I'm a recent college graduate in Electrical Engineering (EE) with a minor in Computer Science (CS). Most of the topics I learned in EE I understand fairly well (mostly dealing with basic Power Electronic DC-DC design and Modern Control Theory). I realize that in order to do basically any design work I will need my Masters which is what I want to do eventually. My CS minor has helped me with some basics on programming, but focused more on algorithms in general and just the ideas behind certain topics like Robotics and AI.

The company I work for I was interning at before and I was just a simple technician who would build the products and test them to make sure they worked as expected. It's a very small consulting company with an awesome crew and boss. No benefits, but basically unlimited vacation time when needed i.e. if I wanted to take a few months off and travel Europe, I could with confidence that when I came back I would have my job still. My boss is also someone who will stand up for his employees and help them out as much as he can with customers and what not.

When my boss hired me full time, he has me working on a new product which is really awesome! The problem is, it is Android programming. The android part really is not that difficult, but I also need to do some OpenGL with it for the graphics which I am really not wrapping my head around. I have had about 2 months to teach myself about it, and I have learned a lot, but I have not been able to move the project along enough.

At first my boss was lenient on me and understanding that I was learning something new and that it would take time, but now it seems like he's getting anxious for me to move forward with it and seeing that I'm not getting anywhere. I have an outside tutor who has done OpenGL for 15 years, but at times he doesn't know how to help fix my problems.

With how my boss is, I'm not sure if he really would fire me over this problem, but rather would just take me off of the project and let it die while I worked on something else. I would possibly still work on parts of it if I had time too. I also do not know what else he would have me work on though.

What concerns me is this company really needs employees who are used to designing systems with many years of experience. In my undergrad, I learned how to analyze a lot, but not really design. It's something I have wanted to learn and he knows that.

What I want to know is, since it's obvious that I don't know what I'm doing with my job, how should I evaluate this? It seems I could quit so the company doesn't have to deal with me anymore, or should I just wait and see if my boss does find something better suited for me?

  • Can you find a job that is pure analysis? Wouldn't you have the same problem at your next job? – Bowen Jun 26 '15 at 16:17
  • It would depend on what the next job is. If it dealt more with electrical/computer engineering I would feel a lot more competent about it. If it was more graphics then it would probably be the same. – Beren Jun 26 '15 at 16:27
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    First of all, remember the golden rule of quitting: Never hand in your resignation before you have another job. – Philipp Jun 26 '15 at 16:28
  • Definitely no. Learn as much as you can and let your boss be the judge. – user1220 Jun 26 '15 at 16:30
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    Hi Beren, I clarified your question to be less "should I quit?" and more "how should I think about this?" since "should I quit" is not really an answerable question. But it can be useful to consider other factors in the decision, which is answerable. – enderland Jun 26 '15 at 16:45

I'm a recent college graduate

I have had about 2 months

Something which will forever change your life: everyone feels incompetent in new jobs. Seriously. There is always a lot to learn. Processes. Domain knowledge. Business knowledge. The exception is a job which won't challenge you and make you grow.

You have been working fulltime for two months. Of course you will feel incompetent and like you are learning! Many companies expect new hires to be ineffective for months if not a year. Training takes a long time.

You should have more open conversations with your manager. Newer employees are used to school. Constant feedback, constant grading, constant 'doing great!' or 'needs improvement!' messages.

The working world doesn't have this. If you want feedback, ask your supervisor. "Hey boss, I'm feeling like I have some difficulties - there is so much to learn and I feel somewhat overwhelmed. Are there things I can do to learn this better? How do you think I'm doing? I don't have a strong programming background and this is pretty challenging."

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  • I actually interned there for 8 months and full time for 6 months. I had a basic solution to the project back in March, but it didn't work and wouldn't work with what needed to happen next. This is when he had me restart on a specific part and start learning OpenGL which I've been working with for a couple months. – Beren Jun 26 '15 at 16:45
  • @Beren whether you have 2 months or 6 months experience is pretty small difference. My company has training/onboarding plans which are in some cases multi-year because it is that long before employees really are fully up to speed. – enderland Jun 26 '15 at 16:49

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