Starting Your Professional Development Career: What They Don’t Teach You at University
You’ve gone through your education and at the end of several years of studying, you’re supposedly equipped with a set of technical skills that are meant to carry you throughout your career. This is only true to a certain extent as there are some key soft skills which you are going to have to figure out on your own.
Apply for Internships
Get an internship early on in your career, especially if you haven’t graduated yet. The earlier you can familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of a professional development environment, the better equipped you will be going forward.
Don’t expect to get paid — Internships aren’t about a paycheck, nor is it about the free burritos a company provides on Thursday afternoons. It’s about learning the values of what being a professional developer is about. Do it for your personal growth, and prove that you can offer something to your employer, after all, why should they pick you?
Employers want team players, great thinkers and above all else, people that get things done.
Integrate with Your Team
You’ve landed your first internship or junior role. It’s easy to feel intimidated by your colleagues, people who seem they have it all figured out, but don’t — They were once where you are today.
It’s not easy being the “new kid”, but in a healthy work environment, interns are respected members of the team just like any other.
Be social, talk with your teammates and any other of your colleagues that you meet while figuring out how to use the shiny espresso machine in the kitchen. Integrating with your teammates will make it easier the next time you break the app and need someone to help save the day.
Make the Right Mistakes
Making mistakes is literally how just about anybody grows as an individual. It is important, however, to distinguish which mistakes you should be making.
Push the boundaries of your knowledge, try things and experiment, by all means! Don’t be negligent in your approach, however. Be on time, be respectful and do your best.
Find a Mentor
Everybody needs a mentor, it is something that just cannot put a price on. It’s important to figure out who out of your team is willing to take time out of their day to help you learn, is knowledgeable and approachable.
Just because somebody is a good developer does not make them a good mentor. Do your research, and understand what you are trying to achieve, and let the mentor guide you through the problem-solving process. Don’t be lazy and rely on your mentor to do your work — it’s still your responsibility to deliver. Perhaps offer to get your mentor a coffee as a sign of appreciation from time to time.
I have spent just under three years contributing to projects like PokerListings and CasinoTop10 amongst others. If you’re interested in joining me and the rest of the crew, head on to our website and apply today!
You’ll get a bonus shot of espresso if you let them know I sent you! ☕️