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I'm about 10 months into my first 'real' job after my MSc Comp Science, as a junior web dev, and it is bothering me that I am not getting anything out of the job.

  • My supervisor lacks any solid programming knowledge; technically I am more qualified than him in this area. Code quality is really bad.
  • Most of my co-workers are twice my age and I have little in common with them.
  • There is limited desire to keep up with the latest developments in the field.
  • There is no software development process beyond the company directors, who don't really 'get' software, deciding what needs to happen
  • Unqualified people (i.e. the directors) frequently make my design/development decisions for me - I get that that is probably normal - but it irritates me that I am paid to be 'creative' and not allowed that freedom.
  • I get lumbered with irrelevant tasks that are not my job because I work in the IT department.

Perhaps most importantly is that I wanted to learn and develop in a junior role and I hardly am. Almost everything I have learnt I had to pick up myself because no one had really thought to try it before. I have also worked hard outside of work to better my knowledge. In short I am pretty unhappy working there.

I want to find something better but will a potential employer will view my short time in the role as a negative - i.e. do I need to tough it out for longer?

On the flip side, will they expect me to be more competent than I am because I have been at it 10 months?

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    I think we've seen a nearly identical complaint before and the same answers should apply: you aren't in the job you think you are. – keshlam May 5 '15 at 19:20
  • @keshlam what do you mean by this? – easymoden00b May 5 '15 at 19:49
  • Similar - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/30935/… – David K May 5 '15 at 20:13
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    "Web developer" is not typically a job that involve-s cutting edge, or even trailing edge, development tools or practices. "Latest developments in the field" are a good thing for you to track, but business computing is all about stability and only making changes that have clear payback. And as a junior there isn't a lot you can do about it except set an example of how it could be done and show them where the money is in doing it that way ... while continuing to do the non-sexy maintenance and support tasks which are your job if your manager assigns them to you. – keshlam May 5 '15 at 23:20
  • @keshlam Thanks, I appreciate your comment. I should say that these non-sexy tasks aren't necessarily 'maintenance and support', think more 'can you convert this PDF for me' or 'will you edit this video for me'. From speaking with developer friends elsewhere and reading other's work, web development very definitely can involve 'cutting edge' practises, but I take your point that I may be naive to think the business arena is the place to do this. – Cohagen May 6 '15 at 11:30
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It sounds as if they are not contributing anything to your development, but are they keeping you from developing yourself? If the answer is no, then you have an opportunity here.

When you work with a bunch of management non-tech types who want to direct what you are doing without understanding it, you have to learn to give them what they want, but do it in a way that benefits you.

For example, they say they want it to look "this way". Okay, there are a lot of ways to deliver the same visual effect. Generally, the non-technical focus on appearance; colors, verbiage, icons, etc. They don't care if you use javascript or C#. Third party software or home brewed. ADO.NET or Dapper. Educate yourself in what's "hot" in web development and find a way to use it in your code.

In the IT world, learning on your own is essential. Absolutely essential. Being forced to become more proficient in doing it yourself rather than relying on others' knowledge is a blessing rather than a curse, as you will find out as you get more experienced.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to justify how you are implementing the code, do your research. Why is this technology good and what can it do for them? Understand your audience. A marketing guy won't care about how efficient something is, or how it will require less maintenance time; he wants to know how it helps him sell more product. "Our competitor is using this technology in their web page and their page takes less time to load, and as you know, load time directly affects the probability that a casual visitor will click on page links that lead to purchasing". A finance guy might be interested in the fact that maintenance costs represent x% of programming costs, so if this technology requires x% less cost to maintain (as if you use a third party software product instead of home brewed) it will save the company money.

On the other hand, if they are effectively blocking your use of these new technologies, then, yes, you need to get the heck out of Dodge. Will it look bad that you haven't been at your job for long? Yes, unless you can spin it properly. And you won't have to lie, just tell them the truth. "I studied X and Y and taught myself Z but they just aren't interested in any sort of innovation. I'm looking for a home where they value self direction and hard work, and where I can really make important contributions." Throw in real examples of what you researched and why it would have been good, so that they know you aren't just blowing smoke.

Potential bosses are looking for those who can self educate, learn quickly and who are willing to spend their off hours keeping up on all the latest. You just have to be able to get through HR to the guys who really know what you will be worth. The way to do that is buzz words. The more of them you can put on your resume the more chance that HR's search engine will grab you for an interview. So keep learning and use what you learn and you'll go far.

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  • Good advice, I just wanted to add that you also could seek out other opportunities at any time, and there's no harm as long as you keep your search on the down low and you continue working in your current position. Not applying at all is just as much a missed opportunity as applying and being rejected due to lack of experience. – Kai May 6 '15 at 0:58
  • I have accepted for the suggestion for how to explain my concerns to a new employer. – Cohagen May 6 '15 at 11:34

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