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November 28, 2022

What I’ve learnt in my first 6 months as a developer

Written By

Emily Kral



Read time

3 minute

Its been just over 6 months since I joined Contic as a junior full stack Software Developer, and whilst that may not seem THAT long, I can honestly say it feels like I've been here for ages [in a good way, I promise].
Over the last 6 months alone, I've worked closely with two key clients of Contic's, which have both allowed me to develop my skill set in different ways, both personally and professionally. I've also learnt a LOT about the importance of being agile, lean and vocal as a developer.
I guess the point of this blog, for any budding or fellow software developers (hi!👋) , is that I wanted to share some key takeaways I've learnt whist on projects with clients, and the importance of working for a team that really do support you!

Project 1: Building a CRM for a healthcare provider

Team members: Technical Architect, Product Owner, Agile Coach + Moi!
On this one, I was working with a healthcare provider to help build them a bespoke internal CRM, which streamlined the day to day running of the organisation. From creating and managing customer appointments to allowing employees to view and update their schedules, we built it all.
This one was a completely greenfield project. Working for a client who knew what they wanted end to end on the digital product, but had no technical expertise, and with a team who could use their full developer creativity to build this bespoke product - was all new to me!
We started by using Forest Admin functionality and a basic website to submit forms on, when it soon became clear the client was struggling with this initial prototype, so we did a full pivot into building a more multi-functional web app for them, that better suited their working needs.
Contic follow agile and lean methodology and so as a team, we were able to complete this big change during the project and deliver a product that the client felt much more comfortable using, which was a great success.
It was also a great lesson in the importance of constantly getting client feedback, so we could build a product that really fit their needs and one that they would be able to get the most value from.

Project 2: Supporting the development needs of a HRTech organisation

Team members: Their existing development team + Me!
I actually began working with this client as a sole developer to build a brand new product for them to add to their existing product suite.
More recently I joined their full time UK engineering team to support them across their whole business as a full stack software developer.
I'll be honest, working as a small part of a larger organisation came with a new set of challenges I hadn't experienced in the previous project. This particular project had a wide range of internal dependencies, from other key stakeholders in the business, including Product and Design.
Working with non-engineering teams was new to me, and I had to learn how to communicate effectively with those teams to make the process as smooth as possible for all.
However, the support I received from my peers during this project, being able to ask questions and technically understand new possible solutions, was really valuable as I progressed as a developer. Especially as a large and complex pre-existing codebase was something I had never worked with before and definitely took me a while to figure out.
After a short time I was able to settle in and really feel like I was adding value to the team and helping them make good progress in their work.
I've also found that over the last 6 months, I've been giving lots of demos to clients, running internal training sessions for the Contic team on various technical topics, led technical refinement sessions, and participated in two internal hackathon events. It's been a busy six months!
I can definitely say that the last 6 months have done wonders for my confidence as a developer. I find it so much easier to now look at someone else's codebase and understand what it's doing. This has really helped my internally at Contic as well, as I've been able to support and mentor newer developers joining the team, and disseminate + share these learnt experiences and knowledge.
I really feel like I've become an established member of the Contic team, I am really enjoying my job, and am looking forward to what new skills and lessons the next few months, and next project, will bring!


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