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I am a part-time developer at a small size manufacturing company (~100 employees) and a part-time graduate student.

Company and my current team

I started my current job few month ago and during the hiring process I was interviewed by a team lead who is a experienced software engineer and he was the person who offered me the job. I expected him to be my supervisor and instead he refered me to another team whose team lead does not know: (1) any programming (2) first time team lead (3) preaches agile methodology but does not believe in it nor practice it and the project that this team is working on is behind schedule, months behind.

How the job turned out

I was the only front-end developer in the team and I was told during hiring process and the first day by team lead: "we really need a developer who knows this x, y, z frameworks because we want write a modular code and easy to maintain". I said: "great, I know x, y, z thoroughly. I can definitely help". The second day on the job, existing team members advised the team lead to "avoid using any framework to make sure everyone in the team understands what am I doing". Great, all my knowledge in x, y, z are useless now ...

How job is now

Last month, CTO advised the team lead to hire a consultant to speed up everything. Consultant advised the team to use x, y, z frameworks and now every one listened. Everyone accepts the pull-request of consultant immediately, unlike my pull-request that took forever and hours of discussion before being accepted. I feel like I am not bringing a value to the team and no one listens to my voice. Either because of my age, 22, or being Autistic or maybe for being the only person in a team that is part-time, everyone else is full-time and working for this company for at least 5 years.

Question

My question is whether this situation is normal or typical for a junior developer. My only experience as a software engineer before this job is an internship that I really enjoyed and learned a lot. Should I quit my job and just be a full-time graduate student or find another job. I don't know. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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  • 3
    You are a new person at a company, you are part-time as well as a part-time student. In general, your voice is just not going to be heard as strongly as others. This is not software development focused an issue as much as it is a general career issue. A junior role is generally looked upon as someone who follows the lead of others regardless of the quality of their ideas. Maybe you can interject ideas, but until you have proven yourself over time/projects that’s just the way it goes. Don’t take it personally but see it all as a learning experience. – JakeGould Apr 1 '17 at 5:39
  • Although I do not agree with the following in general, in professional environments it is that: Respect is earned not granted. – leymannx Apr 1 '17 at 20:51
8

The short answer is: in many cases, yes (but).

Junior roles are just that: positions of a low rank in the corporate org structure, often filled by people with little-to-no professional experience. In situations where opinions differ (and sometimes other situations as well), your input will likely carry less weight for these reasons.

That said, a good senior employee or team lead will still take input from all sources, whether to provide feedback and coaching to junior employees, or simply for the practical reason that good ideas can come from anyone.

Your situation sounds more complicated

It's tough to get into too great of detail based solely on the information you've provided, but just from that it seems there are several layers to parse here.

1, Ageism is a real thing.
In tech, this often cuts the other way—discrimination against older people in tech is very common; it is commonly seen as "a young person's game." On the other hand, being young can definitely cause others to ascribe less weight to your input, especially if you are noticeably younger than your immediate peers/the median age of the company.

2. Being present is important.
The fact that you are part-time is definitely a factor here. Many things become orders of magnitude more complicated or difficult when you and your colleagues are not co-located. Not being around will dilute your impact. Period. This is true for people working remotely, but may be especially true in your case; your full-time colleagues may not take you as seriously because you literally aren't putting in the same work that they are. (Not that your work is less valuable or of a different quality, but by sheer quantity, you are by definition doing less)

3. You're new.
If most of the other employees have been there for years (5 years is a long time!) they likely have pre-existing relationships with each other and/or processes at the company. Having only been there a few months is not going to seem like much compared to that history,

4. Your autism may be complicating things.
You mentioned autism in your question. I don't know the details of your personal situation—that label covers a lot of territory—and I don't want to make assumptions. However, broadly speaking, social cues and interpersonal communication can often be more difficult for people with autism, and while I don't want to necessarily ascribe your difficulties to that, it may well be a complicating factor on everything else.

5. Your hiring manager isn't your manager.
You were expecting the person who interviewed you to be your boss, and they're not. Let this be a learning moment for you: when interviewing, ask who you will be reporting to. It sounds like you had a good rapport with this person, but not so much with your current manager.

