Landing My First Job as a Software Engineer

Looking back, I still find it hard to believe how far I have come in such a short amount of time. From taking the leap into software development just five months ago and embarking on a 14-week intensive coding bootcamp at Northcoders, I kicked off 2021 with a bang and started my first job as a Junior Software Engineer. It still seems crazy that I managed to achieve something like this, especially during a global pandemic, and I am excited to see where this journey will take me going forward. For now, though, I wanted to share my experience and what I have learnt from starting my role as a Software Engineer at Zuto.

As I approached the end of my time at Northcoders, I was all set to embark on the gruelling journey into finding my first job. I put time and effort into my LinkedIn profile and mentally prepared myself for the endless amount of tech tests and inevitable rejections that were coming my way. However, just before I officially graduated, I was approached by Zuto, who had read about my coding experience on my tech blog and wanted to invite me to interview. It seemed too good to be true — an interview without all the stress and hassle of an application? But nevertheless, a couple of days later I was interviewing for the role whilst simultaneously finishing off my final Northcoders’ project. By the end of the week I was offered the job and I couldn’t believe it. I was so grateful that Zuto saw the potential in me and wanted to offer a soon-to-be coding bootcamp graduate a chance.

As much as I was excited to get my teeth into my first professional role, I was also trying to overcome the fear and anxiety that came with starting a new job in an industry that I had never worked in before. I couldn’t shake the fact that my only experience of coding had been at Northcoders, where I had been cooped up in my room doing the whole thing online. To think I would be removed from this bubble, working on something that would impact a real-life company, was very daunting and something that took me a while to digest. That familiar feeling of imposter syndrome was creeping up on me and I was already telling myself that I would be the most inexperienced person there — I didn’t have a computer science degree and was still relatively new to software development. What if I was out of my depth?

Thankfully, my first week at Zuto managed to alleviate these concerns and calm my nerves. The whole week was dedicated to introducing me to the company, allowing me to get to grips with what they did and how they did it. This was extremely useful as I was able to get a sense of the bigger picture of the environment I would be working in and understand the day-to-day rather than being chucked in at the deep end straight away. Furthermore, it gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the other new starters who I would be working with. This really helped us to establish some grounding before immediately starting to work as a team — I can imagine this being extremely useful in the long run as we progress in our careers at Zuto.

After the induction week, we were set our first team project. This was a really nice way to get the new starters introduced to the way in which the tech teams at Zuto work and how they approach a task. Myself and Phoebe, two Junior Engineers, were able to work with Michael, a Senior Engineer. We were both guided through the project and received a lot of handy pointers on best practices as well as the general ‘do’s and don’ts’ when working with a company’s code. Zuto use C# for their backend development, a language I had not worked with before, so it was quite a challenge to approach a project in a coding language I was not familiar with. It can still be a lot to keep up with, but I am lucky enough to be supported by a team that is willing to put time and energy into my development and learning. I was able to get started on some online courses whilst simultaneously learning on the job via paired and mob programming; it was really reassuring to hear that the company would mould my training to what methods of learning suit me best.

What most impressed me when starting at Zuto was the sense of community that exists within the company. From day one, I was made to feel welcomed and accepted into the workplace, and even whilst the majority of us are working from home, I still feel as though I am connected to my team and everyone is supporting one another.

When I had initially been searching for a job, what mattered most to me was finding a company that would recognise my potential as a coding bootcamp graduate and give me the support to grow within my first role. With Zuto, I have found exactly that.

So what have I learned from my experience?

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself - It is perfectly valid to be nervous when starting a new job, regardless of the industry. The only person you must overcome when feeling like this is yourself!

2.Nobody expects you to know everything - It is your dedication and willingness to learn that matters most.

  1. Ask questions - This is the only way you can learn!

I am excited to see what lies ahead in my career at Zuto and I can’t wait to learn more about the industry!

Landing My First Job as a Software Engineer
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