I'm a green student with no industry experience prior to my job at a software company, in a position intended for a a software engineer or computer science student. I am neither but study a nearby field.
I was hired without a formal technical or non-technical interview, I was baffled by this but they explained they usually hire students after a single phone interview. I shared a long conversation with an employee there in person at a hiring fair, which they considered roughly equivalent to the phone interview they may have done, and gave them my resume and transcript as requested.
I was not told specifically which team and technologies I would work with, but was familiar with 1 they did use at the company.
Originally I was keen entering the job and eager to get up to speed as soon as possible and contribute. My direct manager placed emphasis not to worry. She said not to burn out and that nobody expected anything of me in the first 2 weeks or so. I had not worked with almost all of the technologies used in this (arguably understaffed) team. Initial performance reviews seemed to assume I was disengaged for being isolated, needed more time to settle in, and they encouraged me to ask questions. My eagerness faded quickly.
Later informal performance reviews they looked into my work history and noted my lack of industry experience, different technical foundation and studying of a different program. They assumed and hoped I should get better with time. Finally I was getting the boot.
I was isolated to a project finished serious active development. It sees little work outside of bugs and small updates. It was explained to me from the start that they would hope to keep me there to become the expert for as long as my stay would be.
None of my coworkers have recently touched it (for a year or longer ago and thus remember little). Nor do they wish to touch it again. It seems like a rite of passage new hires go through and they now work on better,more important,more interesting things. Only a few people of a few tiers above me touch this project occasionally inbetween work (and/or built parts of it a long time ago).
Essentially, I can only get help from a few busy people who have (varying amounts of) management responsibilities.
I have performed poorly on the job.
- Have not accomplished as much as they'd hoped
- Changes are often requested on my work (eg they want no comments on code, except on new code which they never told me, rewording, don't want me removing unused code, or legitimate mistakes)
- Have not been as fast as they'd like (as I worked, I spent a lot of time to familiarize myself with the relevant part of the large codebase, very few people have recently worked on this recently and they're all very busy)
They expected the number of questions I ask (looking for insight or help) to go down over time despite moving into more interesting and difficult work. The issue is I am taking up too much time of the higher up employees with my inexperience and lacking technical foundation.
I always try to search for a solution myself before hand but often fail to produce much if it is something very technically unfamiliar to me.
Moving forward leaving this company, I have spoken to those directly in charge of me and if she had to give a reference of me it would be negative.
To my small knowledge the majority of new technical hires have been assigned to other teams in pairs (and thus can easily seek aid in each other) and can more easily seek help from a wider range of people than I can.
How can I best proceed in looking for work in industry? How may I best present this bad fit/unqualified moving forward (or is there a different/better way to look at this)? What should I have done differently? What else can I do now?
As with my competition, I will look to develop on the side to gain more informal experience.
Thank you for any advice, I may provide additional information where possible, assuming I can edit and comment an anonymous post.