My first software developer job did not go as expected and no I did not lie about my experience. It was a great start-up company but at first, I was not sure if I should take the job because they used a legacy coding language and framework that I had no experience with. I had just started learning software development 6 months prior and was very new to the profession so this did worry me.
I had built a few full-stack web applications with ASP.NET to show on my portfolio and that was it. Looking back I should not have taken the position and should not have even applied.
To keep this short here are my lessons learned:
- Do not apply until you are sure you are ready. I am a risk taker and I started applying too soon. Some start applying too late. So you need to understand the type of person you are.
- Learning a new framework and language on your first job may be harder than you think.
- Learn your computer science basics before starting, (Big O, DSA, etc.) to help you understand how and why something works. A side benefit is you can communicate and understand what other developers are explaining to you.
- It’s okay to be humble but there is also being too humble. Make sure you explain and show what you can do early.
- Ask more questions at the interview about training and make it crystal clear about your current level of knowledge.
- Build at least 3-5 full-stack projects from zero on your own. Outside a book, class, or course. That’s right, and it may take a while but you will definitely be ready then. I realized that I did not know as much as I thought when I started writing my own programs from zero.
- I’m not sure start-up companies are a great place for someone starting out in software development but I could be wrong.
I am very thankful for the opportunity that was given to me and I really believe I messed up even reaching out to them. If you are thinking I oversold my qualifications. I did not. Really! I was upfront about this being my first software development job and that I was completely new to this. They took a chance on me and I still appreciate the opportunity even if it did not work out.