Anyone move from a startup background to a big company background and feel like you’re missing valuable skills?
My first job out of college was at a hyper fastpaced startup with a very small team. I stayed there for a year and a half, worked 60 hours a week or so. I thought I had busted my ass, and my friends (engineers as well) were amazed at the speed at which I was producing work when we’d talk about what we’ve been working on.
I was encouraged and expected to build features in weeks by myself that the CTO himself had said would take months with large teams at his previous big N engineering role.
Give me a sketch design and a requirements doc, and Ill have a spec and a functioning feature in no time with some unit tests and Id like to think I write pretty elegant code for the speed at which I execute and I try and always use foresight for potential changes or pivots (which I learned to do from us pivoting so much and having to refactor hacky code). I was really proud of myself and thought of myself as a solid engineer.
I just joined a new company a few months back. Im working on a codebase that is in the same stack as my previous company. At first I was getting easy tickets and knocking them out QUICK. Like proposed to take the whole sprint, finished the first 2 days kind of quick.
But that didnt last long. Soon I started running into some bugs that required me to ask around because I didnt understand certain aspects of the codebase. And I quickly learned Im not an engineer, Im just a code monkey. Everyone on my team has a _DEEP_ understanding of the underlying technologies, they know how every library method we use works and exactly what its doing. As well as how every technology we use works. They could all probably rebuild our whole stack in C if they wanted to.
When they have a problem they dont go to stack overflow or google. They dig into the dependencies and trace out the code, then check the docs. When I have a bug they dont just tell me whats happening, they explain how the underlying technology works, and only after they explain that and make sure I understand, they start pointing me in the right direction.
It became apparent that all my startup experience did was teach me how to google, stack overflow, and make things work. It never allowed me to actually learn what this stuff is doing or why it works. I have to have explained to me the most simple concepts in the type of work we do, and I just expect everything to work exactly how it says.
Does anyone else who came from a startup share this sentiment? The only analogy I can come up with is I feel like a guy who has built a ton of houses, but has no idea why certain materials are used, or whether to use screws vs nails for what, or when to use indoor vs outdoor paint, etc. I just never had time to stop and learn, I was too busy just building.