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I am an entry level developer with 1 year of experience. I have worked on a large scale project which I have played around 80% of the project work, those 5 months were terrible to me - late nights spent working, even Sundays.

i have worked on whole Process Model , doing some of my colleagues work ,DB Design ,client feedback all this but the point is some of my work been owned by my Team Lead & hope now realize why i mention 80% of work is done by me!

Now the project is completed, and the client seems completely satisfied with the work.

But, I haven't found the company to give any sort of encouragement / appreciation. My seniors who where not involved in the project were given praise, leave, bonuses, etc. Also I was rejected permission to attend an important family function - that makes me ask "what's the credit I have now"?

I have been wondering, is being honest/dedicated to the job what resulted in this situation?

I have currently gotten 3 offers with good package - I've been thinking to move on to any of the companies now. What's your suggestion at this point of time?

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Try to think about the reasons why this company neglected you, why the next one will not, and then, if you see no red flags, choose the place with the best offer. Or ... take an offer anyway, because the best way to learn corporate dynamics is by moving around. –  Job May 31 '11 at 14:57
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Welcome to IT! lol –  adolf garlic Jun 1 '11 at 11:42
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Based on edits, a project is done in months, an entry level developer is capable of, and allowed to do modeling, db design, etc, and does "80% of the work". That is a one off baby project the type given to new person to cut their teeth on. If it was given to you, you have a complaint. It is also the kind of project done because a customer is important, cannot even make expenses on these not in India or anywhere else. Projects that finance bonuses/leaves no one does 80% in 5 months. No one is that good. A bit player on big project or big player on bit project, sure. This? Does not wash. –  Sisyphus Jun 3 '11 at 6:32
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Also, WHY did you have to work so much? –  user1249 Jun 4 '11 at 19:40
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16 Answers

up vote 81 down vote accepted

Taking what you said at face value, and assuming that the seniors didn't spend their nights and weekends fixing or rewriting the code that you wrote ;-) ...

...there is no reason to stay where your work goes unrecognized and unrewarded.

Caveat: do not take career advice from strangers on the Internet.

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+1: do not take career advice from strangers on the Internet. –  Joel Etherton May 31 '11 at 15:03
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Do not listen to any advice, including this one. –  Job May 31 '11 at 15:30
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Epimenides, is that you? –  Mason Wheeler Jun 1 '11 at 0:07
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It is curious that @Joel Etherton's comment, which just repeats a single line in @Steven's answer gets more upvote than the answer itself. –  Lie Ryan Jun 1 '11 at 1:47
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@Lie: Joel highlighted it - you can't beat highlighting ;-) –  Steven A. Lowe Jun 1 '11 at 2:14
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This can be a tough situation. If you have 1 year of experience and you leave it might seem like you are picky to future employers, especially if it becomes a habit. Two years of experience at your first company is better.

The company sounds toxic because if the project was managed well, then an entry-level developer shouldn't put in more than 50 hours a week. Also if you do work hard your lead or manager should praise EVERYBODY for having done a good job towards the success of the project.

With that being said it is not uncommon for the leads, architects and managers to reap rewards for a successful project, because after all, they lead the direction and take the risk of project failure. As an entry level developer you should be sheltered from that responsibility.

My final note to you is that you do have a job, you can put a successful project on your resume, and these things make you a lot better off than most. I am not saying that you should tolerate being treated badly, but you should respect that good will come of this, even if you don't see the immediate praise and rewards that your counterparts have.

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Honestly - as an entry level developer with 1 year of experience - you might be overestimating your contribution if you are saying you've done 80% of the work.

In large scale projects, a very large portion of the work involves requirements gathering. Testing, pricing, marketing, etc. also play a very large role. If, as an entry level developer, you are fulfilling all, or even most of those roles, then it seems unlikely that it could be a large scale project.

However, to address your question, praise is not only worthless (from a strictly financial perspective), some studies show that praise can actually demotivate people. Bonuses are not worthless, but it can be dangerous to compare bonuses you do or do not receive with those that middle and upper management receive, especially in your first year. You simply do not know what other factors may have been considered for them (past projects, etc.).

