From Bootcamp to Workplace – Lessons I’ve learned when making the leap

It’s only been 2 months and I can safely say I’ve learned a mountain of career important lessons while interning as a developer with BKLYN. I was a recent graduate of Flatiron School’s Web Immersive Program, where the fundamentals of efficient and progressive coding were my daily routine. The experience definitely brought me up to speed and pointed me the direction of the new ecosystem I’d be exploring. However, with all that preparation you’re still not quite sure what you’re getting into until you start working for an employer. The adjustment period is humbling as it is frightening, but also incredibly vital. It’s in those moments that I picked up on some tips and habits to work by.

Communication is everything! During bootcamp I was able to work within my own little bubble. I only ever had to communicate with a small group or a teacher. We were given all the necessary information on an assignment and let loose. In my very first week at BKLYN it became clear that approach wasn’t feasible in the work setting. I may not be aware of all the moving parts of a given project or all the details when a project is passed off to me. I had to break out of my shell and take the initiative. To reach out to the designer, ask questions about features, get clarification from others, or to keep my team informed of my progress. Sometimes it can be tedious, but it really helped me stay focused and built a rapport with my team. It also made me feel like I was an asset to the team when included in Stand-Up meetings or discussions.

Time management is a tough concept to master. It was very tempting to lean on my school habits of perfecting every line code and its implementation. I was instructed by Malcolm at BKLYN to focus on getting my code to work first. The broad strokes first and then the finer details come second. Getting hung up on a single problem or minute element isn’t productive to the project or your own thought process. You can always come back to it, and chances are you’ll figure it out as a result of moving on. Weekly milestones complimented that method of thinking. Looking at an entire project at once is daunting. Breaking it up into things you’d like to get done by the end of the week is manageable.

Working with clients was an entirely new experience to me. Well okay, I haven’t worked with a client directly yet! But Gary and Malcolm have brought me into the fold and have allowed me to witness client interactions. It’s a delicate balance of presenting BKLYN’s capabilities and approach, with the needs of the client. It requires a level of agency that’ll take time to cultivate. It’s about building relationships and trust. That’s how I think BKLYN or any company structure can grow.

The most important lesson is that you don’t know everything. You simply don’t and that’s okay! My very first (and ongoing) project is mobile-centric. A platform I’ve never built for or had experience working with. Hitting the books, watching tutorials, or reading documentation is part of the field. I imagine in my time at BKLYN I’ll be exposed to other unfamiliar tech. I may no longer be a student, but I need to maintain that student mindset to want to keep learning. That is what makes developers an asset. That never-ending challenge is what drives me and makes me excited to be interning at BKLYN.

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