I just got moved to the Dev Team. I come from a non-programming background and have a mental block about coding. Anybody who transitions to that team goes through a probation period. I feel very nervous and scared.

How do I overcome my mental block and succeed in my probation period?

  • This seems rather similar to my question workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/78872/… except I asked it from a manager perspective.
    – user49733
    Nov 3 '16 at 21:07
  • 7
    Is this a transfer you requested? Why were you moved? Nov 3 '16 at 21:08
  • 2
    Do you have a mentor in the team? Does your team know you come from a non-programming background?
    – Brandin
    Nov 4 '16 at 9:18
  • 2
    Do you actually want to move? Do you want to become a developer, or would you rather not? Moving someone into a developer position who "has a mental block about coding" seems a rather bizarre move. Is your question "how do a succeed as a developer" or "how can I avoid / undo this move"?
    – gnasher729
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:07
  • python web site has a bunch or training tools
    – paparazzo
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:38

It's completely OK to be nervous when you choose to make crucial changes in your career. But for us, developers, here's what can work.

If it is an option, start with bugs. Just ask to give you to assign bugs and work on them, one by one. This make you to communicate with a lot of people involved into the project. This also makes you know better your product (and the environment to which this product is deployed). Also when it comes to fixing bugs it is usually more about lines of code rather than hundreds and thousands of lines of code.

And then frustration will be gone. Step by step. And good luck.

  • Thanks for your input.I will be using Python. I am brand new to coding. Can you help me come up with a logical approach on how to tackle bugs?I will be starting off by working on bugs. I feel very stressed cause I don't know how to approach it.
    – Caisa
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:18

It's normal to be nervous when starting a new job -- especially one with a different set of responsibilities -- but it's also exciting! Think of it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I'm assuming you have some background in coding and have written code before. Just remember that even the most complex, daunting programs and processes all start from the same building blocks as a 'Hello World' program. Most are also broken down into smaller logical pieces. I think one of the best ways to get started is to look at the code that already exists. Does your company use a source control tool like GitHub? If so, a good first step would be to get access to the main repo and start reading the existing codebase. Try thinking of something the program or service does and tracing it through the code. Make sure you understand what commonly used shared functions/utils do.

Starting with bugs, like shabunc recommended, is a good idea. Another way to start is to ask if there are any small, discrete features on the roadmap, and see if you can figure out how to implement them.

Some advice if you're truly brand new to coding: start by looking at the problem and writing down what features or functions have to be part of a minimal viable solution to the problem. Then think about how to make these functions work logically -- basically, psuedocode a high-level solution. Finally, sit down and try to write it, testing individual functions as you go. Breaking it down into pieces can make the process less daunting.

There are lots of online resources for coding, depending on what you're developing and what language you're using. And remember: pretty much every programmer spends a lot of their time googling syntax, error codes, and problem solutions; no one knows everything going in.

Coming from someone who recently shifted from a largely non-technical role to a largely technical role, it's definitely possible -- and fun. Best of luck!

  • Thanks for your input - I will be using Python. And I am brand new to programming - thats why I feel nervous.
    – Caisa
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:17

I think the only way to reduce your fear is to dive in to the coding you will be using. Perhaps ask for suggestions of a study path on material that will be useful during you probation. The more familiar you are, the less fearful.

Asking for suggestions will also create a good impression with the company.


Putting yourself in a new environment can be daunting, but with commitment and hard work, it can be really rewarding!

What kind of developing are you doing? If the tools are available to you, try to build your own standalone environment. This will not only give you a sandbox to play and learn with, but it should help you understand some of the basics in your IDE (integrated development environment).

Using free learning resources are also very helpful! Again, based on what you're developing, there are sites you can register to.

  • 1
    That's for Microsoft tools, we don't know on what kind of technical environment the OP will be working.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Nov 4 '16 at 10:14
  • Thanks for your input. I will be using Python in my new role.
    – Caisa
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:17
  • @gazzz0x2z Good point, thanks. I learned python through Udemy. Here's a free starter course. Nov 4 '16 at 18:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .