4 Tips For A Successful First Day At Work


Hurray! After countless rounds of interviews and anxiously waiting on a response from SOMEONE, you’ve finally made it to your first day of work!

Now you’ll just need to figure out how to create a strong and likeable first-impression, no biggie. But easier said than done.

With all first days, there will always be a feeling of unpreparedness mixed with excitement and eagerness. This feeling never changes, no matter how many first days you’ve been through.

At NodeFlair, we’re all too familiar with those jitters; keeping in close touch with our developers from the day they get accepted, to the day they start work, has taught us a thing or two.

Here are the tips we found most useful for a developer's first day at work.

Tip #1: Get Familiar With The Codebase

There’s no better way to create a good first impression than taking the initiative to understand the codebase of the company you’ll soon be joining.

Start by reading up on any documents that are related to the software. This is to give you a rough overview and understanding of how the system works, and why it was built.

If the software happens to be very extensive, do not get overwhelmed. Start with targeting small specific segments of the codebase to focus on. Like reading chapters. Afterwhich, you can spend some time figuring out how it all links together, perhaps with the use of flow charts and venn diagrams.

Some guiding questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Which conventions have been chosen?
  • How has the code been split up and what stylistic choices has the team made?

By familiarising yourself with the company’s codebase, you’ll not only be exhibiting exampliary conduct, you’ll also be helping yourself. When your superior eventually explains the system to you, you’ll already have a general idea. It’ll be easier for you to stay on track and follow his or her instructions.

Tip #2: Get To Know Your Colleagues

WORK FRIENDS! We need them. No one ever reaches their goals alone or without help.

It’s hard being “the new one” when everyone is already well-adjusted and settled.

But don’t take that as a bad thing, in fact, use it to your advantage. Your first day at work is a great time for you to seek help from colleagues who have been around longer. They’ll know how the company works, and can teach you a trick or two on how to quickly fit in.

Some colleagues might become your lifelong friends, if you make the effort to get to know them.

Remember, every office is full of smart, kind and experienced individuals who are willing to help you settle in.

So don’t be shy! Take a deep breath, and go and say hi, people don’t bite. Start forming new relationships with your colleagues, there’s definitely more to gain than keeping a distance.

Protip: It’s hard to have a proper conversation while hovering over someone’s desk. You can ask them out for coffee breaks, or perhaps for drinks after work. Software developers all have a great passion for what they do, and often like to share about the things they’ve learnt. Hanging out outside of work can help you better understand your company’s culture, and also help you gain a friend or two!

Tip #3: Be Honest - Don’t “Fake It Till You Make It”

There’s no bluffing around in this industry. Developers are no-nonsense people.

But it's human nature to want to impress, or to want to appear as if you have the answer to every question. But faking it will only do you harm. Those around you will also see right through it, and you’ll run the risk of losing respect.

We’d advise you to be open and honest the entire time. If you’re unsure and need help, you have the right to voice it out. Nobody expects you to know everything.

Sometimes, the brave thing to do is to admit that “I don’t know, but I’ll look into it!” Chances are your boss and colleagues will give you the knowledge or provide you with resources to gain it.

Acknowledge the skills and experience of your co-workers and see each “I don’t know” moment as an experience to learn. Practice open and honest communication with yourself, and seek to understand and trust yourself. This will help you to grow faster.

#4: Ask For Help When Stuck

True or false, a good engineer is one that solves problems, and so a good engineer never asks for help.

FALSE. This is a toxic mentality to hold onto. A good engineer is one who is independent through the learning process, and is able to speak up to ask for help.

Asking for help when struggling is seen as a strength, not a weakness.

If you find yourself stuck on a problem, put your ego aside for a moment and remember that it is perfectly fine to seek help. Approach a colleague for their input (a perfect opportunity to connect with your peers!). This will not only save you a lot of time, but also your company’s time, which will ultimately benefit everyone.

Be a transparent team player!

Following these tips will help you have a smooth first day of work, and enable you to acclimatize faster. Of course, these tips are also lifelong tips that you should practice throughout your entire career, but are extra important at the beginning to help you integrate faster.

For more tips and tricks, approach your NodeFlair Talent Advocates for help! We’re always available for developers like you!

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