Episode Summary

Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they're first learning a new skill or tool. If you've just entered the world of programming, chances are you'll make your fair share of mistakes, too. In this episode, Jack discusses some of the missteps he's taken early on in his career, and how you can learn from them and avoid them. Written by Jack Finlay Read by Abbey Rennemeyer: https://twitter.com/abbeyrenn Original article: https://fcc.im/2mOhFfY Learn to code for free at: https://www.freecodecamp.org Intro music by Vangough: https://fcc.im/2APOG02 Transcript: When you first start out in the world of software development, things may seem daunting and unknown. Leaving university and venturing into the real world is a big step, and you will stumble many times on the path before finding your feet and confidence. You may have confidence in your abilities already. But I ask you, “How many mistakes have you made?” The start of a career in software development is the start of a journey in mastering your craft. As with any field, there will be challenges and chances to be correct, and chances where you can be completely wrong. This piece acts as a reflection on the mistakes I have made early in my career — and a guide to avoiding them. Getting the job Landing your first job out of university isn’t always easy. Make sure it’s the right one for you. A company has to be a good fit for you, and where you want your career to go. Find out what you are worth I made this mistake twice. When I got my first software development job during university, in my second year, I was struggling financially. This led me to accept the first salary offer I was given. I felt I needed to just take the offer, as it was great compared to the abysmal pittance I was receiving from student benefits. Little did I know that it was well under the market rate for the location, position, and time. As I said earlier, I made this mistake twice. Upon graduating, I managed to land a job elsewhere. They were going to pay me 25% more than I was earning at the time! It was still at the low end of the market rate. I was low-balled, and I was happy to take it. I hadn’t learned yet that not all the power is in the employer’s hands. You too can make an offer. If I had taken the time to do some proper research, I would have seen what I was really worth. I recommend sites like PayScale to give you an indication. You can even use sites like this as a source when negotiating. Read the reviews Glassdoor is a great resource. Real employees of the companies listed have taken the effort to rate the companies they work for. Generally the reviews can be quite polarized as to whether employees have had good or bad experiences. Search out some of each and you’ll find the middle-ground for yourself. Had I read some of these reviews earlier, I would have avoided some terrible experiences when interviewing and beyond. Know what you’ll really be working with Earlier in my career, I was so keen to work for a particular company (a friend was working there and was enjoying it) that I forgot to stop and ask what I would actually be working on. It turned out that I would not be in the same department as my friend, and that I would be on the other side of the building, and later even on different floors. And I didn’t take the time to make sure the job would really fit me. Another side of this mistake was not asking enough about the environments, tools, and languages I would be using. When going for the next step in my career, I made sure to ask about the following: Version control strategy and tooling Is it industry standard? Git, TFS, SVN or Mercurial? If yo
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