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So I have been accepted into a small-mid size company for a month. In a month, I've been asked to make an app using a library that I don't know and kinda old / rare to be used. Mind you I spent 1 month developing this and searching also bug fixing the app alone.

It's also my first career in the professional work.

But I feel extremely pressured and confused anytime I'm working and even when I got home. Is this normal? Or should I resign?

Thank you.

UPDATE

No, I don't work in a team. I'm literally solo and alone working on this right now while reporting my work to Chief Technology Officer in my company. I don't even have Backend engineer because I used native android and the library can be used without a back-end engineer (It's kinda like a Router / Websocket or something? so they just installed it on the domain / server and I can use that websocket)

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  • "using a library that I don't know" is 100% normal for starter project; the whole point is early on you'll be ramping up on lots of things the company uses. Did you discuss why that particular library? Having to search and bug-fix is normal for seniors too :-) "pressured and confused anytime I'm working and even when I got home" — can you elaborate what you mean? Confusion emotional or on technical topics? Is the team/manager pressuring you? Are you feeling doubts about your own skills? Doubts about the company? Nov 30, 2023 at 16:53
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    Companies large enough to hire junior developers don't, so you've found yourself in an alternate reality. Source: firsthand experience. You should list your country, region, and other relevant details though. Dec 1, 2023 at 1:01
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    Granted, this sounds like an extreme case, but "impostor syndrome" is a thing.
    – Fildor
    Dec 1, 2023 at 8:18
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    @YetAnotherRandomUser As if small companies don't hire juniors...
    – marcelm
    Dec 1, 2023 at 9:45
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    Sounds like "I'm the only developer in the company, how come on this particular project I'm only one developer in the company working on it"... Not sure what else you expect to happen... Maybe some clarification on who else you expect to work with would be helpful. Dec 1, 2023 at 19:03

5 Answers 5

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It depends on the expectations being set for you and the level of support you are getting.

I have definitely seen juniors get a solo project so they can get their feet wet and learn about the company, its business and the technology in use.

If you are getting good mentoring and there is no unreasonable deadline being held over your head, then I would take this as an opportunity to learn and work with your manager on feedback about your work as you progress.

If that is not the case, I would speak to your manager/tech lead to find out how you should proceed. There is nothing wrong with struggling on your first project, but don't hide that from your management chain. They need to know what issues you are having. I wouldn't leave until you have given the opportunity more of a chance, one month is probably too early to tell.

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  • So the thing is, They (those management levels and CEO, CTO, etc) expects me to do this project for one of the biggest information and technology company in my country. And no, I don't feel like I received any support (tech-wise) because I'm the only one with the ability to code in the project right now. I have also talked to the manager and tech lead but usually they just responded with "Ah, okay do you know what to do next?", or "Are you stuck? you can do this" kinda thing. Dec 1, 2023 at 0:53
  • @Reinschwall How are you answering those questions? If a manager asks you if you know what to do next and you say yes, they are going to assume that you are just venting frustrations with the old code (which is common among programmers) rather than experiencing actual difficulty. If you actually need help, you need to say so.
    – Abion47
    Dec 1, 2023 at 16:49
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    This is the real test of whether or not it is reasonable. When you tell them you need help, do they work to help you or get upset with your "failure"? There is nothing wrong with a new junior needing help, there can be wrong with how they handle that.
    – cdkMoose
    Dec 1, 2023 at 17:12
  • Are you sure your tech lead isn’t trying to mentor you? Their responses when you ask for help at least sound in line with what I’d expect unless you’re not including all the details? I generally gently guide a junior into figuring things out on their own because they need to learn to be self-sufficient, and just telling them the answer all the time doesn’t accomplish that. So just double-checking, what is your tech lead’s process for helping you?
    – bob
    Dec 2, 2023 at 6:55
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It's not uncommon for new members of a team to not contribute to an active product for a while after their hire. For members with years of experience, this could be a few weeks before any work is allowed to go through testing to production. For someone brand new to the industry, several months isn't uncommon. Basically, you have probably been given a non-critical project to see how you perform.

Use this time wisely, and you can build an impression that will stick with you through your time at the company. Keep up with your work on the project, but also ask a reasonable number of questions to get an idea of how the project fits in with larger business goals.

Once you know what the business goals are, you can set a trajectory that makes yourself increasingly valuable to the company.

