1 year at a tech startup – 300+ days of programming

Before landing a job at a startup, I was pretty comfortably placed at an MNC. The campus placement did get me 2 offers and I chose the latter one. The first 2 months were amazing, from new friends to the corporate perks – the feel was something I always envisioned. Soon after the training, I also got the opportunity to go “onsite”. As I was new to the coding world, I took everything that came my way with a positive attitude and open arms.

Learned a shit load while working on a fintech product. Not only I learned the intricacies of working in an MNC, but I also grew as a person there. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who gave a shit about me and my well being for which I’ll always be thankful. I adopted the attitude of a developer while working there. But little did I know, it was an attitude of a developer working in a sheltered environment with 5 layers of hierarchy.

Soon, the work became monotonous and the fire started to die. As every person right outta college needs challenges and wants to work on something “substantial”, I was no different. Therefore, I decided to switch.

The switch

As easy as it sounds, switching in tech is one of the most difficult things out there. With the cut-throat competition and taking population into account, things get pretty nasty pretty fast. After completing 2 on-site projects, I landed a job as a Frontend Web Developer at EngineerBabu. It took me 4 months of preparation wherein I completed multiple Udemy courses on Angular and other frontend technologies. Learned Git and deployed projects on Heroku.

At EngineerBabu's office in Indore, Madhya Pradesh
At EngineerBabu’s office in Indore, Madhya Pradesh

It was the first job that I got after I started applying and I took it, unaware of the fact that where it was located – Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

Outcome

Work history
1 year of coding – every box represents 1 day

The amount of code I wrote in the last 1 year and the consistency with which I was involved with my craft is noteworthy. Now, this is not self-appreciation or bragging, this is just me being awestruck at my progress.

For the ones who are unaware of what the picture above represents – every blue box is an indicaiton of me working that day and higher the intensity of the blue color, greater the amount of work was done on that particular day.

A year ago, I could hardly write a few lines of code in a day without taking help from senior developers and making complete sense of it. Today, I can roll out feature requests within hours – independently!

Here too, I was lucky enough to be accompanied by some great programmers. Not only they had great knowledge, but they also had the zeal to share their knowledge with people and hence I could learn so much from/with them.

Worked on more than 29 projects during my 1 year which is pretty rad. Sometimes I ended up working in 3 VS Code windows on 3 different projects simultaneously. Because of this kind of work and situations, I learned the following things:

1. Modularize and then Prioritize tasks

One thing that working in a service-based company has taught me is the value of TIME. Coming from a product based company, I experienced a whole new world altogether. Time is the most scarce asset here and one should be very particular about it.

Dividing the tasks into weekly milestones and making sure that you achieve milestones is one of the most important aspects of working in a tech startup. Believe me, it can make or break a client’s trust in the company, thus in turn making or breaking the company’s trust in you as a developer.

2. Sharing knowledge

Helping team members understand the basics of Angular
This is me explaining how to design a scalable Angular folder structure

Time and again I have experienced this first hand that the more I indulge in sharing my existing knowledge, the more I get comfortable with that particular topic. One thing that you need to understand is that when you are working in a team, the success of the project comes before individual success and hence the project can only be a success within the promised timeline when you have a competent team.

If at any time you feel that you possess a piece of information which everyone in your team should be aware of (say – how to structure your Angular application), please take out 15-20 min after your workday and explain them. I certainly did and I could feel the performance improvements and increased the productivity of my team.

3. Learn something new – Everyday

Let’s be honest here, the work never starts as soon as you step into office – right? I have worked in an MNC and in a startup – the story is the same. It takes an hour to settle down for everyone and then start working.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily” — Mike Murdock

Knowing this, my team and I decided to come to the office 30 min early and study something or the other for 1.5 hours and then start working. Some of the links I go through on a daily basis are:

I have written a detailed blog on this. Check out here.

4. Get out of your comfort zone

One thing that I understood when I started working in a tech startup was that there is no room for excuses. There is no such place as “Comfort Zone”, especially when you are working on a new project every other month.

I was lucky enough (again) to be backed by a leader who could see potential in me and pushed me to uncharted territories. One such was public speaking.

Giving a 2 hour session on Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Giving a 2-hour session on Minimum Viable Product (MVP) at Medi-Caps University, Indore

This was my first time being invited as a guest speaker. It was an amazing experience and if you want the slide deck, you can find it here.

Trying to be cool by making a F.R.I.E.N.D.S reference during the talk,

5. Breathe in…Breathe out…

After working on and contributing to more than 29 projects and chasing deadlines left, right and center, one of the things I learned the hard way was – PATIENCE.

Believe me, when I say this, a calm mind is a sharper mind. You’ll get to a solution faster when you are calm. You’ll fix that bug faster when you are patient enough to debug your code line-by-line (Disclaimer: Do not trust javascript).

Conclusion

1 year at a tech startup has changed me significantly. It has not only helped me grow as a programmer by leaps and bounds but has also given me some lifelong friends and a shit load of PATIENCE.

P.S. I haven’t worked as hard as I have worked here.

The most important thing in this past one year was to understand that working in a startup is a marathon, though it seems like it is a sprint due to the speed at which work happens. Therefore, all I had to do was to take all the tasks, challenges, problems and bugs – ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Do you think everyone should work in a startup ONCE in their life?
If YES – WHY?
If NO – WHY?
Leave a reply!

10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Definitely Yes!
    Working in a startup opens up a different world, where there are lots of opportunities and freedom to make decisions. Work pressure along with recognition for good work. Also, you grow fast in your career!!

    1. I completely agree with you Tanishka.
      But the pressure does get under your skin. It’s important to strike (though it’s difficult) a balance between work and personal life. Rest assured, the amount of learning is substantial and one can see tremendous growth in terms of skill set.

    1. Hi Rohit,
      I bought the domain a year back when it was cheap. It was pure luck that it was available!
      And thank you for the appreciation, brother!

  2. Amazing article and thank you for sharing your experience in IT sector with the help of this, It will help me to grow in this field.

    1. Wonderful article sir !!!!
      And yes we should have once an experience of working in a tech startup .It teaches us how to grow and upgrade your skills in no time. And also want to thankyou for helping me out in learning the basics.

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