No growth feeling yet

Amazon / EngDynamoDB
Feb 10 29 Comments

I've heard you're supposed to grow the most in the first few years out of college. I joined AWS as a new grad and I was so excited at the opportunity to work there since I specialized in distributed systems.

But over the past 6 months, I haven't written as much code as I had hoped for and am mostly doing various ops related tasks and some bug fixes. I'm sorry in advance if I sound like a typical entitled new grad who complains, but I don't feel like I 'own' any part of my product yet. I feel like I've decently ramped up and can take on some bigger challenges (with some senior engineer support/guidance), but is this normal? Most developers typically write code, but I seem to be writing a lot of scripts and various small bug fixes in areas of my code base that isn't touched much.

I really REALLY like my team and manager since they're very very friendly and easily approachable. I guess I'm just looking for how other people's experience is in their day to day job (or at least how it was when you started off as a new grad). I've definitely learned a lot in the past 6 months, but I feel like >95% of it is either specific to Amazon or specific to my team.

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TOP 29 Comments
  • Google weebay
    A lot of managers won’t give new grads too hard projects and work because they don’t know your skill set and don’t want to overwhelm you. You can coast for a while or you can take the bull by the horns.

    Let your manager know you’re looking for more impactful and challenging work. When you see spontaneous opportunities to make impact that seniors aren’t filling cause they’re too busy, do it. Your trajectory can be defined mostly by your initiative, big company or startup.
    Feb 103
    • Amazon / EngDynamoDB
      OP
      Thank you! I'll discuss this with my manager in my next 1:1
      Feb 10
    • New / Eng
      errfileno

      NewEng

      BIO
      Software Engineer. 15yoe. Seattle. $205k TC
      errfilenomore
      I'm 15 years into my career, and while I have had several opportunities to do "green field" work with effectively no "support" or " bug fixes", if you stick around on any team for long enough, you will end up doing some amount of maintenance work. This is fine and normal.

      Your manager/lead may also hesitate to give you ambitious projects because doing so tends to be riskier because you haven't yet built up the experience base that allows you to predict effective complexity, so it is easy to underestimate just how much time things will take you. Work with your team to bite off bigger and bigger bits, and take advantage of early code reviews (long before you get close to feature-complete, as in: "is this even going in the right direction?") because doing so will help your team keep you on track and remain aware of delivery risks so that you can mitigate them together.

      As you progress in your career, you will get a better and better idea of the difference between "this is hard because I haven't done it before" and "this is hard because it works against the grain and there is a better way". When you can consistently demonstrate this with your team, they will likely gladly support your desire to take on more ambitious projects.
      Feb 10
    • Google weebay
      +1 errfileno, esp regarding honing your instinct on what is hard only because it’s not right
      Feb 10
  • Quit for a startup
    Feb 100
  • Amazon Skfnekf
    Switch teams
    Feb 100
  • Oracle fatalflaw
    OP, it reminds me of how I felt often in my career. Take risks and go work with brilliant people even in no name companies or in other teams. Do not chase the brand names or you'll get stuck in a sea of average people. With that level of motivation, you need to find work where you will struggle (in a good way) and will feel like you're being challenged.

    Early in your career, people would give you more chances. Use that to take more opportunities. Refuse to work with mediocre people. That will go a long way. Finally, don't seek job satisfaction. This industry is now overcrowded and has doesn't have enough meaningful work to satisfy everyone.
    Feb 103
    • Market Track pmnote
      How do you know if the people are mediocre before you take the job?
      And if there isn't enough meaningful work for everybody, then what does it matter if you work on a shitty project with brilliant people or mediocre people?
      Feb 10
    • Oracle fatalflaw
      Go with your gut. There are always some signs you see during interviews - body language, condescension, some of them complaining about their team or company, over-selling the job, too eager to hire, interviews not inquisitive enough or too easy, not forthcoming when you ask details, etc.
      Feb 10
    • Amazon / EngDynamoDB
      OP
      Thanks. I'm very worried in switching jobs since I'm the first in my family to go into tech and 'job hopping' is still a bit of a foreign concept to me. That being said, I couldn't care less for company name or brand or TC (if I get food and a place to live, I'm satisfied). I just want to learn more.
      Feb 10
  • Uber wQhG83
    I'm a new grad and feel like I'm growing. I'm coding a lot and not doing bug fixes or ops related tasks. I feel like I own my project end to end.
    Feb 101
    • Amazon / EngDynamoDB
      OP
      I'm glad your experience is going well! Wish I could say the same. Which team are you on and what product do you work on?
      Feb 10
  • Amazon JSnowflake
    When picking a team, ask a lot of questions about roadmap and what kind of features you will own. Talk to a current SDE1 on the team to get a sense of what work they do. What you are describing is not normal across Amazon, though it is not uncommon in parts of AWS. Move quickly to find another team though, if you hit a year and still have minimal real code commits it will count against you in internal interviews.
    Feb 101
    • Amazon / EngDynamoDB
      OP
      Well so I joined as a new grad. Didn't have the freedom to pick a new team.

      But I'll keep this in mind for the future. I was given a project that I can completely own recently but I think after that I'll probably switch.
      Feb 10
  • Most freshers will not get the chance to working on new shining projects at large companies. They will be doing maintenance, testing and bug fixes for years.

    Try startup if your motivation is to have bigger impact and learn more quickly on the job.
    Feb 100
  • Amazon outoforder
    Did you do PhD in distributed systems?
    Feb 103
  • New DvVM00
    welcome to bigco. join a startup
    Feb 105
    • Google weebay
      Plenty of opportunities for new grads to make impact at Google. Might even be better because you get great mentorship and support.
      Feb 10
    • New DvVM00
      no sorry. at any bigco there are lots of guardrails and you cannot go past them. you cannot learn effectively this way as a noob.
      Feb 10
    • Google weebay
      Lol what bigcos have you worked at?
      Feb 10
    • New DvVM00
      google for one
      Feb 10
    • Amazon / EngDynamoDB
      OP
      I was very interested in Google Cloud's Firestore NoSQL datastore (also kind of why I'm in DynamoDB).

      But I did not pass the 2nd round, so that kind of made me sad.
      Feb 10
  • Amazon / Eng
    eisenhwr

    AmazonEng

    PRE
    Google
    eisenhwrmore
    My first 7 years out of college sucked. Then I started growing for real.
    Feb 112
    • Amazon / EngDynamoDB
      OP
      Were they all in Amazon?
      Feb 11
    • Amazon / Eng
      eisenhwr

      AmazonEng

      PRE
      Google
      eisenhwrmore
      No. Subpar companies, great startups, and L3 at Google.
      Feb 13
  • VMware BobbleHat
    Viagra might help
    Feb 100

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