How to be a confident student developer
You are a student finishing your bachelor’s or master’s degree and have just landed your first job. Congratulations. But now what?
Level 1 (0 XP)
First of all, keep in mind that you are a student. You’re not a senior developer, and nobody expects you to perform as one. Don’t be harsh on yourself; try to gather and use as much information as possible from other, more experienced developers.
They are here to help, and you are here to improve.
You will probably have an onboarding process in which you will get a basic sense of what exactly the company is working on and its overall philosophy. After that, you can gradually start working on more serious tasks and assignments.
How to act professionally?
If this is your first job, you must know that working in a company requires a certain way of behaving yourself. You can find a lot of advice on how to act in a workplace, and it can be overwhelming.
Essentially, just try to be aware of how you behave in front of your colleagues and be mindful of them. That results in a healthy and relaxed working environment for everyone. As I said at the beginning of this article, being a developer can be stressful, and not worrying about a colleague stressing you out will go a long way.
“Eager to learn, ready to tackle every challenge that comes my way, very good at working in a team environment.” Oh, that’s pretty much what you have in your CV, too? Well, these are the so-called “soft skills” everyone mentions in their CV when signing up for a job – but are you sure you excel at them?
These soft skills can be summed up into one word – proactive. Whether it’s helping your colleague stuck with his task, communicating or a programming language that you need to learn, you need to be proactive.
This is a key to letting your fellow team members know that you are here for them, ready to help, but it is also a great way to make your mind more at ease by tackling some of your own challenges as soon as you stumble upon them – avoiding the problems to stack up and for you to feel overwhelmed.
So yes, developing your soft skills is as important as developing a solution to a technical problem.
Strong confidence == Strong performance
One of the most common problems every developer faces initially is a lack of confidence. No matter the seniority, this is what every one of us encounters, probably daily.
You may feel like an absolute mastermind at one point, but then, you face some issues and suddenly feel worthless. Instead of letting these thoughts devour you, a good question to ask yourself is: “What is causing my lack of confidence, and how do I solve it?”. It may sound stupid, but asking yourself this is a good start in tackling the source of the problem.
Most of the time, your confidence plunges harder than international trade during The Great Depression because you find yourself in front of a task that is more challenging and nothing like the tasks you’ve encountered before.
Of course, as soon as we face something we don’t know how to deal with, we can run away from it and crawl back into our little safe bubble. You could say this is the point where you cannot advance anymore because you don’t have the knowledge, but this is not true at all.
Facing new, harder challenges is exactly the perfect way to upgrade your skills and improve rapidly. You may be a couple of lightyears away from your comfort zone, but this will just make you feel that much better when you finally figure it out, and trust me, you will figure it out.
All of these new skills that you have learned will boost your confidence. You will know that you know more, and when the problem arises again, you will be ready.
When in doubt – zoom out
Okay, some time has passed since you got the job. You’ve already had a couple of ups and downs during your journey, but you still feel out of confidence? It may sound cliché, but when in doubt, just zoom out.
Take a small recap and see what you have done by now. Don’t forget all the things you achieved and all the new things you learned.
Try to go back to your first tasks, and you will see that you understand them pretty well by now; they are not that scary anymore because you have continued to advance and push through all those stressful times.
Every goal that you’ve reached should be taken into account. It is much easier to remember all the bad things and fill your head with negativity when, at the same time, you did a bunch of good things. Also, think about the future. Set some objectives for yourself. This is always a great practice for you to keep going.
You are just starting
It is very important to have an overall vision of where you were, where you’re not, and where you want to be in the future. And if things don’t go as planned, worry not, almost nothing in life does.
That’s life and that is your career. It’s a crazy rollercoaster that just keeps on going up and down. Whoever is reading this, I wish you good luck in your future development or any other career, and don’t you ever give up. You are just starting!