Monday, February 2, 2015

Professional Development

December 15th was my 3-month anniversary at one45! As such, I had my 3-month review with Tracy. 

It was a fairly straight forward process. I had to fill out a Google doc with things I felt had gone well, things to take a look at, and goals I wanted to set for the next quarter. Tracy then reviewed this, added her comments, and we met together to discuss it. And, well, yall I'm really excited about the goals we set this quarter. 

I have been having serious doubts about whether or not I'm cut out to be developer or whether or not it's something I even want to do. I had felt so unprepared after graduating and entering a real development job. 

The University had been so against group projects or working together on projects until the senior year, and even then we only had one class each semester that last year that involved group work. We'd had one class in sophomore year where we had group presentation on research, but no group coding. The project senior year was not ideally set up to encourage group work. There was typically not enough to go around for the number of people on each team. I didn't put in 100% to this class, I was trying to get my anti-depressants at the right dosage. Yet very few people I know felt like it was a particularly effective class.

Now we're out in the real world, supposed to find a job at a real company and perform effectively in a group setting. I'd never written any automated testing. I'd worked very minimally with a version control system in the last semester. I'd never seen a system with legacy code. 

I was so horrified before starting at one45. I felt as though they were going to "figure me out" as soon as I started. I had been honest with my lack of experience in areas they asked me about. Yet I still felt as though I'd be expected to pick them up instantaneously on day one. 

Thankfully I walked into the right office building. I managed to find the perfect company in which to be a junior developer. They expected that I would be able to learn and that I had a base level of cs concepts. They were very patient with me as I need second, third explanations about the subversion commands and setup, the way our product was constructed, and the various technologies we used to build things. I have learned a great deal in the last four months, and I have everyone at the company to thank for that. 

Yet I still wonder if this is really what I want to do. 

That's where the professional development comes in. 

Tracy wants the "new kids" to start a book club. We won't be reading 50 Shades of Grey, but we will be reading Agile Estimating and Planning. Beyond that, Tracy asked me to lead the group, to set up the start deadline, set the agenda. 

I'm also starting to follow some tech blogs, find a particular article each week to summarize, and take at least two really interesting ones to the team. 

Annnnnnd I'm still not sure I want to be a developer.

The great part is that these development goals aren't developer specific. They are good professional habits to have no matter what field you're in. Learning doesn't stop when you graduate, and neither does the world. Things are always changing and the best professionals keep up with that.

I really feel lucky to have found a company that invests so heavily in its employees. I don't think every company takes the effort to make sure you learn how to be in the workplace. You either get it or you don't.

We'll see where the quarter takes me. 

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