What I Wish I Knew Before My First Developer Job

Braedon Gough
The Startup
Published in
4 min readMay 19, 2020

If you’d like to read about how I transitioned into development, you should read How I Went from Sales to Front End Developer in 16 Months.

I started as a front-end developer at Pleo in August 2019. There are some things you can’t prepare for while transitioning into a full-time developer role.

Most rational companies maintain the expectation that there will be some time spent learning in your first few months on the job. Even as a seasoned professional, it’s impossible to know everything.

Looking back, there are a few key areas that, had I spent more time looking into, would have made the transition easier and less intimidating. I’m not saying you should be an expert in everything I’m about to mention. Having a rudimentary understanding of the following points will smooth the transition into your new career.

Avoid the Shoulder Tap

There is no way to hide from the mountain of questions you’re going to have in the first few months at a new job. There were so many days where I felt way in over my head.

It’s expected that you’re going to have many questions. What’s more important is how you go about getting answers to those questions. You’ll likely be assigned to a buddy or have a team lead that will guide you the most initially.

This shouldn’t be used as a license to bombard them with every question that you think of. Don’t spend an entire day stuck on one problem, however, you should usually spend more than ten minutes troubleshooting a problem on your own.

Ask questions asynchronously when possible. It’s considerate to allow others to respond to a message when it’s convenient for them. If you know it’s going to require a more extensive session, schedule in a 15–20-minute meeting with them instead.

Using Git with a Team

When learning to code, I never felt I had a reason to be strict with version control. It was actually a while before I stopped using Google Drive to store my code remotely and conceded to pushing everything to Github. Creating branches or running pre-commit checks was completely foreign to me.

Braedon Gough
The Startup

Follow me on twitter: @bbbraedddon

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