How to survive in a new developer’s job? Part 1

photo_2799_20081228 Are you starting your developer’s career? You stand 50% chance of losing this job within the first two years, the study revealed. Surprisingly, many great and talented people fail. I can imagine that after so many years of studying you don’t feel like getting fired. More importantly, it’s becoming the place you start spending 1/3 of your life at. You try to make yourself comfortable here and make other people feel the same with you around. How to settle yourself smoothly into the job? How to win colleagues’ respect?

1. You have only 1 chance to make a good first impression.

It’s very easy to make a very negative impression on your colleagues and the reputation may linger through the entire time you are at the company. Try to show positive and enthusiastic attitude at the very beginning. They need to see someone they really can’t wait to start working with. In one of my previous posts I presented all the qualities a good software developer should have from both the colleagues’ and managers point of view.

2. Be aware of slight changes in the job description

What you heard at the interview may not exactly be what you will find in your current job description. Don’t be disappointed by being given some extra duties, though. What you heard talking to your manager may not be a very accurate summary of a duties description and many aspects are usually omitted since there is no time to go into much detail at this stage. The interviewers usually paint a very general picture of the situation. So try to accept additional aspects of the coder’s role like using an internal project management application for scheduling and registering hours, which may be a separate job in itself.

3. Make sure you know what they expect

On your first day you will probably have  a few meetings with your managers and HR. Ask questions about the company life, duties, the scope of responsibility and the career path. Find out what they expect you to accomplish in the first few months in the , set some goals for yourself as well. They will be eventually verified at the performance review so you need to know how you will be judged and based on what criteria. If you are not handed an official document summarizing the talk you should prepare a rough summary of the discussion and send the email to the manager. If you are ambitious and hope for some career path don’t be afraid to ask about the future of the company and your role in it.

4. Don’t assume you know everything

We can see on your CV  that you’ve  just graduated from some IT department and you’re clever. But at this stage of your life you are still a newbie in this crazy IT business world and you don’t even realize how much you don’t know so try not to show know-it-all attitude. You may have a brilliant idea but share it and discuss with more experienced colleagues before implementing it. You may have overlooked some very important aspects that could later affect the whole application.

5.Don’t be afraid to ask more senior colleagues for support or opinion.

The fact that you are asking doesn’t mean you are an incompetent or unqualified developer.  When you ask questions you demonstrate your great communication skills and prove that you can put your pride in the pocket. It shows you care more about the well-being of the project than your own reputation of an expert. Even the most senior coders consult each other and discuss on a daily basis. It helps digest certain ideas and triggers creative thinking. It’s teamwork not your private little war. Try to take advantage of other people’s knowledge and make use of it. Ask for code review and extra training if needed.

6. Appreciate the support

The guys who support you in your daily struggle and answer all the most basic and obvious questions have to be really patient not to get irritated with you easily. They also have their own job that they have to make up for after spending time on helping you. You obviously settle more smoothly into a new job if you have a “buddy”, “a mentor” assigned to you in the first weeks of employment, whose role is to guide you throughout the probation But always make sure this is a good time asking for help, maybe they are working on something absolutely crucial at this very moment. So don’t take offense if they say no and say “thank you” afterward as you may be a real pain in the neck sometimes 🙂 What are your tips for developers who just start their professional career or more experienced ones who just changed the employer? Feel free to leave a comment.