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I just graduated from my College with a B.S. in Comp. Science. Although it was a good school, we're the only accredited CS department in our state. I feel like im a decent programmer, not amazing, but not terrible.

I got my first job about 2 weeks ago, it's a pretty entry level job: firmware development/tester. There isn't a whole lot of coding to be had right now (mostly simple stuff) but soon I will have the option of helping out with development (which is what I want to do).

Thing is I have never worked on a huge project. In school we had "group" projects but nothing really big. So I'm not familiar with huge classes and such (main language was C++). Is this something I'll just get used to with time? Some fellow students were used to that with internships and such.but I never got that chance. My job was mostly a "one man job" kinda thing. Mostly little things. Plus in class we never did huge projects anyways.

How do you guys "plan" out these things? Do you use a whiteboard and plan out classes and such or what?

Another worry of mine is that I have to use google a lot for examples of code, because sometimes I just don't get how something works. Is this normal? I mean "technically" I've had 4-5 years coding experience but it really only feels like I had 2 years of actual experience.


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Haven't heard of anybody looking down on testers, but that's just me i guess. –  pnt Feb 17 '11 at 13:09
Some people "i've heard" seem to think lesser, I mean I certainly don't but i've heard snide comments before so.... –  user6791 Feb 17 '11 at 13:14
Well, I guess those people are not good at their work and do not care about the quality of the products and services they work on. Please, don't be one of them! –  Tanparmaiel Feb 17 '11 at 13:19
I def won't be :) –  user6791 Feb 17 '11 at 14:49
good testers are worth their weight in heavy metals, some organizations have a unfortunate habit of moving bad developers to test or QA and therefore end up with sub-par test and QA teams –  jk. Mar 7 '12 at 8:35

2 Answers 2

Worried about not having experience on large projects immediately after graduating? Perfectly normal. Most classes don't have the time to give you experience on "really large" projects. Many corporate projects I've been on can run longer than a year or two. I suspect very few (if any) people have had a school project run for more than 2 months as undergrad. Most fresh grads won't have any experience on large projects. Most employers will know and expect that.

How are such large project planned? Usually they are much to large for a single whiteboard. Planning happens in several stages at increasing levels of detail. Usually a combination of Word and Visio, but the whiteboard comes in for quick group collaboration. There's many other ways to do this, what I told is just one way (of several) at this one company.

Using google to look things up? Perfectly normal. How much can you remember at any time? Usually not as much as you need for larger projects. In the old days we'd have reference books on the desk. Now it's Google, but the idea's the same.


My opinion is an aggregation of what multiple people have already said, so I'll put it in an answer.

I think first of all, you should listen to what the seniors (and I mean everyone who has worked in the company for more than a month) tell you. You should follow the advice given by the more experienced than you...

This is true. You should listen to what the seniors tell you.
...However, as @Jens said...

...Testing is usually assigned to newbies to learn about a project by using the product. Still, you should try hard to leave this stage as early as possible.

Remember, in a good development shop, the "seniors" will be helpful; but they will still have their own agenda (i.e. they'll still need to fulfill their own responsibilities as part of the team).

With that being said, if your long-term goal is to be a developer, then you should work hard, and try to shed the "tester" role as soon as possible.

In fact, if after a year, you still haven't shed your "tester" responsibilities, then I suggest that you look elsewhere.

elsewhere for a job? or I should just stop programming? –  user6791 Feb 17 '11 at 15:48
@Merchf: Elsewhere for a job. –  Jim G. Feb 19 '11 at 16:48

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