[AskDev] How do You get Started?

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As of today, I'm completing my first week of a summer internship, and I've spent ~90% of my time just getting "set up". This means installing personal and company dev tools, understanding relevant codebases, and most importantly, troubleshooting when setup isn't working.

It's been pretty difficult, and I'm sure there's ways to improve my experience.

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What are some things you suggest someone do when joining a new company, a new team, or even a new project?

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Ask lots of questions! Senior devs understand the pain and will not judge you for having issues. (And anyone who might judge you is just an asshole. That's their problem, not yours.)

Installing is a pretty classic "debugging" problem in a way. My tip is to not forget to read the error messages! Sometimes you get a stack dump and it's overwhelming so you just blindly Google it. Do this, but don't forget to read too!

 

I agree with Ben - asking questions will help a ton. And not just tactical/technical problem solving... Ask if there's internal documentation, an internal wiki, ask where folks recommend you start, ask for recommended reading, etc

Beyond that may depend some on your internship. Are you coming in to work on a particular project? If so, do you understand what that project is and what you're going to need to do to tackle it?

If not, it's worth talking with your manager/lead/senior buddy/whoever has been labeled as your go-to person (and if you don't have one of these, ask for one!) about what you should be aiming to accomplish during your internship.

 

Document the problems you've had with setup and how you fixed or worked around them. If there isn't an intranet, internal wiki, or even just a README, create one. Every single person who joins the company after you will thank you for it. You'll thank yourself for it if you stick around long enough and have to stage a replacement machine/someone else's machine/a server.

 

Yeah it's normal... But you should ask for help from your senior colleagues.

The troubleshooting part is, unfortunately, "normal". Things are gonna keep on breaking and you will need to keep on fixing them. You will get used to that because that never ends :D

Remember that persistence is the key in the IT sector. You need to not give up. Keep on trying and asking for help. You will feel AWESOME when things work out fine!

Hang in there :D

 

Ask someone to give you a walk through of the code, and overview of the domain, talk about the terms used and what they mean, etc.

Find the simplest patch you can make (ie. improve the README!) and do whatever the team/company does for that process.

Then, ask for a bug to work on. Something not time sensitive. Bugs are a great way to force you to use the app, dig around a bit, get familiar, and let you make contributions without having to start off deciding how to implement something new.

And as others have said.. ask ask ask.

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Sishaar Rao profile image
Hello! My name is Sishaar Rao, and I'm currently at UC Berkeley studying EECS! I love watching movies, eating Taco Bell, and completing 20% of an idea for a product before moving on to something new!