I remember that feeling you get right after graduating, when you’re so excited to start off an actual career. It’s nothing less than a roller coaster ride because there are so many mixed emotions – it’s one of the best kind of adrenaline rush! If you chose to pursue programming, I’m going to assume you have a sharp mind and share the love of solving puzzles. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I get it; challenging yourself and exercising those brain cells to the max is the right way to live. Everything is difficult to begin with, but eventually it will become easy if you’re consistent with your efforts. Take a Rubix cube for instance, solve it once and the stack of previous fails won’t matter anymore.
Getting used to your first job environment and being handed your very first programming assignment are two different things. Together they are naturally stressful, and it’s all up to you how you handle it. Some people adhere quickly, but most of us take our time blending in. Initially it’s a lot of nerves and hesitation; then there’s the pressure of acing your opening act. Truth is that nobody has successfully compiled a software program on the first try. I mean everyone tries to and they should, although there’s no use building up impossible expectations.
Problem #1: Deficient Communication
Indulging yourself in the first real-life software development project can be very different from what you expect. Without guidance from an experienced peer, you are bound to make false estimations about several things. Newbies are customarily so focused on impressing their seniors that they sometimes forget that they can’t transform into experts overnight. They will try to act like everything is under control and refuse help from colleagues who won’t offer twice. Having confidence in oneself is great, but pretending to be a know-it-all doesn’t work out.
Even if you’re working remotely and don’t have an office environment for support, communication remains a key. Refer to an online developers’ community and be frank with your client. Do not oversell yourself and desperately agree to impractical or tight deadlines. Being inexperienced, you will need all the extra time to get things done right because in real time projects you have to aim for perfection. Do not go with your gut on accepting an enterprise level job on your first run. Start with an entry level job even if the returns are low. Slowly build your way up and say yes to all the help you get. This will not only help you learn, but also play a role in developing good relationships with the people in your working environment.
Problem #2: Acquaintance with Debugging
During the course of development of your very first real-life project, you will get to meet ‘Debugging’. This is apparently the most tedious part of coding and will make you question your life choices. Even the smartest ones in the crowd have had their fair share of failures in this department. Coding for long hours everyday to complete your first real deal is addictive. You’re definitely proud when you’ve finished on a good note, where everything seems to be functioning nicely. Unfortunately things may turn around when you start debugging your very own code.
Most IT agencies have designated personnel for quality assurance, who are in charge of checking code. When they get back to you with a log list of errors and defects, it can be heartbreaking to say the least. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact location of bugs throughout the code, so you can begin by reproducing them. Debugging is a time consuming process that needs to be executed step-by-step. You have to go in with a clear mind and hold on to patience; I assure that you’ll make it out alive. The next time you get to fixing bugs, you’ll be prepared with a sound game plan.
Problem #3: Manifesting the Thinking Process
A programmer who gets down to performing a task without thinking is hardly the genuine kind. Before working out your fingers on that keyboard, you need to activate your mind. If your goal is to achieve greatness in this field, you will have to learn problem solving skills. This implies that before you practically begin your job, you must figure out the whole procedure in your head. A thinking process will give you a certain direction and target to move towards.
Working aimlessly will normally result in a wastage of time and resources; also the end-product is likely to be compromised. Newbies tend to concentrate on completing a task as soon as possible. They entirely skip the thinking process and are surprised when they get stuck in the middle of executing a poorly deliberated plan.
Problem #4: Using the Wrong Equipment
In-house jobs facilitate individuals with the latest or adequate technology to get work done. Many programmers who kick off their career as freelancers or with remote jobs do not have the right equipment. An outdated machine will become the biggest obstacle in their career. The only way to overcome this dilemma is do their research and invest in a computer/PC that is compatible with the kind of work they want to do.
Problem #5: Building and Maintaining a Healthy Routine
Newbies have a hard time setting a new routine which becomes an obligation after embracing the professional lifestyle. As students or plain millennials they are accustomed to staying up all night, odd nap times and spontaneous meals. Starting a job with fixed timings takes away most of their freedom and they end up in a mess. Common consequences include lack of punctuality, insufficient sleep, too much caffeine and skipped meals. This takes a toll on their health and cannot be reversed unless they are willing to change their lifestyle. When health stats are low, everything else falls apart as well.