Coming into a new job is always challenging. You have to learn how the company operates, what project each co-worker is responsible for, and navigate the existing office politics. But it’s even more challenging coming into your first software development job. There is an existing codebase that you need to learn, a whole suite of development tools to set-up, and learning the coding style your new team uses.
Through my professional experience and training several new software developers, I’ve noticed a few factors that separate the new employees who succeed at the job from those who struggle.
Here are the 3 steps you should undertake to succeed in your first software development job:
Start with a small project
Your first goal starting a new job is to prove you can add value to the company. As a software developer, that will often be by fixing a bug, adding a new feature to the existing software, or building a new software program that is complementary to the existing technology in your company.
Fixing a bug is a great first project for a new developer. It allows you to start small and easy to understand the project, which is easier to get help on from more senior developers on the team. They can easily pick up where you have questions and answer them.
But if your first project is to build a new feature or write a new program, break the project down into smaller pieces. Unlike school projects or other IT jobs, software projects can take weeks or months to complete. Focus on breaking down the project into smaller steps that are manageable. Your manager should see some progress after about two weeks on the job. If you are ever struggling to make progress on your first project, ask your manager for help.
Expand your technology skill set
Once they get comfortable with writing code at work and have completed a few projects, successful software developers focus on improving their software development skills even more. One of the best ways to expand your skill set is to learn full stack development.
As an entry-level software developer, you will likely work on one area like iOS user interfaces, web development, networking, or server-side concurrency. But as you get more advanced in your career, you will need to learn more areas of development to get job offers in more senior roles, which is why learning full stack development is important.
Startups especially love full stack developers since their project requirements change so frequently and they have small technology teams. They need versatile software developers to build entire technology frameworks from scratch and full stack developers are the software professionals who can deliver that code.
Many companies would rather hire a developer who can work on any part of the development stack than someone who can only work on one part of it. As a result, you should learn full stack development early in your career as more job opportunities will come your way. The PG Diploma in Software Development by UpGrad is an excellent way to learn full stack development. With it, you will gain an advantage in your software career.
Develop interpersonal skills
A final element for succeeding in your first software development job is to learn interpersonal skills, otherwise known as people skills and soft skills. Many young developers think that excellent coding skills are enough to get them through their careers. That is not accurate. The best software developers have great communication skills and work well with other people.
As a software developer, you will spend a lot of time talking to other developers about your code, talking to management about project requirements, and possibly talking to clients about your software’s use cases. Those aspects of your job require excellent interpersonal skills. Without interpersonal skills, you will find it difficult to get promoted.
Fortunately, you can learn these skills by making a few improvements in your body language, verbal skills, and your writing. If you’re feeling stuck on the corporate ladder, maybe your interpersonal skills are holding you back!
Starting your first software development job can be stressful. Remember to learn one step at a time.