I'm still a University student, but I've had the luck to already get a job in one of the biggest companies in the world. At first I was fine and happy about the opportunity I received, but later I started to feel that something was wrong.

After my first year of university I already knew what I wanted to do: software development. I had a career plan: starting as a programmer and then moving to a software architecture job.

The position I got into was advertised as "Solution Architecture Trainee" and in the interviews I got the understanding that my job would be around my favourite things, i.e. software design and development.

However, after one month I realised what I'd got into - basically Information Systems client projects, where there isn't even simple talk about creating new software - we take the existing one, consult, make an integration and deploy.

I'm not saying that I'm unhappy; I'm still really proud of working in that company. However, I am concerned about the direction of my career. Has anyone ever had any similar experience? How I ensure my career progresses in the right direction?

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    Its hard to believe but they do not generally put the new guy on the biggest and best new projects. Instead you start of supporting existing project to get the experience. 90%+ of new development is enhancements to existing software. An architects job is to understand that software and how the new features/changes will affect the existing functionality and how to change it in such a way as to work well in the future. Welcome to the real world. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 17 '14 at 16:08
  • If it's a large, exciting company, I'd suggest keeping an eye on the internal vacancies boards, and meanwhile, working with the intent to impress your current colleagues and bosses, so they can give you a good internal reference. – StackExchange What The Heck Jun 17 '14 at 16:34
  • Yochannah, yes sound logical. Should I be with my boss 100 % honest about the situation, or that can screw things up? – user3749120 Jun 17 '14 at 16:48
  • Do you see software development as only involving new software? How well do you know all the aspects of design as perhaps this could be an educational opportunity? – JB King Jun 17 '14 at 16:53
  • JB King, of course not only. But so far I didn't have any task related to programming at all, and that's what killing me the most. – user3749120 Jun 17 '14 at 17:18

You have to give yourself the concept of working your way up.

Maybe you were at the top of the ladder in University, but now you're in the working world, you'll start at the bottom, the very bottom.

You have to prove yourself and become a dependable and indispensable member of the team; slowly the managers will trust you with bigger tasks and eventually a creative project of your own.

This does not happen because you're still fresh out of university.

If you're really not happy then I'd suggest looking for a new job; but don't walk into a job outside of University with any preconception other than the bottom-rung jobs. You have to earn trust and earn your position.

That being said; you will be designing and developing features rather than full applications. Companies are heavily invested in their products and they'd rather commit time hours to maintain and upgrade rather than take a risk with a new project.

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  • Yes, I agree with you Dan. My main problem is not being at bottom, I'm fine with being monkey in the beginning. The problem is more about our department in general, the far it goes - the more I see, that our whole department is doing configurations/integrations for clients. And I really afraid, that if I stay long - nobody will ever hire me as a Programmer. – user3749120 Jun 17 '14 at 16:46
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    I'm a programmer myself. I think you misunderstand the value of what you're actually doing. Maybe it's not that valuable to the company and you do feel a little bit like a spare part, but the experience you will gain from it will be like gold to other companies. You'll have shown you can do the leg-work and work in a development team in addition to knowing the code. However, leaving a company after less than a year could be detrimental to your CV (Resume). – Dan Hanly Jun 17 '14 at 16:58
  • Yes, with high probability I do misunderstand =) Thank you, Dan. Very last question then, what is point of time (1 year, 2 year), when I should Judge and really think about changing something? – user3749120 Jun 17 '14 at 17:14
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    You cannot get a good feel for a company in just a month; it's a difficult one. I joined a company which was great and then thing soured after more than a year; this could happen in reverse. You may find you dislike it now, but in 6-10 months, you really enjoy it. Maybe you get entrusted with a project, or have a really positive evaluation from your manager and it gives you new perspective. You'll know deep down when it's time to leave if that's what you'll choose to do. – Dan Hanly Jun 17 '14 at 17:20

This actually look pretty simple to me. 1) You're not currently unhappy with your position but 2) you'd like something else.

Well just start looking for a new job. If this one doesn't make you miserable, it doesn't matter if it takes a while. And in the meantime maybe your current job will get better and you won't want to go anymore.

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  • Should I first have a talk with my boss about possibilities in other departments? – user3749120 Jun 17 '14 at 16:49

If you like stability and prestige coming from working for well-known big company, you have to follow career path that big company has for your specialty. You are one of many, and you need to prove that you have skills. Company is not going to risk anything important by depending on unproven skills.

If you want hands-on experience with creating new product, join a startup or start one, and you will test if your skills are up to snuff. Then of course you will not have training resources, stability and income of big name company - but you said you don't care about that?

Or there is third path: keep your nice job, and work in open source project of your choice, learn new skills and prove it by delivering code.

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Being in the right or wrong job is conditional on what your expectations and objectives are. If you don't have one, then it would be hard to know whether this was true or not. I think it is about finding the right balance between what you WANT and what the company NEEDS from you. If you feel like you are getting what you want to providing what the company needs, then all is well.

I think you realize that perhaps luck has more to do with skills in getting into these types of roles, so the important thing is to continue developing your skills (not just technical, but interpersonal as well) and set goals for what you want to achieve with your career and let that guide you rather than your feelings and assumptions. At the end of the day, no one is irreplaceable, and in the end people will leave either because they have had enough or they were proactive enough to want to find something better. I don't know of people who are perfectly happy with their job, but they usually have other motivations to keep them there.

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You made a wrong turn, considering you want to do software engineering. Up your software engineering skills and start looking in the direction of building up your software engineering skills set. No harm, no foul :) Warning: it's going to take a couple of years of continuous, disciplined effort before you are any good as a software engineer - If it were easy, everybody would be doing it and getting paid the big bucks :)

I had the misfortune to meet a so-called software architect at a hackathon. He wasn't worth a lick when it came to developing software. Mr. Windbag tried to tell me how to do my job, then ordered around this poor kid who didn't know any better when I didn't cooperate and simply ignored him. The two of them together did not accomplish a thing and I delivered for the three of us. I said a couple of pungent things about Mr. Software Architect/Windbag to my team leader and told her that hell would freeze over before I worked with him again and that he is on my list of those whose names must never be mentioned in my presence.

As you are still functioning as a software architect, try to do better than this guy did :)

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  • Yes, I'm planning to get Master degree, I'm ready for efforts. But what "looking in that direction" means? – user3749120 Jun 17 '14 at 16:52
  • @user3749120 It means that your efforts should be directed at becoming a first-rate software engineer. I'll edit my answer for greater clarity :) Having said that, I recommend that you try becoming a hard edged python type by the time you graduate :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jun 17 '14 at 17:00

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