6

So let me preface this by saying that it's not that I don't want to do the work my boss is asking me to do, but that they don't seem to understand my limits and constraints.

I was hired and have the title of junior front end developer however lately my boss has been treating me as though I'm a senior full stack developer. Currently he has asked me to design a database for an entire application and has plans for me to build it out entirely in python as well as handle the front end ui/ux programming. I am an ok developer but I only have about 2 years of experience and often find myself wishing I had more experienced developers to go to. I am the only dev on our team that knows any python though and he's being insistent that it be built in that language. The other back end devs on our team are very fluent in php and wordpress and have all but washed their hands of it. More so he doesn't seem to have a wonderful grasp on just how complex it is to build an entire enterprise level app from scratch and that you can't just use plugins and frameworks to do all the magic for you. How do I go about telling him that his expectations are not reasonable without risking talking myself out of a job?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Best way to communicate that there is too much work to do? – gnat Apr 5 '18 at 21:17
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    @gnat I don't think this is a duplicate. That is talking about being overwhelmed with too much work, this is talking about being overwhelmed with work above the level he thinks he can do. – thursdaysgeek Apr 6 '18 at 1:03
  • @gnat - also, isn't it better to point to an original question, than one that is itself a duplicate? – thursdaysgeek Apr 6 '18 at 1:04
  • voted to keep open, the kind of misunderstanding described here is not of the same nature than in the potential duplicate. – gazzz0x2z Apr 6 '18 at 10:15
  • "find myself wishing I had more experienced developers to go to" it sounds like this isn't something your workplace can offer you, is that right? Are you feeling insecure and would like the reassurance of a senior dev overseeing things or do you want a teacher because it better fits your learning style? – AllTheKingsHorses Apr 6 '18 at 18:06
14

I believe your focus is wrong.

You could potentially gain significant experience and widen your skill-set from merely front-end to more full-stack - all paid for by your employer, who seems confident that you are up to this task. Take that as a compliment.

Many (if not most or all) senior-level developers have early in their careers found themselves in similar situations where they had to leave their comfort zone without being able to lean on seniors. Despite the insecurity and occasional frustration, it is an excellent way of gaining experience and discovering/refining your own problem solving methodology.

You should not be resisting, but rather concentrating on setting expectations. Insist that this will be a learning process, there will be set-backs and possibly even dead-ends; if your boss seems to understand this, you should go ahead.

Use a project model which promotes transparency by having a short feedback loop, so your boss is never kept in the dark regarding your progress or lack thereof. You can never ensure that your boss won't get mad or disappointed; you can only do your best and maintain total transparency.

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    Indeed. The kind of project that skyrockets your career is "the previous 3 people we asked to do the job runned away screaming in fear", and you accept, and you do it. I've really been told that, and I really had the project work. Was not THAT hard (though not a ball in the park either, of course). – gazzz0x2z Apr 6 '18 at 10:19
5

If you tell yourself you can't do this, then I guarantee your results will be exactly that.

However, if you dive head first in these projects, setting up expectations with your boss that you are learning, and may not be able to deliver on time, that will give you the time to learn the right way to do these advanced technologies.

As you are learning, check your assumptions with the experts on Stack Overflow. Get some code reviews internally if possible, and if that isn't an option there are other stack exchange sites for those.

You can learn this stuff, yes you will make some mistakes, but that is how we get better.

I say all this to say, take the bull by the horns and be happy for the challenge!

Just some advice from a developer with 20 years experience

  • Not sure why this answer got downvoted. It seems reasonable to me that this is a challenge, and as a developer we sometimes have to step out of what we find comfortable and take it on. The only caveat being if the OP doesn't have any interest in being a full stack developer, and ONLY wants to be a UI front end Dev. If that was the case, the advice would be different. +1 from me. – Digitalsa1nt Apr 6 '18 at 10:58
0

You need to work with your supervisor to set expectations.

Sit down with your manager and have a discussion. Say you're ready for some stretch goals. Set expectations based on your experience (or lack) in a specific technology.

This is something that will happen to all of us at many points in our careers. Technologies change. We have to be willing learn different technologies. Two years into my development career (early 90's) I was doing COBOL. I was thrown onto a state-of-the-art system written in (gasp) VB6. I knew nothing of VB6 (I was a Mainframe developer who didn't do these new-fangled desktop systems). I straight up told my manager that there will be a learning curve and I will make mistakes. If he was willing to live with this then I was on board with the change.

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