If you have just started a software developer’s career or changed a workplace these tips may comae in handy while establishing yourself in a new environment. It’s not easy to earn colleagues’ respect and reach the “core” of the company. Many fresh graduate developers fail at the very beginning for a variety of different reasons. I already presented a few tips on how to succeed in a new workplace in my previous post. Below you can read more tips that may help you survive in a new job.
5. Admit that you won’t manage with the task
It’s obvious that you want to earn respect in the job and you don’t want to lose face by saying : “sorry but I won’t manage to do it, I don’t feel up to this task”. Dear newbie developer, you will face more serious consequences by committing to some unrealistic deadlines than by simply telling the truth. So don’t estimate the task for 4 hours despite the gut feeling telling you that 4 days are required. When you’re working on a task and at some point it becomes clear that you will not manage to finish in time – report it as soon as you realize it!
6. Go beyond the call of duty
In the new workplace you may be surprised by the number of nine-to-five colleagues who wouldn’t devote even a second more above the 8 h working day. You can easily use their attitude to your advantage and once in a while volunteer to do something extra. So roll up your sleeves and show the enthusiastic can-do-attitude. In this way you are more visible than the ones who passively perform their duties being hidden behind screens. Of course, everybody has their role in the company there must be soldiers as well as generals but why not aim high at the very outset. It’s easier to stand out in the gray crowd if you are new. Anyhow, if you are hoping to get promoted and take on new responsibilities make sure you others notice you. But to be noticeable you need to stand out somehow and usually showing actual commitment is highly valued.
7. Listening is the key
Actual, attentive LISTENING is the key to healthy cooperation. It proves your social intelligence as well. Even if you are convinced the idea is great, don’t force it blindly. Ignoring other colleagues may come across as sheer arrogance and lack of respect. Try to listen to others before you speak to much. Appreciate their contribution but at the same time don’t be a pushover and stick with what you believe in if you are convinced that they are wrong.
8. Take advantage of being a newbie
Don’t avoid attention and don’t be afraid to share your initial observations about the job, projects, risks, processes, etc. Colleagues who sit in their comfort-zones may not notice certain issues any more as they are too familiar for them. They simply lost their objective perspective. Companies really value fresh blood and creative ideas from rookies since they are not biased yet, not infected with other people’s ideas and attitudes.
During a probation evaluation meeting after the first month of employment we ask our juniors what they like about the company, what needs to be changed, improved etc. These ideas are extremely valuable for us as we know they look with fresh eyes.
Depending on the hierarchy in the organization don’t be afraid to inform the managers about your observations and possible solutions or the things you really like. Maybe it’s just not good timing for implementing your ideas but they will be always taken into account later on.
9. Ask for performance reviews
If you feel that something is getting out of hand or you’re experiencing some difficulties in the workplace make an appointment with a manager, PM or HR and ask for extra evaluation meeting. Sometimes things cannot wait until the next review. Don’t wait passively. Expect feedback on what you’re doing and regular progress checks. Most people fail already in the first 3 months of their employment. Don’t waste this time.
10. Focus on one task at a time
During performance reviews I often heard that young developers do not focus on the core of the task but get unnecessarily distracted by extra functions which are not of high importance at that moment. And instead of focusing on the main task they have fun developing something nice and funky, sacrificing other functions which are more relevant. It’s not that your ideas are irrelevant but try to think of the priorities and try not to get distracted too much.
11. Be careful not to miss an obvious solution
Rookie developers often jump on highly complicated solutions, strange design patterns and, in general, are attracted to complexity. Undoubtedly, it a challenge but sometimes the simpler solution the better. Try not to over complicate things too much as you may overlook a very obvious solution.
What are your tips for developers who just start their professional career or more experienced ones who just changed the employer? Feel free to leave a comment.