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Monday, March 4, 2024

10 Things I Did At My First Programming Job That Now I Realize Is Not Normal

10 Things I Did At My First Programming Job That Now I Realize Is Not Normal

Everything Programming

Photo by Olga Nayda on Unsplash

As a fledgling programmer, fresh out of the academic nest, I dove headfirst into my first real-world coding job. There I was, keyboard warrior, armed with theoretical knowledge and a gallon of naïve enthusiasm. Now, looking back, I can’t help but chuckle at the quirks and oddities of that experience.

  1. Code with No Comments — I thought my code was some kind of arcane scripture that only the chosen few (i.e., me) could decipher. Reality check: it wasn’t. My team quickly educated me on the joys of deciphering ‘mysterious’ code at 2 AM.
  2. Refusing to Google — I saw asking Google as admitting defeat. Spoiler alert: it’s not. It’s like refusing to use a map in a new city because you want to ‘explore’.
  3. Over-Complicating Solutions — Why use a simple if statement when a convoluted series of loops would do? I was a programming artiste, painting with unnecessary complexity.
  4. Wearing Headphones All Day — I thought isolating myself would boost my productivity. In reality, it just made me the office hermit. Team communication? What’s that?
  5. Ignoring the Debugger — I fancied myself a code whisperer, believing I could sense the bugs through sheer willpower. Turns out, debuggers exist for a reason.
  6. Snack Hoarding — My desk was a mini convenience store. You’d think I was preparing for the coder’s apocalypse with the amount of snacks I stockpiled.
  7. Not Using Version Control Properly — My idea of version control was saving files as final_project, final_project_really, and final_project_really_this_time.
  8. Fearing to Ask Questions — I thought questions showed weakness. In reality, not asking them was the real weakness. It’s like wandering in a maze blindfolded, refusing to ask for directions.
  9. Taking on Too Much — I wanted to prove I could handle everything. The result? Burnout faster than a cheap candle.
  10. Ignoring Work-Life Balance — I lived and breathed code. Social life? What social life? My idea of a break was switching from Java to Python.

Looking back, I realize these quirks weren’t just learning curves; they were part of the journey. They were my awkward first steps in the marathon of a programming career. To those starting out, remember: it’s okay to Google, to ask questions, and to write comments in your code. And for goodness’ sake, learn to use version control properly.

In the end, it’s these experiences that shape us. They’re the stories we laugh about over coffee years later, the battle scars we show off with a mix of pride and embarrassment. They’re what make us grow, not just as programmers, but as people navigating this weird, wonderful world of technology.

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