Making Your Mark: Tips for Starting Strong in a New Tech Role

Whether you’re a new engineer or one with experience, you must first prove yourself in a new organization.

Chuma S. Okoro

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Experienced hires often think, “Hey, I have years of accomplishments at comparable tech companies, I should fit right into this environment because it’s just another tech company.” While your new employer may have many similarities to your previous organization, they don’t have intimate knowledge of your previous accomplishments over time. In addition, they aren’t familiar with your personality or your approach to problem-solving.

On the other hand, new engineers — whether they’re from school, a bootcamp, or self-taught — likely have not been in an environment with the type of pressures or interpersonal dynamics that can exist within modern technology organizations. At the end of the day, all engineers must earn the trust of their co-workers. Doing so improves your credibility in technical conversations, sets you up for good end-of-year reviews, and enables you to enjoy the organization more because of the mutual trust between you and your colleagues.

Here are five actionable steps you can take to gain trust and prove yourself early on in your new tech role.

Review pull requests often

Reviewing pull requests is the most underrated behavior that ALL great engineers do. The first and most obvious reason you should review pull requests is that it helps your fellow engineers. Many technical organizations require a certain amount of approvers to release code into production. While approvals are often necessary for engineers who want to release their code, fellow engineers are not obligated to give these out. In performance reviews, people are usually not judged based on the number of GitHub pull requests they approve. This introduces a conundrum. An engineer’s ability to produce at work is dependent upon other engineers who aren’t strictly measured by how fast you publish your code. By jumping in and helping your teammates out with this, you can solve a problem for them, while also letting them know that you’re dependable for a code review.

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Chuma S. Okoro

Sr. Software Engineer @ Bloomberg. I love talking about technology and business. Every article has my opinion backed by my experience, education, and research.