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Struggles of a Junior Software Engineer and How to Deal With Them

Innovation / Experiment
Deadlines
Internal Communication
Collaboration

9 December, 2021

Harshavardhan Atmakuri
Harshavardhan Atmakuri

Sr Software Engineer at Uber

Harshavardhan Atmakuri, Sr Software Engineer at Uber, highlights some of the struggles of being a junior engineer and how to overcome them.

When Senior Engineers Don’t Trust Your Ideas

Apart from meeting tight deadlines, there are hundreds of other challenges a junior software engineer goes through. When I was in those shoes, every time I would propose a new idea to the senior engineers about a change in the product or an improvement, I was being pushed down. The senior engineers might have to say, “this idea may not work out based on my experience and thoughts.” When you trust your ideas and instinct, but the seniors don’t, there comes the conflict. How do you resolve such disputes?

Fostering Trust in Your Seniors

Building an MVP:

I collected the data, built an MVP, and showed my senior that it works. On top of that, before making the MVP, I had to convince the manager to get the bandwidth to build the MVP. While the senior engineers were convinced that this new improvement or feature would not work, they asked me to take time out of my free time to work on it.

The convincing part came as a part of the organizational culture. All you need to do is bring all the ideas to the table and allocate sufficient bandwidth for them. In any case, if there is not enough support from others, you might have to do it yourself.

Working on New Features as a Passion Project:

When my manager or seniors couldn’t allocate sufficient time and resources for me to work on the new feature, I took it as a personal project. In other words, I worked on it as a passion project to innovate and work on a particular area.

Collaborating with Senior Engineers:

Although it was not a significant feature, and we did not need to work on it right away, I had to collaborate with the senior engineers to understand the problem statement. For the ideation phase, I had to sit with them to convince them that it would work.

Lessons learned

  • There are two ways to think about it: doing things fast versus doing something right. You might want to do things fast and deliver the product, but you might lose the ideal scenario in the process. Make sure to test our instincts to have enough logical reasoning towards it.
  • In terms of convincing, when you present an idea to your superiors, you have to show them the vision; bring in a roadmap, if necessary, to show them how things are going to work. Come up with estimates on how much time it would take for you to work through the process.

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