Jumping into a tech career is scary and I admit I was so nervous starting my first job in software engineering.
Am I good enough? Do I remember how to do everything I was taught in school? What if I'm asked to do something that I haven't learned yet? What if it takes me a long time to finish my code?
Technology is such a big field and you're left wondering how you can ever be prepared enough for your role. Reality is you're never going to be prepared enough, just go and start learning as you go! My first year taught me a lot and I hope some of these tips and tricks can get you started if you're thinking about going into software development.
1. It takes months to fully transition and it's ok to feel like you know nothing
It's both exciting and nerve-wracking to start a new position. Yes to all the fun, exciting projects to come but also yikes, there's a lot to catch up on and a ton of learning to do! Can you do it all? The answer is yes you can, but probably not right away and that's ok. I've seen engineers even at the principal and senior level take months to fully get into the full swing of things. You have to learn the team dynamics, processes and the code base all at the same time. The team knows it takes time to do all this because they too have been in your same position before! Just be patient and ask lots of questions and you'll get there in no time 😊
2. Ask for examples
If you're unsure how to design or code something, the best way to learn is to ask for an example. Whatever you're being asked to do, most likely something similar has been done before either within your team or another team. This is a great guide to start you off if you're unsure how to begin. In addition, you're able to see the best practices your team follows to make sure your code follows the same structure to avoid having to refactor later on when your code gets reviewed.
3. Googles got your back!
If all fails and the examples aren't helping, don't panic because there's always Google to help you out! You see the memes about Stack Overflow and how development is essentially "professional googling". Although this is not 100% true, the internet has tons of resources to help you out. If you run into an error, you probably aren't the first one to come across it. Put it in the google search. Or maybe it's been a while since you've coded in a language and you forgot how the syntax is supposed to look, a quick Google search will get you the answer. In addition, websites like Lynda, Udemy, and Codeacademy have a ton of tutorials to help you get started in learning any new languages or frameworks.
4. Time balancing is hard - You're going to want to prove yourself
As a new member on the team, it's hard to say no to a task. I'm over a year into my role and it's still hard for me to find that ideal work-life balance. We all want to hustle as the new member to prove ourselves and get onto the level of the rest of your team members. So whenever my manager asks if I can do something, I want to say yes even though I have a ton to get through on my to-do list already. I don't want to seem incapable but I've learned that it's ok to say no if you already have too much on your plate. It looks better to do less but do a really good job at it than overpromise and not get it done. It's also important to enjoy your life while you're young and not burn out!
When looking for my first full-time technology job, I didn't really have anyone to let me know what to expect. With this blog, I really wanted to dedicate a part of it to help lead those who were in the same position I am. I can't believe it's been a whole year already and I love every single minute of it! Hoping I can convince you all to join this coding world of mine 😜
From 👩🏻💻with 💖,