Three months on the first web dev job

Three months on the first web dev job
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#1

So, I’ve been keeping people apprised of my new web dev job and what I’ve learned. I’ve did one at one month. I’ll do one more for the three month mark. I’ve also decided to write a master “what I think you should do to try to get a job” document and that will probably be up some time next week or so.

So, things are still going pretty well. They’re officially hiring me (some of you may remember that I had to do the first three months as a contractor because of some, errr, disagreements about what is legal in CA but not in AR). And they’re giving me a slight raise, so I guess I’m doing OK. I’m certainly not the star of the dev team, but considering my education/experience and where I am in the hierarchy, they seem pretty pleased.

I guess there isn’t much to add over my previous two posts.

  1. Testing. I guess the theme this time would have to be testing. They’ve always encouraged unit tests but instituted a rule that any PR must have 80% coverage for any file that it touched. Unfortunately, another fairly new person and I were working together on something that touched a lot of files so we both had to spend the next week writing Jest tests. One 500 line file - we added three lines but then had to do coverage for the whole file. Holy crap, I had to learn fast. In the end I got fairly decent at it. Or, as I like to say, “I am now and expert at remedial Jest testing.” The scary thing is that some of the other newbs have started to come to me for advice on testing. Every now and then I’ll even get asked a question by one of the more experienced guys. I guess the hard work paid off.

  2. Teamwork and Communication. Yes, those soft skills that people complain about? They’re important. One of the things I love about this team is how well everyone works together and communicates. I’m glad I’m a part of that.

  3. Work Life Balance. I’ve been doing 8-10 hour days at work and often 2-4 hours at home. It’s taken its tole. I got a week off this holiday so that’s nice, but it’s time to back off a little. Being well rested makes a difference. And I have to make time to get to the gym. And eat better.

  4. Frustration. I recently heard someone describing being a developer as being “constantly frustrated”. Yup. That’s a big part of it. We like to think that eventually we’ll just be typing stream of consciousness code, smiling, with bluebirds chirping away on our shoulders. In reality, there is a lot of time just figuring out how to get something to work, getting frustrated. Obviously it happens less as you get better, but if you’re coding anything with doing, you’re going to have times of frustration. I need to learn to take it in stride.

  5. Side Projects. I need to start learning the backend here. I know Node/Express/Mongo, but they’re Java/MySQL. Oh well, it’s an opportunity to learn something new. Just as soon as I understand sagas a little better… I also need to build my wife a web page. Cool.

Oh well, that’s about it. I really am enjoying the job and the people. And I’m amazed that they pay me this much money to basically come in and solve puzzles all day.

I hope you all find your job soon. And if not, don’t give up. I was starting to get frustrated. My wife was starting to give me the “Really?!? Are we ready to admit that this was a deadend idea?” look. And then I got it. And FCC was a big part of it. And all of you.

Happy coding.


#2

Glad to hear it’s going fairly well.

At this point, how much potential for growth as a developer (in terms of learning new tech, being mentored, etc,…) in, say, a year’s time, do you perceive is really there compared to what you had hoped for? Much less, somewhat less, about the same, somewhat more, a lot more?


#3

I guess it’s about what I expected. What amazes me is how much more there is to learn than I realized. As learning developers, we really don’t have a clue how much of the ice berg is under the water. But that’s cool. I have so much to learn and I’m learning fast. And having fun doing it.


#4

Great to hear things are progressing well :smiley:

As a developer that is more or less a year or so from where you were, but with a slightly different background I wanted to provide some comments on each of the items in the numbered list.

  1. Great to hear your company pushes testing as a rule. I’ve found testing is what keeps you from breaking stuff later, and providing faster feedback for what your currently developing.

  2. Glad to hear your getting along with your team, that’s always important :smiley:

  3. Cutting off work at a certain time is the only thing you should focus on. You should make it clear to your work that’s how you plan on working, and making sure your productive while your at work, but your time is your time. It’s very easy to end up allowing your job take over your life If you want to keep your time your time, make it clear to your work so there aren’t any expectations your available 24/7

  4. Yup, I’m like the Hulk, my secret is I’m always frustrated :wink: Your very right by saying “if your coding anything worth doing, your going to have times of frustration”. I will also add you will learn the best during these times, its the struggle that gives you the best experience.

  5. If you have more time for yourself, you can spend more times doing side-projects. Being able to take your side-project and apply it at work is a very re-warding experience. Doing side projects are excellent ways to “get ahead” at work when it comes to learning. A professor of mine had a story he gave before finals:
    “Your welcome to go out and party, or not study. But just know there is someone out there taking this time to study and improve themselves. This doesn’t only apply to the upcoming tests, but life in general”

Same can be said about learning software development. All the time you spend not doing it could be spent learning more. Obviously I’m not promoting letting it take over your life, but spending some time doing what you want to learn is great to improve yourself and get a new refreshing view on things :smile:

I’m looking forward to you next update as well, I’m always interested in other peoples experiences out in the world of software development :smiley:


#5

This is my main concern. Right now I’m in school, got ~1 year left until my web dev exams.
I have two kids, so I can’t really be sitting every day at home after school, even though I enjoy coding.
But you should be able to live a family life and work as a developer…

I hope it’s enough with the time you’re at work to improve, and that you feel enough satisfied with the coding so you don’t need to spend some hours at home every day.
I mean, 8-10 hours should be more than plenty, but I assume it’s not all coding, there’s a lot of other stuff like meetings and testing involved. I can’t imagine coming home and jump on your personal project after you finished a 8 hour shift of coding :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, congratz on your new job. Glad you share your experiences :slight_smile:


#6

HI, I just want to say thank you for your post. I love reading about other peole experience in a new job. I did not know what was “jest testing”. I have found this: https://jestjs.io/ I will look it up later. I am in my beginning of learning Javascript.

I wish you much success in your new job and wish you will keep up updated from time to time.

Regards,

Stephane


#7

Yeah, jest is kind of specific to React, but there are similar unit testing libraries for other frameworks or even vanilla JS. They are often quite similar. It’s probably good to at least be familiar with them, even on a basic level.