I'm a junior software developer and I've been at this job around 1 month.

I've had developing experience previously, but I'm new to the programming language and the methodology used in this company's development process.

The engineering/development department has most of its members in a different city. Me and my boss, are the only ones in outside of the main development department.

I've known my boss for a few years now: he was my professor at university and my tutor/advisor for my undergraduate project.

I got this job (despite not being qualified) because there's a lack of developers in my city that works with the programming language I'm working with, and he would prefer to hire someone he knew and teach him/her, than someone unknown.

When I asked him for a recommendation letter in order to apply to graduate studies, he offered me the job even though I openly mentioned not knowing anything about the programming language, and that I'll most likely resign from the job after a few months due to me attending graduate school. He had no problem at all with that, and he offered to teach and help me as much as he could.

Fortunately for me, he has kept his word and this has helped me feel at ease in this position.

This week, he announced that he will be leaving the job position next week in order to start his own bussiness and I am scared as hell.

I'm severely underqualified for the job position and I'll have no help and no one to ask for advice at all with the functional requirements I'm working on.

I'm not too worried about the programming itself (I can Google stuff and reuse code) but I am worried about is not being familiar with all of the bussiness logic and procedures used in the development of the software which I am developing the functional requirements for.

I consider myself a hard-working person, and not being able to hand in what I'm asked for on time and complying with the quality standards of the company because of my lack of knowledge would drive me crazy.

On the other hand, I would hate to quit without giving it a shot, but I think not delivering what I'm asked for on/before the deadlines would feel much worse than quitting since it would mean that I'll be failing and disappointing a lot more people (including myself) than if I simply resigned from the job.

I have spoken to my boss about my situation and he is also worried about me not being able to handle everything in an appropriate matter. He said he can help me over Skype or over the phone, and that he would try and get in contact with the devs in the other development center to get someone to take care of me, but he's worried (as I also am) that I most likely will not get the - almost immediate - help I need in order to succeed.

Is there anything I'm failing to consider due to being in an uncomfortable situation?

I'm sorry if the question is too long or unrelated, but I basically have no one that I feel comfortable asking for their opinion on this matter.

  • It sounds like the guidance that your former professor and boss gave you helped actually do the work. You were not intertwined with all the business rules to make business decisions about what your software should do. You have 3 options: 1) Take it upon yourself to learn the business reasons. 2) Inform someone else in the company that your mentor is gone and you were working behind the scenes while your former boss did the front end work and without that you are a bit lost. 3) Quit the job since you mentioned you were not really interested in the beginning due to grad. school.
    – JonH
    Apr 7, 2017 at 19:47
  • This has all the alarm bells of a familiar situation we see often in the industry where a lot of would-be developers figure out that maybe software development isn't for them. Good developers don't just code for a living, at least try and if it doesn't work out, no worries and you move on.
    – Chris W.
    Apr 7, 2017 at 21:20
  • @JonH - Yes I have relied on his help in order to finish what I've been assigned during this first month of work. And I'm almost certain the other managers at the company are aware of that fact, since he told me he mentioned be not having experience when I was being hired. I'll be staying at my job for at least a few weeks and see how it goes. If I like it, then it's a good opportunity for professional development. Otherwise, as you said, I can just move on. Thanks for your advice
    – Jmdjorgeek
    Apr 8, 2017 at 13:59
  • @ChrisW. - I'm aware of that. Last year, I worked as a web developer for a few months, so I at least have some basic knowledge about development and I also know that it's not something I could do for the rest of my life. As for now, I'll give it a shot and see how it goes. In the end, it's just another opportunity for personal and professional development. Thanks for your advice
    – Jmdjorgeek
    Apr 8, 2017 at 14:03
  • 2
    Most developers feel under-qualified in their first job. It's a common enough phenomenon in the work place to have a name; Imposter Syndrome. Being thrown in at the deep end is scary; but if you manage to swim you'll benefit from it. Apr 10, 2017 at 16:22

3 Answers 3


Your professor / boss sounds awesome. You may wish to follow him.

But if you wish to remain at your company...

None of this sounds like your problem. Your supervisor has resigned. Your company should have someone else in place to help you work within your company's policies. There should be a replacement program manager / software lead you can speak to regarding your confusion over requirements. If there isn't, then the project as a whole is in jeopardy and there should be somebody up the ladder you can speak to about that.

This company is also no longer your old boss's problem. Having him help you with professional work is technically labor for the company. You should avoid asking him to assist after he's left, as you will not be able to rely on him for long and he has no obligation to assist you outside of personal favor.

  • I believe his company is non-related to what I majored in, so I most likely will keep the job, at least for now. From what I've heard, there doesn't seem to be a replacement for him, so, as I stated, I'll be alone at the office for a few weeks at least. Lastly, I do understand my boss will be really busy and I definitely will avoid asking him for work-related assistance. Thank you for your advice
    – Jmdjorgeek
    Apr 8, 2017 at 13:44
  • If you followed my advice, could I ask that you mark my answer as 'correct'? Sep 27, 2017 at 3:37

If you're the junior and the senior is leaving, the company should be replacing your boss, in which case you can soldier on. If you're in over your head, don't set yourself up for failure. Let those in charge know when you hit stumbling blocks before looming deadlines hit you. It's up to the company to make sure the appropriate people and tools are available for the work. It could be a good opportunity to see how you handle pressure and build your self confidence. Business logic and suchlike are not that hard to learn. And realistically you just need a clear view of what you need to accomplish to dive in and produce.

Don't rely on your old boss too much, if he's starting his own business he will either be very busy and stressed out, or he will soon be back looking for his job with his tail between his legs. Either way it's not his responsibility and you shouldn't presume on and strain your relationship.

  • 1
    That's my main worry: there doesn't seem to be a replacement for him, at least not that I know of. I will definitely try my best since, as you said, it's an opportunity for personal and professional development. I'll also try to communicate with the company's developers who are in different locations in hopes that they can guide me in the process. Lastly, I understand my boss will be really busy, so I will be avoiding work-related contact whenever possible. Thanks for you input
    – Jmdjorgeek
    Apr 8, 2017 at 13:52

One thing you might consider doing is opening up lines of communication with those employees who are in different cities. They could easily be your best source of information about procedures, etc. Also before your boss leaves, pick his brain about business rules, etc and see if there is any documentation about the project you've been working on. The reality is, none of us were comfortable in our first jobs, but if you're willing to do the research, ask the questions you'll be fine. And I agree with DeepDeadPool, once your current boss leaves, be very careful what you speak about with him. Depending on what kind of business he's starting you could find yourself in a world of hurt with your current company. Good luck

  • Thanks for your advice. Yes, I have decided to continue working here and I'll definitely be constantly contacting the developers who are in different cities in order to acquire both technical and business related knowledge. Thanks for your advice
    – Jmdjorgeek
    Apr 8, 2017 at 13:43

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