5 reasons why software developers fail in their first jobs

Job_1According to the study by Leadership IQ around 46% percent of newly-hired employees will fail within the first 2 years in the new job. By failure they mean terminations, leaving under pressure, receiving disciplinary action, or receiving very negative performance reviews. This rate is also nothing different among software developers. Why people who have the right skills to do the job fail? They were carefully screened and made their way into the company. Then they get quite successful at the very beginning and suddenly something changes. Is it their fault or the company’s? Based on our experiences below I’m presenting the possible explanations for their failure and the examples of fatal mistakes when starting a new job:

1. Newly hired usually fresh graduates can’t accept feedback and are overly confident.

They are immune to criticism and think they know everything, are not willing to consult more senior colleagues in the choice of certain technologies and solutions. Sometimes it’s worth let others speak, listen carefully and consider rather than force your own opinions blindly.

2. IT rookies very often are too timid or too self-concentrated.

They seldom ask colleagues for support or opinions and prefer to work independently. On one hand it’s great that they take up challenges and try to solve everything themselves. On the other hand, when this leads to significant delays and deadline shifts it jeopardizes the budget for the project and it may block other colleagues, who depend on them, from progressing in their tasks.

From the employer’s point of view it’s nice they make the effort but it’s not a private playground nor a private struggle to find the solution. It’s hard numbers and gard criteria very often. Of course no challenge no fun. Communication skills so much desired and tested during the interview should be applied here to ask for help and be more employer sensitive as well.

3. They commit to the unrealistic tasks/deadlines not to lose face in front of the colleagues.

It is often the case that newbie software developers claim they are able to finish a task within certain time scope and later the manager finds out that only part of the task was complete but they never reported the potential obstacles or the issues that come up during the task. Are they afraid that they may come across as not competent enough? But at the end of the day it always backlashes into them.Failure

4. They don’t focus on the team goals but work individually without seeing a big picture.

They are also not client oriented and fail to look from his point of view, without taking usability into consideration and other important aspects. They are sometimes too narrow minded to think out of the box. They just blindly perform their jobs without too much thinking and trying to understand the task.

5. They don’t socialize, don’t talk to people and isolate themselves from other team members.

You get to know the company more by simply talking to people  than reading tons of manuals. Communication is the key here. The more you talk to people and listen the more familiar you become, the more ice is broken.

I admit the failure is not only due to newbies’ lack of social skills. Obviously the whole issue revolves around proper communication. But it works both ways. Often the companies don’t provide a proper induction program. The newly hired person is not clearly told what they were employed for, what rules he has to abide by.  They don’t have specified goals for the first 6 months of employment thus don’t’ know what is expected of them.

In the next post I will provide some useful tips on how to succeed in their first job being a software developer.

What are your experiences with newbies? Please fell free to comment below and follow us on Twitter @GOYELLO.

Aspire Blog Team

Aspire Systems is a global technology services firm serving as a trusted technology partner for our customers. We work with some of the world's most innovative enterprises and independent software vendors, helping them leverage technology and outsourcing in our specific areas of expertise. Our services include Product Engineering, Enterprise Solutions, Independent Testing Services and IT Infrastructure Support services. Our core philosophy of "Attention. Always." communicates our belief in lavishing care and attention on our customers and employees.


  1. I'm a software engineer with less than 1 year exp and totally agree and each and every point 🙂

    Though I really don't know what I'm going to do to fix myself. 🙂

  2. Rakesh, thanks for the comment and RT. Please feel free to forward this article to IT juniors 🙂 Hope it'll be useful and give them some food for thought.

  3. As promised, in my next post I will include some tips on how to settle yourself smoothly into a new job without making these mistakes. Hope you will find it helpful to fix yourself 🙂

  4. Hi I am doing all such bad things and I still have success I just use all advantages from all those considered bad things. I am even work at home very often. Yes, I am getting all the problems you described but I am trying to update big picture of company goal on my own. And I don't see point to fix myself as it all works well.
    1. I don't get how it is possible force your own opinion blindly. I always do marketing research even on simple developer feature. I know it's not software engineer work but I have to do not be blind.
    2. I am always good deadlines. It is a biggest motivator. I am always on time because I am not spend time on communicating.
    3. Yes, I commit unrealistic tasks from the first sight and but deadline stress is forcing to come out with ideas how to solve unrealistic tasks and make them solvable.
    4. I am doing my independent marketing researches and I help team because I have different view than all team.
    5. Yes, who cares socialized you well or not.

  5. I guess the real question is what can colleges and universities do to better prepare developers for the real world?

  6. I think that this subject is a two-edged sword. It is often the self-centered and arrogant newby but it can also be the arrogance of the existing employees as well. In some cases the “old guys” are intimidated by new blood and communication is nearly non-existant, and when there is communication it is often one sided and blunt with no concern for integrating a newcommer, no matter how worthy. Ego can be felt from both ends and needs to be addressed in those quarterly interviews with ALL employees. I also think that it is imperative that the new and old feel that they can voice frustrations and oppinions without fear of critisizm or reprisal. People business is a complicated and sometimes difficult thing.

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