My first week as a Software Engineer

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#1 reCoded  Icon User is offline

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My first week as a Software Engineer

Post icon  Posted 12 June 2009 - 10:46 AM

Well this was my first week as a software engineer at a company. Just graduated College and now I am out in the real world. I am a contractor so I will only be that this company that I was assigned for about a year.

One of the things I don't like is that I get assigned something to do, they tell me what they want (even they don't know) and I do the work. Questions arise and then they have a meeting to see what they need and either I change what i wrote or I implement more functionality. I must say. I can see this job being stressful.

Anyone here a contractor/software engineer/developer that can shine some light on me? I would like to know how my life will be in the next 5 years. LOL or get an idea.

Thanks!

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Replies To: My first week as a Software Engineer

#2 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:59 AM

Honestly? Brace yourself for huge amounts of stress.

I work full-time for a company and do freelance/sub-contract work on the side. Whether in my regular office or on a side project, the stress is always there.

Most people know very little about computers - and even less about programming - they hear that you are a programmer and you are suddenly viewed as god. It is often assumed that because you know how to do one thing, you automatically know how to do everything else. And if you can do one thing quickly, you should be able to everything else just as quickly.

It can be a very stressful environment.... hell, I didn't have hypertension until I started getting paid for code.
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#3 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:07 PM

@reCoded: It sounds as if the company you're working for is using what I would call and outdated development model, known as the Waterfall Model, and if they stick with this model then get used to this type of work and stress.

Stress comes with the job, there's little you can do to get rid of it, but you can learn productive ways to deal with it. Working with the Waterfall Model means lots of changes, bad business requirements before the development begins, then more requirements creep as you go along, known as Requirement Creeping, which really sucks in my mind.
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#4 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:14 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 12 Jun, 2009 - 12:59 PM, said:

they hear that you are a programmer and you are suddenly viewed as god.


Yeah... right?! I don't share that experience.

I have a client that has no respect for code. After she was getting push about the site taking longer than... instantly, I tried to go over the fact that her website was nearing 3000 lines of PHP code (& I never try to throw around a line count to prove anything) but she literally thinks that code is as easy as :

start_site();
do_this();
done-->profit();

So the other day I find in my inbox : Can we make a quick iPhone app for this? Needs to be done, thanks.

?! I don't even own an iPhone. Her response : but I do!
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#5 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:53 PM

That was exactly my point!

You can do this, yes?
- Yes.
Oh, then you'll know how to do this, too.
- No.
Yes. You can. You will. You know how. You are a programmer. You can do it all -- and you can have it done yesterday. Now, chop-chop!
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#6 reCoded  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 12 June 2009 - 01:12 PM

Lol, Thanks for advice. To be honest this companies system is structured very well. Its just I have a middle man to go to that has meetings to figure things out and what we need. I mean they told us what to do, but while working on the task we came up with some questions that he obviously didn't have so we have to wait for him to have a meeting with the "Manager" and then he gets back to us with the specs.

I enjoy coding. I did side work while I was in college but like my friend said "What you do will not be harder than what you did in school". So far from my co-op as a software engineer to a full timer. Nothing didn't seem too tough yet. KNOCK ON WOOD!!!! Hopefully it will stay that way.

And there is always DIC to go to for some good ol' answers!
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#7 searockruz  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:37 AM

View PostBenignDesign, on 12 Jun, 2009 - 11:53 AM, said:

That was exactly my point!