Extra hours and weekend work are always worth noticing, but for an entry-level employee who is relatively new to the company, they may simply be seen as methods of evaluating your level of commitment to the job.

Stick it out, and see what kind of evaluation you receive (if your company does regular evaluations). If you continue to receive no recognition for your efforts, then by all means take a look at your other options. However, leaving too early can negatively impact how other potential employers will look at you.

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When someone feels they should get more recognition, the research goes out the window. Say what you want about the importance of salary, praise, etc., but when someone needs more money, salary becomes a major factor. –  JeffO May 31 '11 at 15:09
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@Jeff O - Absolutely. However, "Great work!" and a pat on the head doesn't buy you much. Of course, busting your *** and feeling like no one notices sucks. In some corporate cultures, though, the "Great work, thanks for all the extra time" sometimes is slow to trickle down to the entry level positions, especially if the immediate supervisor isn't particularly good. Chances are that someone will notice sooner or later, though, depending on how much patience the employee has to stick it out. –  Beofett May 31 '11 at 15:13
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-1 for "praise is not only worthless..." - strongly disagree. Every puppy likes a pat on the head now and then. –  Steven A. Lowe May 31 '11 at 15:18
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"...you might be overestimating your contribution if you are saying you've done 80% of the work". It probably isn't very often, but I'm sure this tends to happen, unfortunately. –  Jon May 31 '11 at 15:21
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@Beofett: seen it; the author is short on alternatives in many areas but does have some good points. But totally disregarding the value of praise is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. ;-) –  Steven A. Lowe May 31 '11 at 15:59
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Ask your supervisor for some feedback on your first project. Don't wait for some type of annual review. If they don't think this is necessary, that says a lot about their perspective on the importance of developers.

You may find that no one gets any praise, recognition, vacation days whenever they feel like/need it.

Maybe they don't want to encourage all of this extra effort so you don't burn out? Doubtful. But I did have one manager that made a habit of telling his people to go home while others were still working late.

A big key is you don't want to wait until you get fired to discover your supervisor is not satisfied with your work.

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+1: Don't wait for your manager to validate your effort. It's not in their best interest to give you high marks, because those are often tied to raises. –  Satanicpuppy May 31 '11 at 16:28
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+1 - My manager will frequently walk around at the end of the day and ask why everyone is still there. If you don't have a critical reason, he will tell you to shut down and leave. I love it, since it takes away the implicit assumption that you are required to work 70 hour weeks to meet arbitrary deadlines. We had a programmer a while back working 40 hours overtime every week just to get ahead on deadline. He had a breakdown and freaked out. Martyrs encourage an environement where family and healthy lifestyle come after deadlines. That kind of thing shouldn't be praised at all. –  Morgan Herlocker May 31 '11 at 17:45
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+1 For ask your supervisor. –  MarkJ Jun 1 '11 at 8:16
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At least from what I've seen, it's fairly common for contributions from junior developers to be overlooked to at least some degree. For better or worse, the more senior you are, the more credit (or blame) you get for how a project worked out.

Depending on the company, blame/credit isn't necessarily allocated a lot more fairly even when you gain more seniority. Some people get credit simply by being loud-mouths who spend a lot of time talking about how great they are and how much credit they deserve. Others get credit based on being good-looking, being good at telling bosses what they want to hear, being good at giving presentations, already being known for work they contributed on previous projects, etc.

The bottom line is that it's almost inevitable that at least part of the time, you're going to receive less credit than you deserve. If you're a little lucky, at other times you'll receive a bit more than you deserve. Now, there are certainly techniques you can use to at least attempt to make your contributions a bit more visible. Those might help you get more of the credit you deserve. On the other hand, if you overdo it, they can get you a reputation for trying to get credit you really don't deserve, or take credit away from others who deserve a lot as well.

