I am new to the programming world and my first language I am using is Java in Android App development. I am currently working in a company in my 5th month. There were few things that I was not aware when I accepted the job as a software engineer.

The first thing I was not aware was when I accepted the offer. I was given the choice in a mobile app project. A bit background story on this mobile app project is that the company just started implementing the idea and it has gone for a 3rd project but there were no documentation or template to continue with. The javascript framework for front-end was Ionic-angular and VB.net for front-end and back-end respectively. For this mobile app project, it was handle by 3 developers which the first developer handle the first project completed like 90%. The 2nd developer who came in and then left after I join in has completed the first and second project. He had started on the 3rd project and left it done like 40% which then I came in. I went in and took over. Just a fyi, there were no team or seniors in the mobile app team so I was a lone wolf. The other seniors are working in a portal web team(using VB.Net and Telerik) and no one knows how to handle the javascript framework (Ionic).

I ran into some issue in the front end part as they have done the back-end which the front end just need coding to retrieve the data and I have ask my colleagues(for a pair of fresh eyes) or google search to find a solution but it fail. 3 months pass, the manager ask me for the solutions which I stated that either have a senior to guide or provide me the first project to do code review but he said no cause I'm not full time and it's confidential. He ask me what other language I'm familiar but I told I'm newbie. I said React and he ask me "What is React?" as he does not know the existence of this javascript framework. The moment he ask me this question, I was wondering, why are you not aware as this is a new idea. I believe you would have done some research before starting the mobile app project. Sadly he was not happy with the progress even though I have made small accomplishment for myself which he said it is not a big deal.

After that, he decided to throw me into the portal team. Then not long, due to the Corvid spread increasing in Malaysia. We were going to lockdown which then make us to Work From Home. So I was assign to some task remotely. I have encounter errors and I have debug to find the source which I'm aware is around that block of code. I have try making changes but fail to solve it. However, I may be blind or dumb not to understand the code which then I ask my senior for help and then he said please debug. He has been doing this repeatedly which I do not know what to do. We both ended up had an argument on the voice call stating I should be self-independent and not being spoon fed which he did for some part for me. I had wasted many people's time.

What he said it's true and I'm now thinking whether I should further continue in this line of work?

UPDATE - I was given a task by a senior. The senior pass me a few file out of the whole application system. The senior mention that these are the only file needed as I just need to modify that particular page. So I took it and try to compile. However I ran into some error and have tried whatever necessary to compile it. Sadly, I failed and I told the senior what I did and show the senior a screenshot of the error. The senior then told me to check again and do the steps that I have done earlier. I told the senior, I did already and the senior mention check again and it is not possible cause it should work fine. I got fed up and I don't know what to do. The senior doesn't seem want to help when I have try every possible way I can think of to solve it

  • 1
    Sounds like you are overwhelmed, take this as a opportunity to grow as a developer, do what needs to be done to figure it out.
    – Donald
    Apr 3, 2020 at 6:04
  • 11
    React is not a programming language.
    – Brandin
    Apr 3, 2020 at 6:39
  • 4
    A year ago I would have told you that maybe you should look at a different career altogether. Right now (April 2020) I strongly recommend you do anything you can do cling on to your job for as long as possible.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 4, 2020 at 9:18
  • 1
    Plan on spending weekends going through tutorials, focusing on small pieces that work successfully before you move on. Many people spend extra time training to keep skills up. Don't give up on yourself. Apr 16, 2020 at 13:47

4 Answers 4


This is normal, I've been developing software professionally since 2006 and before that for about 10 years non-professionally and I've seen this both in myself and others so don't worry. You are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge / skills you need to accomplish seemingly simple tasks.

The "seniors" you are working with should really understand understand this if they have any amount of experience and their job is to help you through this. It seems to me like they aren't which to me is the role of a senior developer so I would say they aren't doing their job very well either at the moment. This might be due to the pandemic or it might just be that they don't know that this is part of a seniors role is.

