getting started

Imagine a world in which you’re a graduate, you’ve just completed your final year. Fresh in your mind is the difference between NP-Hard and NP-Complete problems. You can sort a btree with your eyes closed. You’re ready to become a contributing member of society. Or are you? I have a few tough truths for you…

  1. You don’t know anything useful, yet!
  2. You’re not going to have a clue what you’re doing on the first day…
  3. You’ll always have much to learn.
  4. You’re soon going to find carbs are a bad lunchtime friend.

… but these shouldn’t put you off jumping in at the deepend, it will be the best thing that you do!

Take on new challenges when ever you can and remember…

you don’t know anything useful…yet!

Your first job is always an huge learning experience and this isn’t something to be afraid of. You’ll be working with people who are older and far more experienced than you, which is a great thing.

“Always surround yourself with people who are even more talented and competent than you are” - Stephen Covey

This is the best opportunity for you to do that, make the most of this time and learn quickly. You weren’t hired because of your ability to sort a binary tree on a whiteboard, or implement a set in a pair programming exercise. Those are not things that you will ever do in your day job… You were hired because of you potential, your core knowledge of fundamentals, and your ability to grow and learn. Own and live up to that potential, but how?

you’re not going to have a clue what you’re doing on the first day…

It’s day one, you’ve either got a job in a corporate and you’ve got your best next suit on; or a job in a startup and opted for a rough cotton shirt. Your first lesson; what you wear has no material impact on your ability to do the job. If you’re client facing - sure a level of smartness help, else t-shirts. Your second lesson comes after you’ve set up your laptop, it’s 3pm and your manager has run out of setup tasks. Finally they ask you to

“spin up a virtual env and pip install your requirements”.

You’ve identified the words as english but have no concept of what they mean, or what the request is. Before the overwhelming wave of despair hits you and you frantically google what you remember of the onslaught of unintelligible words… ask! Just ask, this is what’s expected of you and make the most of it. You’re a junior, ask questions, always be wondering what and why. The worst thing that you can do is sit, staring at your screen with not a clue what to do. You are wasting time. Learn much and learn fast.

you’ll always have much to learn.

Everything you tackle will be new, everything will be a challenge. Always be curious and always be learning. Never accept that this is just the way things are, if you do not know why. The reason might not be a good one, but it will still be a reason. Ensure you are learning and it will pay off, soon you will be surpassing expectations and delivering more than ever thought of you. Soon you will be able ti identify what works and what doesn’t. You are aiming to be T shaped. with a wide spread of knowledge, across the top of the T, and specialised in one area, down the trunk of the T. This is the moment that you work on the breadth of your knowledge, where you learn what works, where you make all the mistakes that will be useful later in your career. Ask for challenges and tackle them by the horns. This will be how you grow the fastest.

carbs are a bad lunchtime friend

It has happened to us all before, come 2.45pm, in a warm meeting room - coffee cannot help you now. For you have eaten too many carbs for lunch. Your eyelids are steel shutters willing them selves closed, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Backlog refinement - while usually a highlight of your week - is now a nightmare. You’re truly in the deepend now, so far you’ve been swimming - but you are starting to sink. The comfy meeting room chair inviting you to nap, the gradual nod of your head as you slip in and out of consciousness. Never again you promise yourself; never again! Carbs are not your friend.