At least in my experience, most people do end up (in the long term) getting roughly the credit they deserve -- but it usually takes a while before it's recognized, and it's usually only roughly accurate.

As far as moving/changing jobs goes, the obvious question (at least to me) would be about your attitude toward your current job. If you're sufficiently disgusted with the current situation that you feel like you just can't stand working there anymore, then by all means find a new job. I feel obliged to point out, however, that there's a pretty fair chance that the new job won't necessarily be dramatically better. At the same time, it might be: first impressions do tend to "stick" to people, often much longer than they're really accurate. If you stay at the current job for a long time, there's a pretty fair chance that at least a few people will almost permanently think of you as an "entry level" developer, even when that's not even close to accurate any more. If some of those people happen to be in positions that affect your career, moving to a new job can sometimes be nearly the only choice you have to be given the treatment you deserve.

The bottom line is that I doubt any of us really has enough to go on to really give solid advice. I think about the best we can do is help you think about the right questions, but probably not supply much in the way of meaningful answers.

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Eh. I can't remember a job where I was ever really appreciated until later. When you are appreciated, it's often for the wrong thing: the higher ups will miss the five times you were a superhero, and kiss your feet for the one time they saw you drinking coffee in the same room with an oversold disaster of a project, where you did basically zero work. Part of the problem can be how you sell yourself. Credit sticks to some people, and slides off others.

Your issue is that you're the low man on the totem pole. Even if you did amazing work, it's unlikely that you'll get much credit for it. That's just the way of the world. And frankly, you can't measure your contribution by hours alone. If two people solved a problem, and person A did it in two hours, and person B did it in two weeks, the solution has the same value (assuming they were of equal quality).

If you're a junior developer, you're probably not going to be lavished with praise. It's not exactly a prestige position. Get some experience, and then move on to a new job.

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This is true; although my direct (technical) supervisor tends to understand the real importance of individual contributions (more or less), when it comes to upper management, I've often been heaped with praise for the most absurd things. Like, for example, a quick turnaround on a near-catastrophe that should never have happened in the first place. Recognition isn't generally accorded in proportion to effort, it's proportional to visibility. That's why, sadly, one developer tirelessly working alone at a computer for implausible hours doesn't actually get anyone's attention... –  Aaronaught Jun 1 '11 at 0:29
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Nothing shows off the quality of your work like somebody else fubaring the same task. If one were a cynic, one might try to use that to one's advantage. Ahh, the things we wish we could unlearn... But on the flip side, if you have any passion for your profession then you'll sometimes do great work because you take pride in your work, even if you know there's not much of a reward in it. We pick our battles. –  Aaronaught Jun 1 '11 at 2:26
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All the other answers have focused on the praise or lack of it for your contribution to the major project.

I haven't seen anyone address the fact that you have been rejected permission to leave for an important family function to attend.

That, to me, is a deal-breaker. Unless you gave them no warning at all (i.e. said one morning "can I take off at lunchtime?") and there was a genuine reason why it would be a problem (i.e. deployment that afternoon of a system you're heavily involved in, important client meeting you were scheduled to attend).

Any employer that refuses to be flexible after you have been flexible towards them (the late nights and weekends you mentioned) is not worthy of working for. Given that you have three good offers, I would take one, and frankly, burning bridges be damned, I would (politely) mention that a major factor for your departure was the company's refusal to be flexible around family demands.

And while the workload and lack of appreciation for your efforts may be just as bad elsewhere, in my experience, it is not normal for an employer to refuse short-notice leave requests for family business without a very good reason.

Of course, as Steven said, do not take career advice from strangers on the Internet! But think about it.

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It's sad how often Dilbert is right on, and often quite timely (this was last Sunday's comic):

Dilbert fixes the HTMML

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-05-29/

If you're unhappy at your current job and you have better offers, consider it. Think about why you are where you are, and what would be different at another job.

I think I heard it said somewhere before:

Do not take career advice from strangers on the Internet.

