I have decided to quit my first job as a developer because I was not feeling challenged enough. I recently got a new position as a junior developer.

I am a junior, and not very experienced in the field (I graduated college 13 months ago). This is why I am so, so, so nervous about this new job. What if I am not cut enough? Will I be the "stupid developer" in the group?What if I fail my tasks? These are doubts/questions I ask myself everyday.

Is this normal? How can I handle this stress? Any tips?

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    There are a couple of names for your concerns. One is the impostor syndrome. A better name, in my mind, is the inverse Dunning–Kruger effect. Incompetent people are clueless that they are incompetent. The flip side is that people who are quite competent know full well that there is a whole lot of stuff that they do not know, and this bothers them immensely. Dec 30 '15 at 22:52
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    The only way to get over this stress is to find a way to enjoy being in situations where you indeed are incompetent, at least momentarily. Learn and prosper. When that becomes passé, it's time to strap on those lead boots and jump into yet another pool a foot deeper than you are tall. Dec 30 '15 at 22:58
  • Yeah, sounds like 'imposter syndrome' to me. Jack, take comfort in this: they wouldn't have hired you if they didn't think you were up to the job. You have a high opinion of their competence, so assume they made the right decision in hiring you! ;)
    – A E
    Dec 31 '15 at 10:53

I know a few consulting firms who have different "levels" of consulting. Depending on their customers, They know if they'd better offer mustangs or bad horses.

The best artists always fear before entering the scene. It's good to have fear, as long as you're not dominated by it : it means you care about the quality of work you're going to make. I did 13 missions as a consultant, and I'm now working as a direct employee of a software company : I've always known fear before it would begin. Fear is just an information. Think about that : you are concerned about the quality of your work, and that's why you have fear.

Now, you've found your previous job too easy. Too easy!!! You were not challenged. You're going to be challenged. Ad challenge is gonna push you further. Take problems once at a time, in case of doubt ask your manager for priority, and you're gonna make it. You're not a 15 years veteran as I am, they're not expecting as much from you as from me. You're going to learn a lot.

You're going to doubt also. It's a good thing. Doubt means you're going to make progress, by reassessing things you were sure of. Doubt means you are forced to make progress. Doubt means you're going to face challenge. And that's what's cool : challenge, because it makes the best memories. Fear means the task in front of you is tough enough for your skill level. Enjoy.


At the start of a new job you will not know a lot about the domain nor working practices in the company.

Do not worry about this. This is expected.

Instead of worrying use that energy in doing the following:

  • Asking people about when you are stumped - people will understand that you are a new boy
  • Find out how to access their documentation
  • Do not be worried asking questions even if you think they are stupid
  • They is usually one or two people in a company/team that are more approachable/knowledgeable than the rest

Also do not worry too much about failure. Most people learn the best lessons from mistakes. To err is human


I am a junior, and not very experienced in the field (I graduated college 13 months ago). This is why I am so, so, so nervous about this new job. What if I am not cut enough?

Then you'll get to discover what kind of remedies the company has to adjust expectations.

Will I be the "stupid developer" in the group?

Are you wanting to work with people dumber than you? Think about how if you aren't the "stupid developer" then all your co-workers could be and then wouldn't you be right where you were initially?

What if I fail my tasks?

Have you not experienced failure previously? Did you always on the first try get that home run on the first pitch and never have to deal with how to adjust on the next one since you missed the first one?

Is this normal?

A lot of people have a fear of failure and embarrassment. How deep yours goes would be the bigger question here as one could wonder if you have anxiety conditions which would be something for a doctor to assess.

How can I handle this stress?

Make Stress Your Friend would be the TED Talk that would apply here though there are various therapies like cognitive behaviorr, dialectic behavior and others that could be useful though I could question how did you get to this point if you didn't already have some tools to handle this.

Any tips?

Communicate, accept that you will make mistakes but this is part of learning. After all, were you the kid that crawled, walked and ran without ever falling down? Chances are you did fall but either don't remember or don't want to remember them I suspect.


Your concerns are perfectly normal.

Do at all times remember that you had an interview, and you did get hired. If you were bad at what you do, why would you have gotten the job? They clearly believe you're as good as the impression you left. If you exaggerated a lot during your interview, this might be a little problem. However, if you told them the truth, you will only have to continue being yourself.

I had a similar situation, although more dire. I used to work in an industry that is less-than-legal and that was the only entry on my CV. A few months later someone noticed this and thought it was impressive how I taught myself these things, as I was also a dropout from university. An interview later, I got hired as a Software Engineer working primarily with JavaScript.

I had never used JavaScript before! They knew that, but they also knew that I could still learn. That is, in the end, what it's all about for a junior position: the ability to learn!

If you do not know something, ask! If you make a mistake, acknowledge this and ask for advise on how you can avoid making such mistake again. It will be appreciated, by your employer and by your colleagues.

When I first started working where I now work, I used to break our development server every week. When the server showed odd behaviour, everyone jokingly pointed at me. Do not take things like this personally! Now, after 18 months, I rarely break the development server and now I can point at others when it breaks down; it feels great.

In short, the only thing that you should worry about is the asking of questions. When everyone talks about bytecode manipulation and you don't know what they're talking about, it might indeed be difficult to stop them in their conversation to ask for a brief overview of the subject. However, not asking at all (and thus not joining the discussion) is much, much, much worse.

Acknowledge that you're not a professional, and show that you're eager to learn.

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