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It has been two weeks since I began working in a new job as a C++ software developer in a medium size factory equipment manufacturing company. I am in a small team of 4 developers and a manager. Since it is a manufacturing company,the work culture is totally different from IT. But I like the job and the culture. For the first two weeks, I have been reading the source code and the documentations. One day my manager explained the machine workings and he left to go onsite for servicing.

At this point in time, I have acquired an overall understanding of the machine and the source code and I am confident of working hands ON. But my coworkers, including my manager, seem busy doing projects. Now I don't want to give the impression of being "laid back". Can someone tell me what are the things I can do to impress my manager and my boss in the first 3 months of my job.?

NOTE:

I tried approaching my colleagues for help and most of them were helpful. But I did not ask more questions from them since they look busy all the time.

I eat my own lunch and can't discuss the issues with the team.

I speak a different language than the rest of the team and I find establishing a rapport with everyone is taking some time.

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In a new position, the first thing that you need to do in the first 3 months to make a good impression is to deliver the work. Meet deadlines and do as good a job with the task as possible. The better you do at delivering, the more respect you will have and the easier it will be later to propose and make changes.

The one thing you don't want to do is start out telling them that their software is horrible and their techniques need to change. Even if this is true. You have no chance of making a change to company policy, software design or tools, etc until you have earned respect through the quality and timeliness of your work. If you come in as a person who thinks everything should change to how you want to do things, people will resent you and you will never gain respect.

It sounds like you have started well and it is time to ask your manager for some hands on tasks. Once you do the first task, ask for a code review even if this company doesn't normally do them. It is critical that you get started in the right direction and a code review should catch anything that you should know about that no one has told you yet. Don't feel bad about asking for your manager's time, everyone will be less busy once you are up-to-speed.

  • for first three months this sounds like a really safe, reasonable way to build a trust – gnat Aug 22 '12 at 18:26
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You need to convince your manager/boss you are a valuable member of a team.

Some possibilities:

  • Ask intelligent questions that you have attempted to answer yourself (just a note: there are tons of easily available resources on the question you asked online already. If you have looked at them, you can say "I've found X, Y, and Z but am not sure about XXX - what are some additional ways to impress bosses?" instead of "how can I impress my boss")
  • Ask your boss for additional responsibilities and do an excellent job on all your responsibilities
  • Take initiative in finding additional ways to add value to your company
  • Find documented bugs and begin fixing them

The number one thing, given how you have described things in your question, it seems, is you need to take initiative and look for ways you can add value to your company rather than waiting for someone to tell you what to do.

2

If I am reading this right, you are still in the process of learning the system and want to know what you can do to move onto working on the system, without directly confronting your manager and asking for a task to do.

I would suggest that you review outstanding bugs, the older the better, and try to verify them. If you're able to reproduce the bug, then try to add additional details such as what part of the code you think the bug is in. Do NOT try to fix the bug. What you want to do is (a) add value in the fact you have verified that the bug still exists, (b) combine that with learning the code and what kinds of problems they are facing.

You should inform your manager that you are doing this, giving him the opportunity to put you on something else.

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If you haven't got any firm assignments yet and you're for something to do with your time, improving test coverage is a very good way to make yourself useful.

  • Excellent way to gain a deep understanding of the implementation and the various rules buried in the logic
  • You can never have too many tests (well, obviously you can but within reason). I've yet to see a place that has 100% coverage and where they don't think a little more would be good.
  • It's a sure-fire way to get approval from your peers (especially the more senior ones). Test coverage is usually something that nags every diligent developer or architect, but they can never get the time to do anything about it (plus many find it tedious for some reason).

If the software doesn't have a test suite or any infrastructure set up for proper unit testing, then take it upon yourself to set one up! Get approval from your boss first though.

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I believe you must have heard about the story of "Rabbit/Tortoise Race". When we are new to a job we pay our full attention and try to learn more n more ASAP and after a certain time we might feel that we are way ahead of some employees but the hard fact is that experience is experience and it is not a race, learning is a constant process. You can utilize your time by learning new concepts that you feel that your company may adopt in near future, try to be decent in the circle, observe the points that are more weighted in your company, make them feel that you are responsible with the work rather than a "Rabbit". I think these things will going to certainly help you to nourish your career and best of luck for the future :)

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