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I've spent around 10+ years in a small organization and by far I have worked with many new developers. Based on that experience, I'm sharing some key points that might be useful for new developers who have landed their first job.
One who is a beginner and hired of course would have basic to advance level knowledge in a relevant stack but every company has a different work model in terms of application development which they have prepared over the years by having experience in performance in the application, developer onboarding process and team productivity.
Sorry, I don't mean to overwhelm anyone 😱 but if you are just starting and you find that you're overwhelmed during the onboarding process, don't worry, things take time. Please be patient and follow the few simple points below to make sure your mentor and your path run smoothly. 🗻
1. Keep a notebook in meetings 📝
Keep a notebook always with you when you go for meetings or when you have a conversation about any issue or topic. Note down all the points that you would like to have a deeper look at on your desk.
As a beginner sometimes you will hear lots of jargon during the conversation with a senior. Do not hesitate to clarify those words in simple terms that you will understand and also keep note of that word for your reference.
2. Make a list of all your questions 🧾
Initially, one could have many questions and doubts while working on the assignment. Please don't ask them at any time if they are not your immediate blocker. Instead, prepare a list of all your doubts and clarify them in one go each day based on the time conventions of your mentor.
This way, your mentor and you both can work effectively without compromising productivity.
3. Be honest and say "No" 😬
If you don't know something that comes up all of a sudden that you are supposed to know, feel free to say "No" but in a different way.
I did not get a chance to explore this particular topic, let me buy some time to go through more in detail and I will come back to you if I have any questions.
Don't make any vague assumptions, because you have to speak anyway, it will put you in a more awkward situation.
4. Jump down the rabbit hole and ask clear questions 📢
5. Work like a Pro 👩💻👨💻
Learn and use shortcuts of the IDE that you're using. Learn shortcuts for the browser. Save your keyboard keystrokes (especially Ctrl + S). Turn on autosave in IDE. If you don't like autosave, at least don't use Ctrl + S repeatedly for no reason. Take care of your fingers if you're not planning to retire early.
Start observing around, mainly your coworkers, how they are being productive, what extra tools they are using which you may use to ease your work, etc...
6 Focus 📵
Mobile is the only reason for most people to be constantly distracted. To be more focused just keep your mobile silent(Not even on vibrate mode). If you tend to keep your mobile on the desk, flip it to the other side.
7. Think simple and make complex things simple 🤹🏻♀️
In any onboarding process, task complexity moves from easy to complex. Your mentor is always available to help you when you need them.
Bookmark every relevant function in code so you can pick up where you left off easily in your assignment, so you don't get lost in a massive spider project of hundreds of files and folders.
Write down pseudo-code and flow in your notebook if you think you need to get verified before you start. Break up your big assignment into several individual tasks instead of eating up everything at once. Prepare task list properly with all details like input, output, validations, etc... Connect all tasks one by one, and test them as a single unit.
8. Use your weekend 💪🏼
Don't get me wrong, I never mean you should sacrifice your family and friends time.
After spending the first week in your job, you will get a general idea of what types of assignments are given to you, what expectations have been set, what area requires more focus, etc... Start spending your weekends improving the technical side and turning your weaknesses into strengths.
9. Don't feel burnout & Be motivated 🧎🏻♂️
Use your weekend wisely while you're at it. Don't feel burnout and keep your energy up for Monday too. As I mentioned earlier, one can feel overwhelmed at the beginning, but do not lose your patience. Read articles, practice them, and improve your knowledge every day. Try your best to follow some simple steps, and keep taking steps.