Navigating the Newbie Journey: personal Insights and Tips for Thriving in Your First Tech Job
The excitement that follows completing studies in a tech Bootcamp or any other tech program can be immense, especially if you haven't encountered any major setbacks. It feels like every door is open for your new technical journey. And after submitting countless resumes, the miracle happens – you receive a response and an invitation to interview at a tech company. This is followed by technical interviews, real-case scenarios, and then... you find yourself at the final stage. After some time passes, it's a shock, a pleasant surprise – you receive the long-awaited email with a contract! Mission accomplished. But what comes next?
In reality, as a complete newbie, you don't really know what to expect in the first days, weeks, or even months of your first technical role. Although you asked questions during the interviews, the tech company's universe feels like a vast unknown. You have a million questions and… a million fears.
My initial step in the tech field was as an AI Solutions Consultant. It was slightly different from what I learned in the full-stack development Bootcamp, but my studies provided a foundation for collecting customer data, configuring algorithms based on their needs, analyzing and adapting the payload, and more. After working in the company for six months and participating in two projects, one of which I led from start to finish, I gained a clear understanding of what can make your life easier during the initial period at any tech company. Now, I'm happy to share these insights.
Seek thorough onboarding
Every company has its own onboarding process, but if you find yourself needing more information after going through it, do not feel shy to make a list of your questions or needs and discuss them with your direct manager. This will help you feel more confident and prepared for your first projects.
Discuss concrete KPIs
If your role lacks clear indicators of performance, ensure you discuss this with your manager. It's important to have a clear understanding of the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your role. These will be crucial during periodic assessments and evaluations throughout the year, enabling you to set specific goals for success.
Embrace mentorship and guidance
Identify someone experienced in your department or with the same role who can provide guidance and support. This mentor, coach, or buddy can answer your questions and help you navigate the initial challenges. Don't be afraid to ask for mentorship within the company and proactively communicate with more experienced peers to gain more ideas regarding potential challenges and solutions.
Remember, mistakes are normal
Even with the best mentorship in the world, you will make mistakes. There will be moments when you feel frustrated, silly, or unable to complete tasks. What matters most is taking responsibility for mistakes, learning from them, and taking actions to prevent them in the future. Transparent and clear communication with your team or customers can minimize mistakes while also fostering innovative approaches.
Set boundaries and limits
Saying "no" for the first time in a new job can make you feel uncomfortable. During the probation period, you want to prove that you are ready to move the mountains! Studying the company's product and countless technical documentation, along with the tasks that can appear starting from the first week can make you feel overwhelmed. As a newbie, it's important to manage your time effectively, establish realistic expectations, and prioritize tasks. If you feel overwhelmed, communicate it to your manager, clearly explaining the situation and suggesting your own learning curve timeline, seeking more clarity on priorities and expectations.
Ask for feedback
Be proactive in requesting continuous feedback from your manager, mentor, buddy, and peers. This will help you in understanding areas for improvement and avoid mistakes in your work routine within projects. Regular communication enables you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and ways to enhance your skills.
You are able to learn anything
Remember, everything is possible. It's normal to feel overwhelmed when tackling technical documentation or when faced with a daunting first assignment that seems impossible to complete. This is normal. Just remember that you can always ask for help and support. Doing so will definitely boost your confidence and make you realize your capabilities.