Starting out on a career in tech can seem daunting, but my first few weeks in a proper tech job were anything but.
Before working at Contic, I had a background in mathematics, had learnt to code through several online coding courses before then enrolling into a full-time intensive training course, so I felt like had a fairly solid grounding in the principles of software development. Despite this, in my first three weeks as a junior developer I learnt so many new things and really found my feet in a way that has somehow both pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me feel very welcome and at ease.
Something that I found incredibly helpful was working in-office for the first couple of weeks before switching to a more hybrid working style. Being able to ask a million questions directly to someone who knows, when I was trying to set everything up for the first time and get to grips with brand new programs was invaluable. Starting out in a start-up has been really great to be able to get to know everyone quickly and really feel like a part of the team.
My first three weeks were full ones.
The very first week consisted of setting up a full stack project with a Next.js frontend, a Prisma database, a GraphQL api, and a Forest Admin console. I had used React before, and had experience setting up apis and databases, but each of the specific libraries used in this project were new to me. There was definitely a big learning curve understanding how it all linked together and what I could do with it, but after a week of playing around, I felt like I had at least some sort of grasp of it and what it was all capable of.
The next two weeks were spent on a client facing project, working on a Forest Admin console for a client company. I worked on creating smart actions to handle more complex database manipulation, as well as displaying relevant data about each record via smart fields in an easy to read summary on the Forest Admin dashboard. This allowed the client to interact with their database really easily, and without any SQL commands, and it was really inspiring to be able to make a big impact in such a short amount of time.
In practice, I had always been taught and encouraged to use good project flow practices like clear git branching, daily stand ups, and using Kanban boards to manage and distribute tasks. This was useful to know, but the teams I worked in and the projects I worked on previously were small enough that it was more of a guidance than a necessity. Reflecting on my first few weeks being on larger projects that use similar agile methodologies, it really became apparent how important those practices are to having a smoothly functioning, and efficient project team.
I found that a big difference with working on a project for a client rather than a personal project is quite simply the fact that there is a client. Having them involved in the process really emphasises the need for clear goals, tasks, and communication. It was also interesting to experience working on an agile project with new tickets created as the client asked for them or from feedback from implemented features, rather than as I thought of things to add in a personal project. Because of this, the tasks were very varied, as the client wanted a lot of different functionality available to be able to meet their requirements.
Overall, my first experiences working in tech have been great ones. The transition from working on small personal projects to working on a team for a client has been a bit of a leap, but the support from everyone at Contic has been fantastic. I am proud of what I have done so far and excited to see where I can go!