What to Expect When You Start Your First Developer Job and How to Get Over It

Your first developer job is in the bag! Congratulations! After a tough interviewing process, you've been hired as a junior developer.

 

Your developer career path is about to begin, but you'll also find a few challenges along the way.

 

As a junior developer, you will most likely face four common challenges in your first job, so let's look at how you can conquer them.

 

1. You must work with new technologies.

 

 

As you started the job, you realize that despite being hired based on your JavaScript skills, you only know a fraction of the code you have to work with. 

 

Library and language mix that you don't know. 

 

Despite the fact that the code is all in JavaScript, a huge percentage of it is beyond your level of expertise.

 

You're feeling stressed, and you're wondering if you'll be able to succeed.

 

Your hiring manager has been evaluating your technical (and soft) skills carefully and decided you're a good fit for the job after you've passed all the interviews and been hired. 

 

You are not expected to be familiar with all of the technology used by your team as a junior developer.

 

They do anticipate that you will be able to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.

 

You should read the documentation for unfamiliar technologies and libraries as soon as you encounter them.

 

By understanding the technology, you will be able to know where to begin.

 

Many libraries and modules lack proper documentation.

 

Fortunately, workarounds can still be found.

 

Another option is to collaborate with a senior developer on your team.

 

If nobody on your team is free, look for a mentor who is knowledgeable about the new tech you need to understand.

 

By guiding you through the most important aspects of your job, they will be able to speed up your learning. 

 

2. Your code doesn't fit with the existing company code.

 

 

You've opened a pull request for code review, and you're convinced of it. 

 

As you can see from the comments, your code is incompatible with the company's existing codebase.

 

Despite your confidence in the code, the critiques feel discouraging to you.

 

When developers join a team with established conventions, regardless of their seniority or level of experience, they face this challenge.

 

Senior developers have gained more experience over time, so they are generally ready and willing to take on this type of challenge.

 

It would be ideal if you could review and follow your company's complete code style guide so that your coding style matches the team's style.

 

Despite this, not all businesses have complete documentation.

 

Even if your company does not have a style guide, almost every mentor advised junior developers in this position to always ask questions.

 

Ask more experienced developers in a series of (relevant) questions and observations.

 

It's important to ask questions to let other developers know what you don't understand and how they can assist.

 

3. A lack of direction in the project frustrates you.

 

 

After hours of coding on a specific feature, the next project meeting announces that the project is changing direction.

 

It will require you to adjust your code or start all over again.

 

"Okay," you think, "this should only be a one-time thing." But it isn't. 

 

It's getting to the point where you're not sure what to do because project directions are constantly changing over the next few weeks.

 

It is common for projects in a working environment to scope shift and change as they develop, unlike in a classroom where the goals are clearly defined.

 

The first step in determining why you don't understand the overarching project goal or are puzzled by a lack of clear project direction is to ensure that you haven't been left behind. 

 

It is not uncommon for team leaders and other team members who are already familiar with a project's goal to fail to introduce it to new team members.

 

You should ask your manager or team leader about the project's main goal and roadmap in these situations. 

 

This will help put each decision into perspective and show how it relates to the long-term goal.

 

However, a lack of communication is not the only reason for a lack of clear project direction.

 

This is frequently caused by shifting company priorities, client specifications, or other factors that are simply out of your control.

 

A junior developer is powerless to change this.

 

Maintaining communication with team members, managers, or clients, as well as staying up to date on any changes of direction, can help you avoid being caught off guard by decisions.

 

4. Keeping up with new technology can be difficult.

 

 

You've been working at the company for a while now, and it's becoming easier to stay on top of things.

 

But just when you want to take a break from working on catch-up, there's a new project to handle.

 

After a while of working, you're starting to feel more at ease.

 

Then a new project arrives, and the library starts major changes.

 

You can no longer spend a lot of time learning new technologies as you did when you were a student.

 

Is it possible for you to be like the senior developers on your team who deal with technology updates gracefully?

 

In your role as a developer, it is your responsibility to keep up with the latest technologies.

 

You can research and learn how to use a new tool or update for 30 minutes or an hour every day if it's an update or tool you find relatively easy to learn.

 

If this is a tool that's familiar to senior developers, you might ask them for guidance.

 

SUMMARY

 

Your mindset, approach, and learning style will need to change as you transition to new working environments and thrive as a developer.

 

With every new challenge you encounter, you will gain more technical expertise and professional maturity.

 

Developing your skills as a developer will help you learn when to get help, ask the right questions, and find the right resources.

 

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Author

Millie Sarcos
Lead Headhunter
Work with world leading tech companies from the Philippines

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