You can do this, yes?
- Yes.
Oh, then you'll know how to do this, too.
- No.
Yes. You can. You will. You know how. You are a programmer. You can do it all -- and you can have it done yesterday. Now, chop-chop!


i am facing same problem here :sad3:

if i try to impress
my manager thinks that i know every thing

then she assigns me a difficult task
if i say no, i cant handle, she thinks my logic is not clear, and i don't know anything about programming

if i say i need time,she thinks i am trying to fool her
by taking extra time
its really stressful when the manager is from a non IT Field
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#8 Programmist  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 13 June 2009 - 08:05 AM

@Benign and no2Pencil: This is why you get a contract that specifies your responsibilities and make sure it's specific enough that they can't ask you to do something way outside of your comfort zone without a contract re-negotiation (more time/money). If a company won't get relatively specific about what they want you to do then that's a problem. I learned my lesson when I got stuck doing support (once every 5 weeks) for applications that have nothing to do with my job and were written by someone else years before. The next time I get an offer, I'm going to throw in, "no support work except for applications that I've designed/developed", as a requirement. If they say "no" then I move on to other offers.

This post has been edited by Programmist: 13 June 2009 - 08:07 AM

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#9 Martyr2  Icon User is online

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 13 June 2009 - 09:56 AM

Get use to environment of software projects headed up by non technical savvy people. A lot of companies know they need programmers but don't know quite what to do with them. This is typically the case when you work for non software based companies.

My supervisor consistently asks for things with the line "so that should take a day or two" tacked on. When in reality it is more like a 2 week job. They also think you are a computer guru and not just a programmer. They don't understand the difference between a network admin and a programmer for instance. To them you both deal with computers and know everything about them.

Programmist is certainly right about establishing a solid contract that clearly outlines the scope of your work. It is not so easy when you are full time salary but when I first got hired I made sure that they knew clearly that I was not tech support, even for products I have helped design. This is because I knew if I was to do tech support I would be doing that more than moving forward with what the company needs. Even then I have had to tell my supervisor on numerous occasions that I don't do tech support. A small company might be ok but if I am the only programmer for a company that has thousands of clients, it is too much for me.

On contract always put in everything you want to do and what you don't want to do. It may cost you an opportunity here and there but if it does cost you then you know it would have been a job suited to someone else anyways.

I try to avoid contracting though because you constantly have to establish boundaries with each contract. At least on salary I can establish boundaries that can stay in place for years.

:)
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#10 sparkart  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 14 June 2009 - 01:40 AM

Damn, I live in Maple Valley, WA.

I think it'll be hard to get a programming job when you live near Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond.
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#11 TMKCodes  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 15 June 2009 - 07:42 AM

Probably because of this i am starting my own company with a friend. We do not like working for other people and to clients you can easily tell what we do in the company.
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#12 stayscrisp  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:30 AM

You have to be careful not to do too much outside of your job description, it will become expected of you so when you do decide to take a step back it will be noticed, and not in a good way.

This post has been edited by stayscrisp: 15 June 2009 - 08:31 AM

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#13 AGRAC393  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:14 PM

Wow, I never knew that the 'real world' was like this!!! Reading this post has really helped me imagine my future. I like stressful situations, is that weird? But, I think being tech support all the time would get old. I think that engineers sould do what they were trained to do. Most engineers that went to some sort of higher institution recieved a $50,000 - $250,000 education and, in my opinion, that is way too much value to have wasting on tech support!
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#14 TMKCodes  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:39 PM

Yeah AGRAC393 i agree with you about the tech support people, but there is just too many people who does not know much at all when problem occurs with their systems. This is why Tech Support people are needed.
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#15 Ed_Bighead  Icon User is offline

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Re: My first week as a Software Engineer

Posted 16 June 2009 - 05:57 AM

My dad used to be a software engineer at this well-known, international company, but now he manages projects for the sales division; he always tells me of things similar to the ones that have been mentioned. Most recently, however, the problem has been that his clients don't have the budget necessary to accomplish what they want, but they have problems understanding that. So as the clients and people from other divisions are yelling at my dad and trying to accomplish things at a free or reduced price and trying to get the people who work for my dad to work overtime and put in more hours, etc, and my dad is trying to explain how what they want really isn't possible, the clients and heads of other divisions are being praised by the company for trying to be efficient and save money whereas my dad is being looked at in the opposite fashion, even though he is being the most reasonable and pragmatic.
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