Hey Coders! I’m finally in the Bay area, after all of the adventure it took to get here, including a crazy fun cross-country road trip. I have officially landed on one single spot on the U.S. map and I’m happy to start calling the Bay area home.
It’s been nearly a month now since I started as an engineer at Apportable and it has already been a blast. My brain feels like it’s overflowing everyday with all of the new knowledge I’ve been acquiring. Plus, I’ve gotten to help out with some really awesome projects so far, including working on the android version of this awesome game called OLO and representing our company’s booth at the Game Developers Conference last week.
One of the aspects I have loved so far about starting at Apportable is how encouraged I was to just jump right in. Though not required, they hope that new engineers can try to push code, regardless of how minor or major a change, on their first day. Before my first day, I was feeling a bit intimidated only because it seemed like such a huge feat. What if I didn’t understand the system well enough? What if I still didn’t know what I was doing by the end of the day? What if I wasn’t as experienced an engineer as I thought I was? (Oh, impostor syndrome…).
However, upon getting there, I realized that despite a number of differences from the atmosphere of my first job at Lexmark, there were also quite a few things that stayed the same or at the very least were familiar enough for me to pick up new things. For instance, having gained a thorough understanding of Git from my previous job, I was able to jump right in and pull down the code I needed to start working immediately. Having experience with build systems and Makefiles made it easier for me to understand how to build this platform I was working with for the first time by equating similar concepts that I had previously encountered. And though the developer tools I now use at Apportable are not the same ones I used at Lexmark, having that prior workflow at Lexmark and knowing how I needed to set my workstation up to make myself the most productive I could be allowed me to set myself up in a matter of hours, rather than the number of days that it took the first time around. By the end of my first day at Apportable, I pair programmed on a small project and was able to push some code changes and submit them to the rest of the engineering team for code review.
The idea that prior experience helps inform new experiences seems obvious to me now, but I was super unaware of this while at my first job. Back then, I had just come out of college and had no experience with things like version control, various text editors (and the shortcuts to make them more convenient to use), build systems, working with a super huge codebase….basically many of the tools and experiences that make up the daily life of a Software Engineer. All I knew then was that I was eager to code. Now I know there’s more to it than that: there exists a plethora of tools and resources that I can assemble to form a workflow that allows me to code more productively and efficiently (which is the reason I advocate computer science education programs incorporating classes on dev tools as part of their “software engineering” tracks, but I digress…).
Though I was less attuned to it then, I know now just how much my first job taught me and how invaluable that knowledge is. And thankfully, the foundation provided to me by my first job has helped support the weight of the new knowledge I’m acquiring everyday at my new job.
If you have any insights you’ve gained from your own work experience, I’d be happy to post it! Message me or email blackfemalecoders at gmail dot com!