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    "you have probably been given a non-critical project to see how you perform." — maybe, but it's also probable it's more for your learning than to "measure" you. It's hard to predict long-term performance from first month, and conflicts with giving you space to learn. These are good questions to directly ask your manager: how important/urgent is delivering this project, which areas you're learning will serve you later, and how much you should take the time to learn for learning's sake. Nov 30, 2023 at 17:01
  • Well in the beginning I have asked to them, and they said that the client and the project itself is big and important. And yesterday one of my Chief Business Development Officer even presented to the client. I never got to know how it went though. Dec 1, 2023 at 0:58
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Yes, this is not uncommon for companies on the smaller side; I have experienced this myself.

This is more likely to happen with smaller projects, utilities, tools and things like this. From the company perspective, they need something done, they can't spare the experienced developers who are on important projects. So what do they do? bring in a junior, put them on the task solo, with a more senior person keeping an eye on it and guiding it if needed. If the junior is handling it, they hands-off and leave you to it. This type of situation can turn into a great opportunity to prove yourself.

For your first professional job, I would always recommend sticking it out for at least a year. You don't want your entry in to the professional software world being marked by a month-and-an-half before quitting and then possibly no reference (or a negative one).

So the task is dealing with the stress. Couple of recommends: (1) Set some work-at-home boundaries - it is fine to do a few hours to catch up, but you don't want to work till midnight every day at home. What boundary to set depends on your situation. (2) Keep project deliverables in mind, and keep estimating how you are doing towards that time target. If you start to slip, make sure it is communicated to the team. This is a useful skill in general to acquire. It is not fun for a team to think something is all well and good and then find out there is a month of work left, a few days before release.

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  • Well for your information I don't even have a team, I work and report to the Chief Technology Officer in my company himself. And no one in my company codes kotlin and native android therefore I don't get any technical support / mentors due to them taking on another projects. Dec 1, 2023 at 1:04
  • This is how I started, and it was a great experience when I look back on it. I had previously been working in tech support and convinced a manager to let me try out as a developer. I was working alone on a small project. I made a ton of mistakes and learnt from them. However I didn't feel pressured and wasn't stressed, which is why I like this answer because it offers some advice in dealing with that.
    – Aaron F
    Dec 1, 2023 at 23:40
  • @Reinschwall got you. Advice really does not change except: the opportunity you have it larger because it has direct visibility with CTO. Pull this off, potential good long-term things (if they are a decent company, no guarentees ofc). Down side is working directly under the CTO can equal enhanced stress, so stress management is important. In the software industry, if you concede you cannot do it, they will get someone else to do it; just how it is. This industry is not a walk in the park, you do have to dig into hard things to get the rewards.
    – Chris
    Dec 3, 2023 at 1:13
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I have a differing experience on this topic. I too was placed on a project within my company as a junior engineer by myself with no outside help. However, unbeknownst to me, the project leader had decided that he no longer liked the project and wanted it to fail. While I'm not saying your situation is the same, look for these warning signs:

  • You report directly to the project leader.
  • You are never introduced to any one else on the project and have no direct contact with them.
  • Your project leader either chooses to ignore your requests for help, or asks you why you are doing things the way you are doing them. This is followed by radio silence.
  • The people on the team that might speak up to help you are also the same people who leave the project shortly after.

This was not my first project with this company, but it was my first project under this manager, and the last I will take with him. What little you tell me of your situation sounds like you might be in the same situation I found myself in, but it all hinges on if you are being mentored or just ignored.

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  • For now I'm just left alone in the project, I don't even have a project leader. I work just below the Chief Technology Officer in my company. Dec 1, 2023 at 1:02
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Imposter syndrome is easier to feel when you're starting out.

One of the coolest parts of programming is having to do the discovering, learning and tinkering your way through a project. Risk is associated with all endevours, and that risk is assessed by your management and by the company as a whole to determine what level of risk to take on.

That being said, you also are a component in determining risk and its severity. I have worked for companies which have had fantastic risk management, and others which have not. Being the lone developer on a project, you'll have to help in assessing what the risks are involved with this project.

Three points which have helped immensely for me when in similar situations:

  1. Clear and open communication is key. Letting others know what is going on and how the project is coming together is much better than hiding issues which pop up. Issues most likely will pop up and addressing them sooner rather than later helps everyone understand the best way to handle the task.
  2. Understanding that the company trusts you to take on this project means they have assessed your skill level to be a competent and sufficient resource for the task.
  3. Risk and reward go hand in hand. The risk involved with the project, although it sometimes might not feel like it, does actually fall on the shoulders of the company. The company has to decide how to use the resources at their disposal.

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