DEV Community

Abdul Qadir Luqman
Abdul Qadir Luqman

Posted on

Nervous on first programming job

Feeling a bit nervous on my first programming job. Also, the imposter syndrome is kicking in. Any advice for me?

Top comments (9)

tiffanywismer profile image
Tiffany Wismer

I really genuinely empathize with you. Here is what helps me when I feel the way you're feeling now:

  1. Remember that nobody expects a junior to know everything, or even most things. Focus on being easy to work with, coachable, and positive. The knowledge and confidence will come.

  2. Remember that if you don't know how to do something, you can always find out how to do it using Google or other programmers (even those outside your organization) as resources. The sum of human knowledge about programming is on the Internet, and you have access. (I know this is pretty obvious but it always helps me to remind myself of it).

  3. I get very tongue-tied and freeze up when asked to explain my code. Remember you don't always have to explain in words. You can show your coworkers or boss what you're doing or how you're working on a problem. If you're put on the spot, open your laptop and give them a demonstration.

  4. Emotions shut down the problem-solving part of your brain. If you find yourself overwhelmed by a feeling of fear that you can't solve a problem, try breathing exercises, take a walk, play Tetris for five minutes, or whatever you find helps you exit that state of anxiety.

I hope this helps!

luqman10 profile image
Abdul Qadir Luqman

Thanks very much

lozadaomr profile image
Omar Lozada

I still experience #4 even if it no longer is my first job. If possible getting a good night's rest also helps:)

georginagrey profile image
Georgina Grey

You're going to mess up eventually. But that's alright, more than alright I think is necessary.

Your most valuable experience might come from mistakes your coworkers or you will make. It might get frustrating, but be resilient and embrace failure.

You're not expected to know everything. Even if you consider yourself to be really good, be humble to recognize your deficiencies and let other people teach you.

Coding well is important but start nourishing your soft skills. Be assertive on your communication and listen to understand, not just to reply.

luqman10 profile image
Abdul Qadir Luqman

Thanks a lot

itamarst profile image
Itamar Turner-Trauring

Anytime you start a job you're going to be anxious and nervous. Still happens to me 20 years in. Lots of new stuff to learn, lots of new people to meet, you'll feel like you're not achieving much...

This is normal. With time it will pass. (At one job VP of Engineering told me it would take me six months to be fully productive.)


Know when to ask for help. Figure out how much time a task ought to take, and 30% through if you're still stuck go ask for help. Also when you do ask for help bring along a proposed solution, even if you know it's not quite right. E.g. "I think it might be this, but I can't quite prove it". Longer version:

mrlarson2007 profile image
Michael Larson

Every engineer and developer I know uses google/stackoverflow on daily basis to find answers to simple programming questions. So never feel bad about it. Most devs have been in your shoes so we know that we can't expect you to start being productive the first day you join the team. And most will ease you into things.

Even people with years of experience still get imposter syndrome. What helped me was realizing I am a smart person, if I am having a hard time understand a piece of code, it does not mean I am stupid. It most likely means the code was written badly or someone thought they where being clever. There is a lot of bad code out there in the world. It's not your fault if it is hard to understand. Even those of us with years of experience have hard time understanding it.

bgadrian profile image
Adrian B.G.

The feelings you get from the first weeks at a new job will never change, at least for me, it will happen even after you have years of experience.

Same as going on stage, you'll be always nervous, you just learn to hide/ignore/control the feelings.

Take a pen and notebook around. everywhere, you'll be bombarded with information, write everything down, recap when you have a break.

Imagine that the audience is naked, ah wait, that is from another movie.

luqman10 profile image
Abdul Qadir Luqman