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I applied for a job somewhere as a 'software engineering' apprentice. Having had previous experience in doing front-end development and knowing the fundamentals of programming from college, I was very optimistic to start since the job outlined I would be doing programming, adding functionality to a product and also working on bespoke functionality in the form of ASP web service development, with the use of C# and the .NET framework. HTML & CSS were in the list of things I would be taught but I am already very proficient in these.

Despite this proficiency I've been sat plugging content into a layout and making it look pretty for 2 months... I've done no programming, haven't been taught any of the skills that were listed for me to be taught, haven't had the opportunity to learn or exercise those skills.

I basically feel like I've been conned into a job I most certainly did not apply for, in the interviews I made it clear I already had experience in some areas and the job description outlined that I would be doing some sort of engineering, problem solving etc

What I'm doing now is so demotivating and makes me hate the job. The problem is my boss has been very good to me, helping me relocate to the job, this is my first real job at 18.

I'm unsure of how to discuss this with my boss to a satisfactory outcome without seeming ungrateful for the lengths they have gone for me to be working here. I get nervous talking to my boss or asking for things in general.

  • You said you already have experience with HTML and not with the stuff you actually wants to learn. The catch is you are not at school anymore. You boss want you to be productive so will put you to do things you already knows how to do not programming in language you are not experienced with. – jean Sep 19 '17 at 12:34
  • @jean I understand that except the job I applied for had a set number of things I would be doing and would be taught, none of which has happened yet? :? – user77077 Sep 19 '17 at 12:48
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    as others already answered You must talk with your boss ASAP. Align what you want from the company and waht the company whant from you. Just keep sure to sue the correct tone. You can use the "I ready for more chalenging responsabilities" card ;) – jean Sep 19 '17 at 12:56
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The first few months at a new job can often be a bit disjointed from the "true" role so it's not necessarily all stations panic just yet. That said it would be perfectly reasonable for you to approach your boss about this, I get the whole nervousness factor, talking to a new boss can be somewhat intimidating, especially when you are young and it is your first job. Just remember that while they are your boss they are also just a person, like you. I would say something like:

Hi [Boss], I was wondering what you see my workload being like over the next few months as I'm keen to start learning skills X, Y, and Z?

Keep the tone light and non-confrontational as you want to reflect they fact that you are keen and enthusiastic rather than any negative connotations.

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This is a bit of a speculative answer, but for what it's worth I'll answer based off my own experience.

It sounds like perhaps they're trying to gently ease you in to the role. It's not unusual for jobs to have a 'warming up' period of a few months before you take on your more typical responsibilities. I'm in the middle of such a period right now.

I know it's not particularly fair, but it's also worth bearing in mind that more senior employees are sometimes reluctant to delegate their work new starters, especially a very young one. Make it your goal to change this attitude by showing your competence.

To move things along, you could try scheduling a one-to-one 'catch up' meeting with your manager and gently explore whether there's any scope in the future for you to use the skills you've mentioned. Before you allow yourself to feel 'conned', hear out what they have to say. It should be apparent whether they have any plans for you. Given their effort to hire you, they probably have at least a rough idea in mind of where they want you to be in, say, 6 months.

If they aren't able to identify anywhere for you to use those skills yet, emphasise that you'd really like to take on something more challenging or sketch an outline for some of the promised training.

Unfortunately this is an area where you're going to have to use your own judgement. As you point out, they have earned the benefit of the doubt (for now). Ask them and play it by ear.

As an aside, don't feel bad about getting nervous when talking to management or asking for things, everyone does. It's a bit of a practiced skill, but I can't think of a better situation to making it routine.

  • I'm confused though as another apprentice started with a lot less experience than me and went straight into a programming role. We applied for 2 jobs that had exactly the same description. – user77077 Sep 19 '17 at 9:18
  • It's possible your manager wanted to make sure that the other apprentice was up to the task of programming precisely because of their lack of experience, but that's just guess work. You won't know what your job has in store for you until you ask. – jserv Sep 19 '17 at 9:22
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I basically feel like I've been conned into a job I most certainly did not apply for...

What I'm doing now is so demotivating and makes me hate the job. The problem is my boss has been very good to me, helping me relocate to the job, this is my first real job at 18.

I'm unsure of how to discuss this with my boss to a satisfactory outcome without seeming ungrateful for the lengths they have gone for me to be working here. I get nervous talking to my boss or asking for things in general.

You think your boss conned you, but don't want to seem ungrateful. One of those two seems off - only you can decide what really happened.

If you want to stay in spite of being conned, then just talk to your boss.

Something like "Hey, boss. I really appreciate getting the job here, but I feel like I can do lots more than I've been doing so far. What do I need to do in order to do some real programming?" should work.

You can also ask about training. "What's the best way for me to get up to speed in xxxx?"

If you want something, you'll have to get over your nervousness and ask. With time, it will get easier.

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