I rececntly joined a series D startup as a software engineer 2. Prior to that I have about a year and half of experience, where I didn't get to learn much due to remote work and an absentee manager.
Since the beginning of this new job I have been feeling very anxious, as if I don't deserve this new role. I feel the team will figure out they made a mistake hiring me at an SE-2 level. The leveling in this company is different compared to big tech so SE-2 is not same as Amazon SDE-2.
Coming to my actual struggle, the product in itself is infra heavy and I have very limited understanding of DevOps. I am feeling overwhelmed with everything I need to learn to understand even basic tickets, and I end up just starting on the tickets directly instead of taking up say a docker/kubernetes course or even going through the numerous onboarding video recordings. Add to it that a good part of my team is on PTO this past month so I was getting stuck with no-one to unblock me.
I would love some tips to figure out a framework to follow, things to do when I get stuck, or better practices that show I am not repeating my mistakes. Right now I am documenting the patterns (say how to test a plugin) that keep repeating.
build some positive momentum for yourself by tackling your most straightforward tasks immediately. this will give you confidence when you deal with ambiguous problems that might take a while to solve
read more code than you write for the first 90 days, and write as much as you can. find the thorniest code reviewer on your team and make sure they review as many of your CRs as possible. implement every nit, no matter how small
basically, be a sponge and reach out early/often for help. your team will appreciate your dedication and you'll learn much more than silo-ing yourself and watching tutorials
good luck! you got this 🚀
I would set an expectation that it's very normal to feel overwhelmed when you are starting a new job. Take a deep breath and understand that the anxiety is completely normal, the imposter syndrome is completely normal. Most teams expect that the first few months will be a period where you'll be learning and making mistakes.
I actually think your bias of starting on tickets immediately is actually good. A lot of people fall victim to reading through too much documentation or passively going through tutorials where it impacts them from actually getting any work done.
You're probably in a place where every corner you turn just seems like there's a block. That's okay. Write down any questions or misunderstandings you have so you can ask your team when they get back.
As far as a problem solving framework, I would try to timebox each problem to a few hours. If there's a problem where you aren't actively making progress after making your best attempt, I would meet with someone and lay out the full context of how you are understanding the problem and solutions you've tried, and they'll probably be able to answer your question or steer you in the right direction. Sometimes, there is just tribal knowledge that's been passed down that can only be answered by someone who implemented the system or has been bit by that problem before.
The easiest way to banish your imposter syndrome and anxiety is to bias towards action and get things done. Follow these principles:
Pretty much all of this is covered in-depth within our onboarding masterclass: [Masterclass] How To Succeed At A New Team Or Company As A Software Engineer