How was your first developer job?


#1

Hello!

I recently join devpressed, and I read quite a bit of posts I can relate to. I was wondering what are (or were) some of your experiences starting out in this field? To give you a little bit more context, here is a little bit of information about me.

I have been in therapy since January for depression and anxiety. I have had an extremely hard time landing my first developer job after graduation (about a year), and have been working there in R&D for over a year now. Every day I feel like I am terrible at what I do, every day is a struggle at work, and I am genuinely starting to think I picked the wrong profession… despite loving it during uni. My health is negatively affected due to the stress, and I don’t seem to fit in very much with coworkers…

I never have received an negative feedback so far, but my manager has permanently put me “on loan” to other product + r&d teams since we are very short staffed. Most projects i start working on get killed of by management before finishing them with little warning. I don’t feel like I am very productive at all, as there is always a huge learning curve, since each team is working on something drastically different. I have not seen anything through to the end so far because of this.

I have been thinking about working elsewhere, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything worthwhile over the past year to impress any recruiter with my resume. I also don’t want to be labeled a job hopper for leaving after barely a year. But I don’t want to stay where I am now, because I feel like having a panic attack every time I come in to work, or pop a vein in frustration. Does this get easier? Are most workplaces like this? I kinda want to leave before anyone figures out I don’t know what I’m doing after all this time :frowning: … But I don’t know if I’ll end up in the same situation again.

How was it for you? Any advice?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


#2

This might be part of the problem. I know I personally would find it stressful to be constantly jumping between projects (challenging ones, at that) with nothing to show or any measurable success. Is your manager open to discussion about this? Could you ask to be placed on a more permanent project?


#3

He is open to discussions, and I can ask to be part of a more permanent project. However it does not seem to be possible in the near future, unless I ask to be transferred to a different part of the company alltogether. The “on loan” thing a has been a trend for many people, as managers will reshuffle or disband teams from on track or lower priority projects to critical ones that might not meet deadlines whenever needed. And this is pretty often. The underlying issue is that there is not enough people to do the work we promised to new customers, work on internal development, and maintain our existing products at the same time.

Do most software companies manage like this?

Thanks for your response, btw


#4

Short answer: no.

I’ve worked for eight different software companies, and all but one let programmers work on projects until they were finished. There were times when we had to react to high-priority bugs, sure, but we weren’t moved from project to project.

You’re not along in feeling frustration about being moved around between projects. I certainly hated when that happened to me regularly, and in talking with other programmers I think many others feel the same.

In response to your very first question, my first developer job was wonderful, a great job with a friendly and talented team. I think that first job might have colored my view of the workplace a bit, but I still use it as motivation to continue to try and find a good fit. So I hope you can hold on to hope that there is a better position out there for you.


#5

My first dev job is/was horrible. I posted a tldr type post about it on here awhile back. My CS education was very theory based and involved little actual programming. In school they told me I’d learn all that stuff on the job… Now at work they assume I know all that stuff. I was put as the sole dev on a project in a language id never used so I can definitely relate to feeling less productive than others. I don’t fit in with any of the people at work. They are so serious all the time and I tend to joke and be sarcastic a lot. My manager is condescending to those of us newer people and automatically contradicts everything I say.

I started feeling really bad about myself. I was totally miserable. Then one day I got chastised by my manager about speaking negatively about the language I have to work with. Everything just snapped into place for me mentally. It wasn’t fair to me to put a total noob in a position like mine, completely alone, with zero resources or senior devs who really gave a crap to go to for guidance. The advice I got when I had questions was to read the source code. I just don’t work that way! I need to have documentation or examples or something. Maybe I’m a crappy programmer because I can’t learn how to use complicated frameworks by reading plain source code or maybe I’m just a human. There’s a reason documentation is a thing. This job and me were just not a good fit no matter how hard I tried.

I just accepted a job offer at another company that isn’t as ‘cool’ as my current one but cares less about talking about what a great ‘culture’ it has and takes it slow with new employees. I think the lower stress environment where they care about developing your skills for the long term not just the next ‘deliverable’ they can get out of you, will be good for my anxiety levels. I think that the situation I was placed in might be great for some people, but for me it was toxic and just lead to me feeling worse and worse. The worse I felt the less productive I was.


#6

How did that switch work out for you?