What is it like joining a team as a junior developer during lockdown?

Written by Minna Ylitalo on 22nd June 2020

(Last updated 30th June 2020)

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Settling in

The three days in the office gave me a hint of the vibe in the team. But even when working remote our daily stand-ups on Google Meet are a great start to the day and it’s nice to see and hear everyone - also to see kids doing handstands in the background!

There's a culture of openness in the company which has been carried through to the working from home setup. I have felt very free to express any concerns or preferences and have felt I've been heard. I was already having to adapt to a new company and new process - doing this from home, for me, was just a practical detail not a fundamental change to an established workflow like my colleagues.

I was, however, worried about requiring so much of my colleagues' time when everyone was getting used to this new situation. Those concerns quickly evaporated when we settled into the new routine and it became clear that there was still very much an active line of communication through the whole team. Working from home has actually given me an extra push to solve issues independently and to take ownership of my work.

Benefits and what I have learned

In my first months the biggest thing I’ve learnt is how to structure and organise my work. I’m already noticing a big difference in my thinking when working on my side projects since starting at Liquid Light. Sometimes you have days of bitty tasks when it may get a little overwhelming and it's easy to get lost in the jungle of files and folders. I wish I could say there was a magic trick to keeping on top of everything but the key really is to focus, move forward step by step and not let a single sloppy bit of work get through.

Because of the remote working situation I tend to take more time to figure stuff out by myself before asking for help which is good for solidifying new information. But I also know support is just a Slack message away. While learning is great, it can also be exhausting so it's important not to be too hard on yourself and ask for help when you feel you've hit a wall. You're new, you're expected to have questions!

Top tips for starting a new junior job remote

  • Make sure you frame your questions well when you get stuck! When you're not in the same room providing context is extra important. Provide links and additional information about your task when posing a question to avoid the what? where? replies.
  • Keep track of all your tasks and ongoing projects. I’ve started using Notion for simple project lists for a quick overview and for my own random notes. My current list of lists (yes, very organised) include fe. reading list with useful articles, videos and podcasts, ongoing tasks list, daily to do list and a list for often used terminal commands.
  • Remember that mistakes are a great way to learn. Code reviews and feedback are an opportunity for improvement not something to be taken as criticism.
  • Reach out if you're feeling lost or detached. You don't know your new team yet so be proactive in making connections. Non work related chats count!
  • Feel free to get away from the desk and work on the sofa if you need a change of scenery. I've also set up a standing 'desk' on a chest of drawers to give my back a break from constant sitting.
  • Keep a cheat sheet of Git commands at hand at all times.

All in all I've been positively surprised with how well I've been able to get involved with the work and connect with the team despite the unusual situation. I look forward to more learning, failing, succeeding and adding value to our clients' sites in these strange times.

This article was posted in Development, Musings by Minna Ylitalo

  • Minna Ylitalo

    Minna Ylitalo

    Our junior front-end developer, Minna is passionate about all things code. By day, she smashes through CSS and JS on projects like it’s nothing, and by night, she organises codebar Brighton. When she needs time away from the keyboard, Minna hits the local countryside for a walk in the fresh air.

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