Things I wish I'd known before starting at Viva IT

Author: Leighton
Monday, May 16 2016

To help new members of the team and to give an insight into how things work here, here's a few things that I would have loved to have known before I started working here.

Things I wish I'd known before starting

There's a few things that I wish I could have told myself before I started here that would have made the transition into working in this industry and with these tools a fair bit easier.

First of all, it all seemed like a lot to take in since so many different frameworks, tools and bundles were being used. There was a lot of terminology being thrown around that I didn't understand. Despite all that, the learning curve wasn't nearly as steep as I thought it was and most things just came with time, or through simply asking a co-worker. A lot of the things in Symfony are pretty straightforward once you wrap your head around them, and the ones that aren't have brilliant documentation and resources to help you understand. It would have been great to know for sure that Symfony would be easy to get into for a newcomer like myself, since I felt like everyone telling me that it wasn't so bad had way more experience than me and that had made their experience different.

Something that I'm told is pretty common is this whole "imposter syndrome" deal, and I can say for certain that I definitely felt that. Even if I thought I knew for sure that I understood something, I felt like I must have been missing some important detail because there's no way I should be able to understand the things the more experienced developers are doing. Some things were easy to grasp because of the documentation or resources available, but that just made me doubt my understanding too. I expected the whole thing to be way more of a struggle than it was, and I didn't expect to receive so much help whenever I needed it. Looking back, I would have loved to know that a lot of the doubts I had about my abilities were wrong, and that I was actually a part of the community when I thought I wasn't.

It would also have been nice to know that people were genuinely willing to help more often than I assumed they would be. Even now I feel guilty having to ask for help, but it's slowly dawning on me that it's just part of being a developer - everyone has knowledge on different areas and nobody is at fault for not knowing something they've never encountered before. It seems like a silly thing, but it can sometimes be hard to admit that you're clueless and need help. Knowing when to escalate and ask for assistance is a great skill to have, and it's helped me to notice when other people are in that position too so that I can help them.

Lastly, I think that knowing how friendly everyone actually was would have helped too. Everyone I've met has been easy to get along with, and that's something I really wasn't expecting from the working world in general. From the outside it seems as though you'd be treated differently based on your abilities but that's not really the case at all - the whole community seems very open and welcoming to people of all skill levels that love what they do.

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