Observations from the first month as a developer

tuzgai posted at

Hello again! It's been a bit, I must have messed up my heroku configuration - this site has been down but I just haven't had the gumption to work out what was wrong. Of course, when I settle in to fix it it takes literally five minutes. v0v

So! I've been working as a software developer for a little over a month and just wanted to share some of my observations.

1. Getting started is totally overwhelming, but that's ok - no one expects a junior developer to know everything. It was a week before I even wrote a line of code, before that I spent my time getting my environment set up, waiting for an intelliJ license, and reading up on the architecture of our particular part of the puzzle

2. Working on a full-size enterprise website is a totally different experience from writing little class sites! I'm on the GCP subteam of the Search team - I basically only touch Apache Beam pipelines from day to day, and our team of 30 people just handles the search feature. We have crazy automated test and deployment pipelines - these are powerful and exciting, but I also have spent more time working on tooling issues than I ever expected. 

3. Read a book! I'm so used to all the information for everything being available for free online that I forgot that actually having things organized in a instructional format is really valuable, especially for mastering hard topics. We have a book club reading the O'Reilly book Streaming Systems, and every chapter has made me better at my job.

4. Imposter system is real, everyone deals with it - you're doing better than you think. I had my first 1:1 with my manager last week. I had been feeling like I was doing sort of OK, struggling to keep up and needing to ask a lot of questions to get things done. My review was "we're really impressed that you've been able to jump in and get up to speed so quickly". Even my team lead will sometimes after architecture discussions, come back with written notes to show he'd also been thinking about these things. It's ok guy! We know you're smart and working hard, you don't have to prove it.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Obviously try to find the answer for yourself over wasting anyone's time, but it's totally fine to ask for help - I do it every day and never regret it.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm excited that the whole new career plan worked and so far the job is going well! It's still a little stressful every day and I'm impatient to know everything but it's cool to be actually doing the work.