Hey everyone -
Happy Monday once again. We have our 7:00 Google Meet meetup today, and I look meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.
I've spoken to a few people recently who recently accepted their first dev job, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how to make a stellar first impression and set yourself up for long term success.
The most important thing to remember is that if you're a first time software developer about to start your first full time developer role: If you've been straightforward about your experience with your employer, then you won't be expected to know it all. You'll instead be expected to learn quickly. Shifting your focus from knowing it all to learning quickly puts the pressure on something you can actually control.
When I began my first software development job - my current role - a year and a half ago, I wrote myself a list of behaviors and reviewed them daily. The list was as follows -
- Document Everything
- Save questions and find time to ask in a timely and respectful manner.
- Seek feedback daily
- Review what can be improved
Document Everything -
Taking notes makes it much easier to memorize things, as you're actively participating in your learning. Documenting things creates artifacts that you can then either save on internal wikis for the next new-hire, or ask for feedback on to confirm your understanding.
Save questions and find time to ask in a timely and respectful manner -
In the beginning of your new role, if you don't have questions on a daily basis, you're missing something. If you're not curious, get curious. Identify the people around you who can answer your questions, and then make sure that you're asking them respectfully. Schedule time if you'd like. Pay for coffee.
Seek feedback daily -
Feedback both includes "How am I doing?" but also "This is my conceptual understanding. Do you agree?" Test your understanding of things you need to understand my clearly stating it to your coworkers or manager and ask them to confirm or, or poke specific holes.
Review what can be improved -
I almost renamed this "Review what can be improved and take ownership", but that last part wasn't part of my original list.
Once you start, you are a developer on your team. You own your product as much as the senior devs on the team own your product. Behave accordingly. If you see something, say something. If, during your copious note taking, you identified a process that can be improved, improve it. Start adding value to your team as quickly as possible - because it's your job and it's your team.
To those who have recently gotten offers - congratulations. To those in the hunt, please use the recent offers of others as more fuel to your fire. Trust the process.