Like A Girl

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Code Like A Girl

What I Learned In My First Year Working In Tech

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

It’s been a little over a year since I moved out on my own and started working as a software engineer. It’s crazy to look back and see how much I have learned in only one year in the tech world. As I started to reminisce on what I’ve learned, I figured I would share my thoughts and hopefully give those who are worried about starting a career in tech some insight. So here it goes.

You know more than you think you do

I’ve heard people say this a lot, but seriously it’s true. It’s very common for people starting out in the tech world to have impostor syndrome, even more so for women. When I first started on my team, I was afraid to make significant changes to the code and was even afraid of asking for work because I didn’t want to screw up. It took being assigned to a major part of a new feature for me to realize I wasn’t as completely lost as I thought. Of course, there were many things I had to ask for help with, and I had to change some stuff after code reviews but nonetheless, I completed the task without any major issues.

After having that first push, I began feeling more comfortable pulling tasks off the backlog. Of course, everyone makes mistakes but you are there for a reason, so you clearly know something, that will help move the team forward.

Don’t be afraid to speak up

I consider myself an introvert, but even if I weren’t, I would probably be a little shy coming into a new job. When you are trying to figure out all the nuances of your team and learn what your role will be, a lot of the time will be spent listening instead of talking. This may be fine for a little bit as it is vital to absorb information before asking questions but eventually, you are going to have to be able to add input to your team.

No team is going to be a perfectly well-oiled machine. There may be some ideas you have that will push the team forward, but if you never bring them up nothing will change.

For a while, I was scared to ask questions or suggest ideas because I felt I wasn’t experienced enough to make useful comments. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way, and I think it’s perfectly normal. Once you get your footing, don’t be afraid to speak up because you could be the one to solve the problem.

Some people really do think they know everything

Coming in at an entry-level position means there will be people who know more than you. In many cases, you can use these people as mentors to help you grow and learn new skills and best practices. With that said, sometimes these people will be know-it-alls. Being in tech, I’ve noticed this behavior early on in college. Some people really think they know everything and that can quickly turn into being condescending and egotistical.

Be prepared to have some people at your job who are like this. Sometimes these people will make you feel like you don’t know what you are doing and their way is the only way. Don’t let these people intimidate you. Just because someone has more experience than you doesn’t mean they are always right. Learn from these people but also don’t be afraid to try and come up with your own solutions.

Getting involved in side of desk work can be helpful

Sitting at a desk 8 hours a day, 5 days a week can get a little boring. That’s why it never hurts to have side of desk work that can help contribute to your skill set and give flexibility to your day.

For me, I really enjoy helping others figure out problems. Not only does it make me a better communicator but it also keeps my brain active as I have to solve someone else’s problem then explain it. This is why one of the things I have gotten involved in is mentoring a coding boot camp program through my job. I also have been starting to get involved with recruiting and have helped with the interns that worked at my job this past summer.

Outside of work I try to keep my mind fresh by working on side projects with technologies and languages I have learned in the past year. Using time outside of work to build something for myself allows me to feel more confident when working in similar languages at work.

Whether it’s side projects, recruiting or mentoring; getting involved in something besides your day-to-day routine can help you grow and keep your work life fresh.

While I have learned a lot in my first year of tech, I’m still learning. I can’t wait to see how much I have grown and how much I will learn in my next year. If you will be working in tech or currently are working in tech, I hope some of the lessons I’ve learned will help you in your journey.