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I am a junior developer that recently graduated from a programming bootcamp. I studied front end development for three months and previously outside the bootcamp, I did not have any exposure to software development in general.

Recently, I got a job from a start up as a front end developer. This is my first job in software development. The start up is relatively new with only 20 people working as employees. From the first day, I was already assigned to several backlogs. I feel overwhelmed by this and the main problem is that I still need more time to learn. I have one senior developer in my team, but I am hesitant to ask him for help as he already has his own backlog to finish.

I am thinking to ask for his help outside of working hours, but is it okay to do so? I mean, I do not want to cut his free time.

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    Welcome to the site Yogie Praja! Seems like you're asking the same question as the main linked question while the second is also useful reading. If you believe you're asking a materially different question please edit your question to explain that. – Lilienthal Sep 4 '20 at 7:17
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Why not just ask him? Compose an email with all your actual questions. If there's something you've tried to solve the problem or learn about it yourself, include that. A senior is there to mentor junior developers as well as take on their backlog. It's terrific that you want to respect his time, and if you come prepared with questions, ready to learn he's likely to respect you for that. Find some times on his calendar that you think will work, and make sure you're ready all the way.

Outside of hours isn't out the question, but it's also not the kind of respect you seem to think it is. I prefer that these things happen during business hours so as not to affect people's life schedules.

Don't be afraid to ask. Be prepared to learn. Be prepared for suggestions on timing, and be flexible on letting it happen. You won't learn if you don't ask.

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If at all possible ask in person or in some face-to-face way. You'll want to develop a human connection with this person and that is best done without email.

There are a number of ways to approach getting help.

One way is to do some work (or at least get started on it) and then ask this person to take a look at it with you and give you some advice or their point of view. Just by seeing what you've done, a skilled and empathetic practitioner will be able to assess your skill level and be able to adjust their communication to meet you where you are at.

Another approach is to ask this person to show you some of the stuff they've done. Basically have them give you a tour of a project they're working on so you can see how it's put together, what their workflow is and how they deal with changes. All of that will stimulate questions you may want to ask. Most people are proud of their work, so this is a easy way to get someone to talk productively in a way that helps you.

Keep in mind that people have widely different attitudes about mentorship and learning, especially in computer-related fields. The fact that you're concerned about wasting time is good. Not everyone is generous with their time and someone who is extremely skilled might not at all be good at mentoring (those are two very different talents).

Moreover, the workplace itself might limit what is possible. I know what "Backlog" is but the very origin of that word suggests an environment where workers are seen as "behind" before they even start a project. If the job is a pressure cooker environment, it's yet another obstacle.

Whatever the situation, you'll want to be strategic about how you approach the more senior worker. You certainly don't want to engage them outside of work hours unless they specifically want to do that.

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  • I think you see "backlog" as much too negative. You can have rough plans what to do in the next six months. The next two weeks are active, everything else is backlog. And you work on backlog items once you're sure the team will handle all the active items. – gnasher729 Sep 8 '20 at 11:09

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