The more you learn, the more you realize there's more to learn
Three months in, I wish I could report, "I fully understand _____" or "I've mastered _____", but I can't, and I realize those statements take time to fulfill. I can say I've made a lot of progress and learned a hell of a lot more than when I arrived (new languages, system architecture, backend development). The best measurement for me has been not just getting comfortable and finding where I fit in, but on top of that, realizing where my skills meet the needs of our business and how I can contribute my strengths to make us even more kick ass.
I have a great appreciation for the senior devs on my team. It feels like the further down the programming rabbit hole I go, the more I realize the journey between where I'm at and where they are will be a long one.
Keeping these points in mind
Yesterday, I went to lunch with a few of my dev pals in the community, some of which started their new careers post Iron Yard like myself, and others seasoned developers. We are all presently writing software for a variety of places, from small to big, startup to established. We exchanged thoughts on how we've progressed, the leap from school to work, pair programming, teaching, embracing failure, coding misconceptions, and how much Sriracha is the right amount of Sriracha for one bowl of phở1. These were our thoughts on the job:
Yes, it can be bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating, but it's absolutely worth it
We are unanimously happy with our jobs. There is a high from trying to get something to work for hours and finally arriving at a solution.
Programming === failing over and over again
This was a toughy for me to wrap my head around at first. Of those of us who fast-tracked to dev jobs through code school, none of us quite understood how defeatist programming can be. Our senior dev friends found it entertaining that those of us less experienced had to learn to embrace failure after we went into programming so optimistically.
Never gets less frustrating, the problems just get bigger
As you become a better software engineer, there never comes a day where you encounter zero issues and everything just falls into place seamlessly. Rather, problems get bigger and the issues to solve become more complex.
These have been my four tenets on the job:
1. Be the sponge. Listen. Absorb. Learn.
2. Focus inward, not outward. Do less talking and more listening to those who know a lot more than you do.
3. Grow. Do something you don't understand everyday. Do as much as possible out of comfort zone.
4. Stay positive.
Excited to report where I will be at in six months...
For me, an absurd amount. ↩