Things I’ve learned as a Junior Engineer

I decided to write a blog post on 4 things I have learned in my 7 months as a junior data engineer to document my learning and in the attempt to help others.

These points are in no particular order and can be applied across engineering roles.

When you have an idea, build it!

There was a time when I raised my idea for a project, then waited for validation before I built it. I was told my idea was okay, and it remained in the backlog of tickets to do when I felt it was useful. I learned to take the idea into my own hands and build it. What I should have done:

  • Don’t wait for validation if you have an idea
  • Code, push the code (in staging), raise the pull request and then wait for feedback
  • When you raise your pull request, other engineers can review your code, which you get the credit for, and give you feedback on it.

Thinking slowly pays off

You don’t need to rush to solve something. You are paid to think, so you should think <the problem> through. Do not be in a rush to get the ticket done. Yes, there are deadlines, but you should plan the time to think it through into your day. By thinking through a plan and the expectations of the final product before execution, you anticipate an outcome, and you are prepared. Here is a link to a helpful blog post on planning an expected result before you execute your code.

Work is not your life

Understandably, a junior engineer will want to put plenty of hours into learning the languages, technical tools, frameworks and company engineering standards for the role. I spend a lot of hours at work trying to learn while also trying to work on the tasks throughout the day. There were times when I would get sick and still come into work, which I initially did not see a problem with. This is something which may be obvious for some, but it was not for me. I realized that is it not good for yourself or your teammates to come into the office unwell. Put yourself and your feelings first. Work will always be there, so if you are not feeling well, you should stay at home.

Don’t be hard on yourself; others will be hard on you

A senior engineer gave me this advice because I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things done quickly. It’s easy for me to feel negative when I am not speeding through a ticket, especially when there are tight deadlines to meet and not a large team headcount. I have learned that it’s important not to feel negative about it, because learning takes time and your learning pace is personal, which you shouldn’t get angry at yourself for. Since other people will do the job of being hard on you, why do that to yourself?

Happy coding! 🙂 #womenintech Photo: Sonya Moisset

Thank you for reading. Feel free to share if you found this useful. I am always welcome to feedback and constructive criticism! Find me on Twitter/Instagram @thisisnadiaali

Originally published here. 


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Nadia Ali
Nadia Ali

22 year old Data engineer, psychology graduate, dancer and blogger

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