First Year as a Programmer – Sycamore Education

 

What’s It Like?

About a year ago, I began my journey as a developer at Sycamore Education. I had just endured a grueling year-long career search, having just graduated with the life-long dream of a college degree under my belt. I was just set to run off to the pacific northwest when I received an offer that would change my life.

Over this past year, I have learned a lot about what it means to work, full-time, as a professional web developer. What it takes to be successful in this career path, and why it can be hard to find such a career in large corporate environments.

 

There are many reasons why landing a career, any career, as a new college graduate can be challenging. But this could really be summed up in one word: experience. This is an old circular issue that a lot of new graduates suffer from; but a reasonable one, unfortunately. It takes a very particular kind of company to be able to justify hiring someone, unless that someone has a basic skill set in the field. Hiring and training can be expensive. Bottom-line focused, corporate, entities simply won’t take chances.

 

How Do I Get a Job without Experience?

 

Well, the short answer is you have to have some initiative and work on your own projects or find someone willing to take a chance on you. Sycamore’s approach to recruitment is somewhat unique in this respect. We don’t set hard rules on how much experience or education someone has to have. A good fit is a good fit. We particularly look for people who are open to learning. Armed with a portfolio of personal projects, Sycamore was able to recognize my demonstrated passion for writing code.

 

Great, You Landed the Job! Now What?

I would probably highlight three things from my first year:

 

  • Don’t worry about not knowing something. Documentation exists for a reason. Anyone who thinks it is possible to know everything in this day and age is misguided. The field of technology, especially, is very fast moving. You must always be learning something new if you don’t want to fall behind.
  • It’s okay to confidently debate your ideas in a collaborative environment. Just make sure you have a well thought out reason and are willing to humbly accept compromise if/when your ideas fall short of the ideal solution.
  • Be prepared for feedback. At Sycamore, we have a very standard code-review process. This is vital to ensure the integrity of our product, and something that is standard across our industry. Never take feedback personally. Instead, treat it as an opportunity to grow in your code-writing craft.

 

Wrapping Up

Over this past year, I have experienced all three of the above. I have been part of some very exciting updates to our platform, I have been part of some radical improvements to our Development team’s workflow. As a team, we have been able to create an environment that allows us to much more efficiently put our customers needs first. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I am very grateful to be able to help make our customers lives better. Here’s to many more years, at a company whose focus is on people. Whether those people be staff, customers, or other.

 

Liam Hockley (@xdega_)

Developer

Sycamore Education

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