What you can do about it

Don't just give up. You can still make this situation work for you.

Communication is king

Talk to your current manager. Try to avoid being confrontational about it, but share how you've been feeling ignored. Ask about the recent move to adopt that framework based on the consultant's input, and what was different about the current situation than when you suggested it earlier.

There may be broader context or other aspects to the situation that you are not privy to because of your junior role.

Again, I suggest being cautious about tone in this kind of discussion. It may help (especially if you do have difficulties with communication) to write down what you want to say in advance. I recommend having a friend read it over as well; an impartial third party will be able to tell you how things may be recieved.

Find mentorship

Consider talking to the person who interviewed you. Even in an informal context, getting advice from this person will probably be helpful. They may have advice about how to deal with the specific personalities and/or priorities on your team.

Be a little careful with this one—you don't want to seem to be going over your current manager's head. Depending on the culture of your workplace, there could be political ramifications to consider.

Adjust your expectations

You are a young part-time employee in a junior role. Your teammates should listen to you because you are a part of the team, but that doesn't mean that they'll listen to or accept everything you say. Nor should they. Do keep trying to be helpful and pro-active. Even if your main job duties are to write code, if you have input on or insight into architecture, frameworks, tools, workflows or the like, then share them! Helping the company succeed is also part of your job.

But maybe temper your expectations a little. It's ok to give input. It's not ok to expect that input to be taken every time (or even ever!) especially given the stage of your career.

If it's really not working out, it's ok to quit

You're young and you're a student. Give it your best, but remember that your career is only beginning. You don't have to be tied to this job. You've experienced for yourself a different workplace that felt better (your internship) so you know that this isn't "just how it is everywhere." Do what's right for you.

2

no one listens to my voice. Either because of my age, 22, or being Autistic or maybe for being the only person in a team that is part-time, everyone else is full-time and working for this company for at least 5 years.

My question is whether this situation is normal or typical for a junior developer.

If I had to guess, I'd suspect that your part-time status has more to do with how you are treated than anything else.

I've been a part-timer recently. It's just a different kind of employment.

Should I quit my job and just be a full-time graduate student or find another job. I don't know. Any feedback would be appreciated.

We really can't answer "what should I do?" questions here. You should probably talk with your graduate advisor before making such a rash decision.

Everyone accepts the pull-request of consultant immediately

That's not surprising. Consultants are often hired to provide expert advice and their paid advice is often followed accordingly.

You were most likely not hire to provide expert advice (even if you are capable of providing it).

-3

I don't think you should take it personally. No competent professional would listen to a part-time junior developer that is still at university. You have no creditability. This is just reality.

As a junior developer, your job is to do programming, not to improve the existing workflow. It's not your responsibility. You're not paid for anything like that. You're not qualified to give directions on how to change the business. It's also inappropriate to compare yourself with an established professional consultant. The consultant must have much better experience than a junior developer, and everybody knows that. Again, it's reasonable and typical for your colleagues to ignore you.

This is 100% your problem.

Don't overestimate yourself in a 100 employees company. You need the company more than they need you.

  • 1
    This answer is highly negative and makes numerous assumptions about the asker that were not present in the question. – heathenJesus Apr 1 '17 at 7:59
  • @heathenJesus tell me what are the assumptions? – SmallChess Apr 1 '17 at 7:59
  • How about bullet points 1-4, for starters – heathenJesus Apr 1 '17 at 8:00
  • @heathenJesus no they are objective. – SmallChess Apr 1 '17 at 8:01
  • 1
    “No intern should be qualified to assess a professional consultant.” Maybe. But you realize that more and more employers are using “interns” for tasks that would normally be considered the work of a full-time staffer? Meaning you could get an amazing programmer straight out of college who can definitely do the job as a job but they will simply be pegged as an “intern” because it will give the company more bang for it’s buck: Why pay them a real salary when you can just work them to death gaining “exposure” and “experience.” – JakeGould Apr 1 '17 at 23:43

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