In June 2021, I began working full-time as a React Native Developer at Morrow, fresh out of my Computer Science degree which I finished just a month before starting the role. I had already done some work with this company on a part-time basis during the final year of my degree, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on how things have gone as a full-time employee. I've split this reflection up into two sections:
Environmental Reflection 🌱 – reflecting on my transition from university to the workplace
Technical Reflection 👨🏽💻 – reflecting on what I've worked on so far
My company are remote-first, meaning we have no physical office space. This means I predominantly work from home, sometimes opting to work out of a coffee shop to get a change of scenery. The lines between my personal and work life blur pretty quickly as a result, and I'd say I'm still in the process of establishing a solid routine to help with this (once I've figured this out, I'll come back and make a blog post about it 😉). Despite this, there are a couple of things I currently do which helps me:
Having a morning routine - I either wake up and go to the gym, or get up and just get ready for the day, as if I was going to an office (so I do still get changed out of my PJs!).
Going for evening walks - when I finish my work, I switch everything off and go for a walk around my area. It helps me feel like I'm "commuting" home, a time when I'd normally switch off in the past when working or studying at a physical location.
As mentioned earlier, I worked at the company part-time as a student. When joining full-time, the type of work wasn't too different, and I was even put back onto the same project I was on before finishing my part-time role, so things were still familiar to me.
My first day was just getting the project setup to work on my machine and getting handovers from relevant colleagues. The actual coding began on the second day onwards 🙌🏽. I was eased into the project by working on small UI tweaks across various parts of the app, and then moved onto building out entire screens for the app based on some designs.
Whilst my focus was predominantly on UI / UX, we also had an Engineering workstream which my colleague was responsible for delivering. However, I had multiple opportunities to pick up tickets on this side of the workload. This included fixing logical bugs in the app and extending features that already existed in the app to do something different. Taking on these tasks away from UI was a little step up, and initially it took me a while to understand exactly what was happening at times, but I've left with a greater understanding of how the app is architected and the best practices we employ in the company. I've recently started taking this knowledge and applying it to a new internal project. It has been fun starting something from scratch, as it challenged my existing knowledge and helped me build on it further.
We build our apps using a framework developed with the Clean Architecture – I've become a lot more familiar and comfortable with this. Though lots of great feedback from PRs, I feel more confident working with this architecture. Aside from this, I'm gradually building on my React Native & TypeScript skills.
A big piece of feedback I've received is to stop being so harsh on myself. I have a habit of putting down any of the work I produce, and pushing myself to do "more" (whatever that actually means). Anything I've completed instantly feels like it is lacking for some reason, so I struggle to celebrate what I've achieved along my journey (both from a career perspective and academic).
I want to share this because I think it's common amongst a lot of developers to feel like this, but especially early career developers who are still "finding their feet" and settling into their new careers after finishing studies / whatever your previous background was.
The purpose of this post was to help me think about my first two months working full-time in the industry. I hope it gives aspiring developers, or other early career developers, an insight into what the initial weeks as a developer looks like. I'm really enjoying working with the JAMStack & React Native Expo, and I look forward to what my future will hold as I continue to work with these technologies. There is certainly a lot more for me to learn in this space, and I look forward to advancing my knowledge in these areas.
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