The second was not asking for help when I should have. I was stuck on a bug I discovered for a feature that I was trying to implement. Trying to uncover the root cause of the bug was like opening a can of worms – related problems started popping up everywhere. Instead of properly escalating the issues to increase their visibility to get more resources or asking for help, I spent many cycles trying to find solutions, which was an exercise in futility. My manager at the time noted that a common mistake made by junior developers is to “disappear” to work on their tasks for extended periods of time, and reappear when they’re finished. When I realized that unexpected problems are expected, and a manager’s job is to have visibility and enable a team to operate at optimal velocity, I was able to improve on this.
Answer by Jason Ewing
Be more loyal to your company than the company is to you. I’ve managed too many teams that have entry level employees and I see this too often. You like your first company, they gave you your first real shot! You should be loyal, right?
Wrong. People stay in an entry level position for too long believing their employer will “take care of them” if they just work hard enough, stick around long enough….
Over time, this grinds a person down. I love that people believe that if you just work hard and do well your talents will be recognized and you’ll be promoted, but the truth is this isn’t always the way things work. Companies both large and small have to have a position to promote you to, a budget to pay you more, etc etc….
Once you’ve been at your first job for a bit, begin engaging your manager about what your options are for developing your career. If you start to get the sense that no one ever gets promoted, or that options for advancement are limited, then change gears: Learn what you can where you are and take that experience somewhere else.
Answer by Carson Tang
Ignore the bad habits of your older colleagues - Your colleague who has been working for at least 10 years might be late to meetings often, but that does not imply that it is acceptable to be late. When an older colleague is late, your manager might cut her more slack because she has proven herself to be helpful and employable whereas if you are late, you simply look irresponsible and unemployable.
Seek guidance and help proactively - In school, your professors and teaching assistants often provide hints and guidance on homework and lab assignments without you prompting them. At work, everyone is busy with his or her own tasks, so do not be surprised if no one offers help. It is not necessarily that they are unfriendly and selfish so much as they are just plain busy. The ones that offer unsolicited help are generally friendly people, so those are the ones with whom you want to be on extra good terms.
Be the expert of your assigned task - Even if you are assigned a menial task like fixing minor bugs, swallow your pride, fix those bugs, and understand how you fixed them. If you are assigned a major task, the same underlying principles apply. In software engineering, you are the expert of the part of the codebase you modified and extended, so if your colleagues have questions, they expect you to have the answers. Being the expert achieves two goals. First, your colleagues will think of you as a responsible person, and second, your manager will eventually notice and assign you more meaningful tasks or place you on more challenging and more impactful projects.