My First Year as a Software Developer

February 02, 2021

From the start of my journey toward a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, I understood that it was going to be a challenging career in which I would need to keep studying for the rest of my life. I understood that I would have to be self-disciplined and dedicate endless hours to continue my education beyond the classroom. This discipline has been key to my career as a software developer.

So you may ask, how was my first year as a software developer at Wovenware? In one word: complicated. The work environment was very different from college. No longer was it a question of failing an exam or an assignment, but now I could be failing a client and in turn the company I work for. After you graduate, responsibilities increase and every action counts, for better or for worse.

First Impressions

When entering “the real world,” I started seeing code for big and complex projects, written by many other more experienced developers and that intimidated me. Participating in status meetings with peers, quickened my heart. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing or admitting I was stuck on tasks. While I’ve always been on the quiet side, I knew that I had to work on my communication skills to succeed. I completed processes of uploading code to the user acceptance testing (UAT) or production environment while shaking out of fear of messing up. Over time all of these feelings changed. I became more familiar with my colleagues and gained confidence when speaking. Little by little, I was learning more about the system and tasks were completed in less time.

My First Task

My first assignment at Wovenware was the real test for me. Like a complete beginner, I began to attack the problem without first analyzing whether a solution already existed. By wanting to look good and complete the task as soon as possible, I did not first analyze it based on my current knowledge of the system. I quickly learned that there was another more appropriate solution. My lesson learned is that before writing a code, it’s important to intently look at the problem and if you still don’t understand it, ask. Once you identify the problem, investigate if a solution already exists. In this way, little by little, you will learn from the environment.

Meetings

Meetings were always my weakness. Regardless of whether it was with the group or the client, they made me anxious. I’ve learned, however, that your voice is like a promise; you must be totally honest and sincere at all costs. It’s also very important to listen to colleagues and understand what they do and their contributions. Together you can help one another find solutions to problems.

Teamwork

I am fortunate to say that the Wovenware team I am a part of is truly supportive of one another, always transparent, and ready to help. The company has given me great mentors, for which I am very grateful.

One way that I began to give back to the team during my first year is, when I finished my tasks, I would go to them and ask  how they were doing or if they needed any help. Often, while they were telling me about a specific problem, a solution would come to them or to me. This interaction has always helped me feel integrated with the team instead of feeling like a burden. It is very important to realize that we are not a burden to others and that every day we should look for ways to continue supporting our colleagues. After all, our actions affect everyone.

Fulfilling One Year

After having carried out many tasks and gaining confidence in my solutions and social interactions, I began to worry about my code. Does it meet the company’s standards? Can my colleagues read my code? Can I improve my code? All of these questions were answered throughout the year. Between the code reviews by my colleagues as well as studying the code of others, I learned more about the importance of writing well. Basically, it is our signature, our reputation, and our legacy in the project. Therefore, it is very important that the code can be understood and readable for the good of the team in addition to other future programmers.

Tips

  • Be humble and accept your mistakes.
  • Stay ahead of the game. If you know that you will be working with a tool that you’re not familiar with, orient yourself and find out about it in advance.
  • If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to ask. Do not start solving things without understanding the problem.
  • Be self-taught and master problems. You can’t wait for knowledge to come to you. Motivate yourself to learn more and more.
  • Do not hesitate to train for certifications. You are giving value to yourself as a professional, as well as the company.
  • When a project manager asks you about deliverables, try to give a specific date for completing the task. Do not be frustrated if at first you cannot comply with the deadline, it is a skill that you acquire over time.

Future Work

The key is to keep learning. As for me, I plan on continuing to improve my coding skills, delve into mobile applications, design patterns and many other technologies such as cloud computing. I hope to continue to grow as a professional and someday maybe even share my knowledge through teaching.

The world of programming is huge and there is a lot to explore along the way.

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