What you need to do is break down your tasks into smaller chunks and work on them. Just like someone climbs a mountain they don't constantly look to see how high they are they just take one step at a time. So if you have problems break it down to the smallest thing you should do then tackle that and if that's too big a problem break it down to as the smallest thing possible. Put these steps into a todo list (a bit of paper is fine btw) and as you finish them cross them out.

should further continue in this line of work?

Yes definitely, this is a little blip you'll get through it.

I would say that the others in your company should be helping you out here but it sounds like none of them are. This is quite curious if you ask me as I've never seen that before. All the devs I've worked with where willing to help me out. I think you need a mentor which should be someone at your work but failing that you could use an online site some of which are free.

  • 1
    Regardless it's a simple mistake to a unknown part, they will just keep telling me to check it out myself cause they said we as developer need to self learn and be self-independent. As much I want to do that, I'm not only wasting my time but as their company time as well if I can't solve it. I'm not sure why but they prefer to be self independent than helping each other
    – I.Z.
    Apr 13, 2020 at 3:08

Ionic-Angular with a vb.net back end is a tech stack with substantial learning curve. Frankly its crazy to put anybody new to programming on that project even with support.

It sounds to me they are not making any effort to accommodate your level of experience. You need to make it clear that you will need support and don't be harsh on yourself. In the mean time do all the learning you can to get up to speed.

  • The big red flag to me is that they are building a back end in VB.net Apr 16, 2020 at 13:50
  • @selectstriker2 why building the back end in VB.net is a red flag. I'm curious
    – I.Z.
    Apr 16, 2020 at 17:42
  • Because if they are hard set on a .Net back end I'd expect them to be using C#. I see very few professional projects written in VB.net. If you look at Github, most .Net projects are written in C#. Apr 16, 2020 at 17:59
  • @selectstriker2 sorry to disappoint you but they are not using C#... This company has been going on for 26 years. Their tech trend is really slow which I just found when I join in. They just started moving forward to IR 4.0
    – I.Z.
    Apr 16, 2020 at 18:19

(I am making the Community wiki because it promotes one of my web pages which I think may help, but want to minimize any gain from it.)

It sounds as though you are being asked to debug without much idea of how to do it other than make changes you think might help from reading the code. It is possible to take an organized approach to understanding the bug, so you can make exactly the right change to fix it.

See my Debug Strategy page.


Should you pursue a career in programming? That one is entirely up to you.

It is normal for a developer to face this kind of issues? Yes.

The most important thing for you right now is to decide whether you're okay struggling with a steep learning curve, knowing it should get much easier overtime as you learn more and more about the stack.

I've been in tech for 7 years and haven't done the same job for more than two years. Tech is a field where you're constantly learning, which may be an advantage or a no-go depending on your personality. This is especially true in programming, where you'll most likely learn many languages, frameworks and stack throughout your career.

Your manager did a poor job by letting you stuck on an issue. They should remind themselves you're a junior and still need to learn a lot. From what you're saying it sounds like they don't want to do it themselves or maybe not even know how to do so. I'd advise you to look up for job opportunities but given the current events, now doesn't seem like a good time.

Have a break. When I'm stuck on something I switch to another task or have some leisure time because by the time I go back to the issue, I look at it in a different way. My mom always says your brain continues to work on the issue in the background and when you go back at it you have a calmer point of view as well. Double win.

If possible, talk to a colleague about the issue. Rubber ducking is a great way to move forward because putting words on the problem makes you look at it in a new way. It's even better if the colleague isn't that skilled with the specifics of the project because you'll have to be as simple as possible when explaining. That greatly helps in troubleshooting too.

Finally, use Stack Overflow/Exchange. There are lots of people out there who are skilled in these languages and willing to help.

Don't be too harsh on yourself. Learning is part of being an developer. We all learn everyday and this is part of what makes this career so interesting so if that's what you really want to do, don't be afraid by the difficulty and know that's it's okay not to know immediately.

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