Do’s and Don’ts for Technology Industry Newbies
There is no shortage of career advice for new programmers. Family, friends, colleagues, the barista you see every morning at Starbucks – all of them want to see you succeed and mean well when they tell you what you should do to move forward in your programming career.
Some of that advice can be spot on, while other suggestions may not be terribly helpful. But since all of us at GTN Technical Consulting make it our mission to help programmers and IT professionals get the job they want, we thought we’d give our two cents with career advice for new programmers.
Get a Mentor – Somewhere Else
Starting your programming career is like the beginning of a long journey to a place you’ve never been before. So, you’ll find it helpful to have an experienced guide who can show you the way and help you avoid the pitfalls that could slow you down or throw your career off track.
Connecting with a mentor at your current company is absolutely something you should try to do. A mentor can show you the specific ropes of your workplace, help you understand the interpersonal dynamics of your superiors, and assist you in developing your technical skills.
In addition to a mentor in your office, you’ll want to find a programmer, software engineer or technology professional on the outside who can give you guidance as well. Their perspective may be more objective and unbiased, and you can speak more freely about subjects that would be problematic if you shared them internally.
One of the keys to success, at any point in your career, is knowing what you don’t know. And when you’re just starting out in programming, no matter how excellent your education was, you’ll discover a ton you don’t know.
How do you learn what you don’t know? You ask questions. And any technology company worth its salt should recognize that asking questions shows strength, not weakness. Being inquisitive shows that you want to expand your knowledge base and become better at your job. Finding and asking questions reveals that you would rather get things right when you start a project rather than winging it and getting it wrong because you didn’t reach out for needed information.
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Speak Up and Contribute
Similarly, don’t let your status as a newbie prevent you from speaking up if you think you have something positive to contribute. Many folks just starting out are understandably reluctant to talk in meetings, make suggestions, or otherwise share their views because they are afraid of embarrassing themselves.
But you can’t win if you don’t play, as they say. Your good idea may, in fact, be a good idea. But that idea will be one that nobody ever knows about if you don’t open your mouth. Speaking up shows that you are engaged and that you want to actively participate in your team’s or company’s success. Prepare for upcoming meetings by doing the kind of research that increases the odds that your contribution will be well-received.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
You’re going to make a mistake. No matter how much of a code-slinger you may be, something, sometime, somehow will go wrong. And when you’re just beginning your career, that can be sooner than later. But the true measure of your character and abilities proves not in the mistakes you make; it’s how you respond to them.
Take responsibility. Don’t panic. Let your supervisors know about the error, have a plan for fixing your blunder, or ask for guidance as to how best to do so. You can let yourself be upset with yourself or embarrassed, but don’t dwell on your mistakes. Use them as an opportunity to learn and avoid similar problems going forward. And remember that your superiors and more senior colleagues were once newbies just like you, and they made mistakes just like you will.
Our Last Piece of Career Advice for New Programmers? Contact GTN Technical Staffing Today
When the top technology companies need top talent who possess the IT skills in demand this year and in the years that follow, they turn to GTN Technical Staffing. We can help new programmers like you connect with those employers starting right now.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you move forward in your IT career by finding the right company right now