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Martin Staudt
Martin Staudt

Posted on • Originally published at Medium

What I learned joining a Team of coders

I first started writing code 11 years ago at the age of 14. I joined some other teenagers who where building a browser game at that time and I was super hyped about it, because I always wanted to build a game myself.
I remember a Sunday in early 2009, where I wanted to make a change to the navigation of the browser game and nobody was there to help me with that, so I just started messing around with the code, that was in front of me, having no Idea what I was doing.
I felt so proud when I managed to add a new item to that navigation.

Fast forward a few years, I had decent coding knowledge, started to study “praktische Informatik” (roughly translates to applied computer science) at HTW Saarbrücken but soon dropped out again, since it was too theoretical for me. Soon after, I started to work at the marketing agency of a friend of mine. At that time we were just a team of two people. There was my friend, who had knowledge of how to design stationary, ads, photography and how to build WordPress websites with themes. And there was me, a self-taught developer with profound knowledge of writing code, design patterns, etc.

Working in an environment where, as a coder your goals and standards weren’t really understood and appreciated is exhausting. I tried to convince my friend to raise the quality of our work, to make us get bigger opportunities and projects, but he did not necessarily want that and in the end we had different visions.

So in September 2017, after working 3 years at the agency, I decided, that it was time for a change. Since I am highly insecure about my own skills, I needed another friend of mine to help me out writing and sending job applications. I sent out some applications which all resulted in me getting invited to job interviews. I canceled almost all of them because at that time I already had 3 job offers, so it was for me to decide where I wanted to work.

Having mainly worked with PHP, MySQL, HTML & CSS (and a bit of jQuery for some “fancy animation” stuff) my whole life, I was skeptical, that I had job offers for positions, where I would mainly be working with JavaScript Frameworks like React and AngularJS. But I decided to choose the job as a Fronted-Developer with the focus on AngularJS anyway.

At first I felt completely overwhelmed by the entirely new work environment and workflows. Version control, automated tasks, a complete new IDE to work with and many other people who knew stuff about coding. It was strange, it was different, it was awesome!

The company that I work for is a SaaS company covering every development aspect from client to back end and front end to cloud infrastructure, etc. So obviously there is a broad range of developers with different levels of knowledge in different languages, frameworks, and technologies. What I learned is, what for me is the most basic in HTML, CSS and JavaScript — things, which I even would consider common knowledge — is absolutely foreign and probably really hard for, let’s say, a client developer, who works with C# and .NET Core.

This made me finally realize, that maybe my work is valuable and not that simple at all in the end and that every department of software development has their own struggles and doesn’t necessarily know everything or needs to know everything.

Also there are developers of so many different levels of knowledge and everyone of them has different standards on what they want to achieve with the code they are writing. There is a place for developers who only know how to install a WordPress theme and make superficial changes to that theme, and so there is also a place for developers with so much in-depth knowledge and experience, that it is way above my head. But what we can take away from that is, that there is a need for all of us developers, no matter how skilled we are. It just depends on the industry we want to work in.

Have you made similar experiences? What are your thoughts? I will happily read all of them.

Top comments (3)

simonholdorf profile image
Simon Holdorf

Hey Martin,

thanks for sharing your story. I think many people can relate to what you are writing. It's always difficult to start in a new environment with many "smart" people. But those people have been where you are so it's up to them to integrate you and make you feel comfortable.

It's also a very inspiring story and I really liked reading it :)

martinstaudt profile image
Martin Staudt

Thank you! That's the reason why I shared it. Hoping to inspire others to not feel so bad about their own knowledge and skills and maybe get out of their comfort zone and apply to that dream job.

moonbe77 profile image
Bernardo Munz

I loved this, i'm just in this very not comfortable position about to start applying to jobs and also feel very insecure. What you wrote is very inspiring, thanks for sharing.