure, homework, thinking about girls, and learning to write text-based adventure games.

It was 1974 and I was in the 7th grade. My math teacher, Mr. Schulte, taught us BASIC, which was well-named in retrospect. I'm talking

20 LET B = 3
30 LET C = A + B

I remember when we discovered GOSUB. It was a revelation.

I remember hearing about Pascal, how it didn't have line numbers, and thinking "That's impossible -- how could that possibly work?"

I remember sticking the handset of the phone into the modem coupler after dialing up a computer at the University of Minnesota.

I remember punch tape and the "Ka-chunk Ka-chunk" of the TTY terminal.

I remember waiting breathlessly for the paper to advance so we could see if we survived the next round of the original Oregon Trail game.

I remember it being fun as hell.

eddyekofo94 profile image
Eddy Ekofo

Learn Design Patterns (for OOP, SOLID principles). This was the make and break for me. This will make your code maintainable or not. Learn to work on a team, Learn the Agile tools which your team uses (e.g. Jira, BitBucket, GitHub etc.). Finally, read and learn of the best principles in your domain. For me, as a C++ developers, my biggest was learning to smart pointers and avoid segmentation faults etc. which is the equivalent to NullPointerException in Java. There are more but in brief this was what helped me jumped over many hurdles and still helps me. God bless.

waqar903 profile image
waqar903 • Edited

Well, at my time i just picked Web Development by considering it easy to learn.. but i didn't know that it is like a dead sea..! so from that time to current time i am still learning it and enjoying it..
that's it

peledzohar profile image
Zohar Peled

My first year working as a developer (1999) was actually kinda great. I was working in a small startup with some really nice and friendly people (including both owners). They helped me learn all the new technologies that I needed for that work and no matter what problem I encounter, they helped me find the solution to it.
However, I did have some very different first years, working for other companies, with people that I can't even imagine being their friend. I guess I was lucky.

All that being said, if I can offer just one tip for the brand new developer - it would be this one:

In this line of work, you never stop learning new things, and the only way you are going to actually learn them is to write code. The only way for code-writing knowledge to find it's way from the internet or programming books into your brain is through your fingers.

elfalem profile image