Shashwat Jolly
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thejollyblog

What to do and NOT to do at your first job as a software developer ๐Ÿ’ป

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Shashwat Jolly
ยทMay 25, 2022ยท

3 min read

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I joined Microsoft in January, 2021. With this being my first job, I have learnt things along the course of the last year and a half. I've learnt what a new hire at a tech company should do, and equally (maybe more) importantly, I've learnt what we should not do.

Here are some of my learnings:

  1. Try to stand out ๐Ÿง

    It can be our natural tendency to try and blend into a new environment (evolution or something, idk). Going against that feeling can be the factor that differentiates you from the herd.

    Two easy ways to stand out: documentation and tech talks. Writing documentation for something that needs it, but what the team hasn't gotten around to yet can be really helpful for the team. Also, since you're new, you will ramp up on the frameworks, technologies and pipelines being used by the team. Try to organize tech talks for the same and record them. They might not be useful for your team right now, but they sure will be when your team hires someone new.

    While you're still new and fresh to everything, try to look at overlooked areas, pieces of code that need refactoring, low-hanging fruits that had been pushed to the team's backlog months ago and try to work on them. This will show initiative and make your colleagues take notice.

    Having that extra oomph to your work is what it's about!

  2. Do not remain silent ๐Ÿคซ

    We are naturally uncomfortable when we join a new company. It is often the case that we feel that we shouldn't speak up when we feel something is wrong, or if we do not know how to do something. For me, it comes from my shyness, but for you, it might come from a feeling of nervousness, anxiety or introversion.

    Staying silent in such scenarios is detrimental to you and to the company you just started working for. You miss out on potential opportunities for learning, taking the lead or standing out. The company misses out on your unique perspectives, and it might even be that you take more time to do something that shouldn't have been so difficult. I've seen that senior devs are incredibly helpful in general. When you ask them questions, they realize that they should have answered them pre-emptively i.e. those were good questions. It is just that they have been working with the tools for so long, they forgot the nitty-gritty details of using them for the first time. It became intuitive to them, and so will it become to you!

    Having said that...

  3. Don't be too annoying ๐Ÿ˜’

    This is good life advice in general tbh :P. But specifically, I mean to say, don't ask easy questions. I kind of disagree with the phrase "there are no stupid questions". Objectively, there aren't. But, I'd say questions which you haven't tried finding the answers to are wrong questions. Do your research, google that error, find that git command yourself. Then if you still have doubts, go to your colleagues. They will appreciate you for it and you'll grow out of your "new hire" phase quickly this way.

  4. Set (and respect) boundaries ๐Ÿชข

    You might be a fresh grad straight out of college, or you might be 60 years old with a family. When you work with someone, set out to understand their work schedule. Recognize that they might have a lot of stuff going on in their personal life and respect their boundaries. A good rule of thumb is to avoid messaging your colleagues at night and on the weekends. Or even if you do, don't expect a response from them. Personally, work when you want to, and let other people do the same.

    These are some things I learnt over the course of the last year and a half, and I hope this helps you. I'd love to hear about your thoughts on them.

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