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Once, while doing some paper work, I came across a hand written note in my bosses handwriting, (from a management course he had previous done). It was (paraphrased here)

"Employ them young, enthusiastic and without a life outside programming, preferably without a partner or spouse. Don't pay too much, instead, dangle a carrot in front of them in the form of promises of new technology and toys to play with on the next project. You will get a year of 60+hour weeks (2 - 3 years if lucky) before they cotton on and leave.

Your only answer - leave, they appear to have done this to you. (I am a bit older, questionably wiser and definitely more cynical than most)

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Interesting concept, but for productivity reasons you're better off with lower turnover and 40-hour weeks. Having most of your staff be inexperienced, and something like a 50%+ annual turnover, is a recipe for flailing and unproductive effort. –  David Thornley Jun 1 '11 at 21:08
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If there were other non-supervisory higher level developers you worked with, and assuming you have not already been grumbling a lot, you should ask them "As a newbie, honestly, how do you think I did on this project? Was I helpful to you guys or mostly a PITA? How much (not "any", trust me the question is or should be how much) of my code did you guys just throw away completely or rewrite?" Etc Etc.

If you have already been grumbling too much, too late, others will no longer want to get involved. But you may want to at least do a thorough code review and see how much of your stuff made it into the final build.

What you think with one year experience vs the reality may be dramatically different. And if you are any good at this, one thing is an absolute, much later if and when you look back at this code you will realize in no uncertain terms it was absolute sh! oops sorry, "it smells really bad".

The client may be "happy" now they probably have not even used the stuff yet. It's called full life cycle experience. Having to support the probably much less than fragrantly aromatic stuff you have released will be much more enlightening than writing it the first time.

I'm gonna be brutally honest about some things here. If it were really a large scale project, and you genuinely even saw much less touched anything even close to 80% of it in 5 months as an entry level developer, I hate to tell you but there is a very real possibility they were moving you around a lot, or just let you do whatever, because they felt like the could not get any meaningful work out of you. Hope that you are just making the almost universal inexperience mistake of grossly overestimating your real contribution instead.

I think it is pretty safe to say this is a fairly naive question so I am guessing your are career world, not just IT entry level, i.e. a youngster. I will not mince words. The rest of this is gonna seem harsh maybe.

Nobody ever said life was fair. I don't think anyone with any kind of sense has ever said life was even supposed to be fair. It's called paying your dues and right now learning anything you can learn, both good and bad, should be your only concern. No matter how you are treated, consider yourself fortunate to have the opportunity to make something for yourself.

And you are fortunate. Sure you probably have accomplished some stuff. But you were lucky to be born with enough resources to learn a science, and if it was not your parents directly it was certainly your elders and the grace of your existing social institutions that deserve most of the credit for having gotten you this far along in being able to use that ability. You are already way on the hot end of the fairness in life curve, believe me.

No one can advise you on whether to stay or go, but I will say this, if not this job, the next one - you gotta stick one of the early ones out for at least a couple, preferably a few years. If someone comes to me with three + jobs on their resume, no matter how good I think they are if none of the jobs is clearly something close to full life cycle experience I will tell them to come back when they have that - still just too much they can't possibly know yet.

As far as the time off, not enough info. Maybe you could have in fact worked it out - did you not have any vacation left? It is early in the year for vacation. Maybe you did not ask soon enough and they are just one of those companies that are just stuck on protocol. Maybe you asked like you were supposed to and they could not spare anyone else and you got bumped for seniority - tough break but ... Maybe they even did you wrong.

Hey whatever. I am all about respect and praise and environment, to the point where I am willing to sacrifice considerable financial gain. But With one year experience you've actually earned enough real standing to maybe say "Yessir, thank you sir, can I have some more of that sir." I have eaten literally months - most in fact of my total vacation time over the years because a business just could not spare me the time. Mostly by my choice. I've gotten a lotta thanks but even now, no one has ever said thanks for that. Now if I need time I need time. I never absolutely need but so much time at any given time. And now I mostly try to take my vacation, although I usually have to do it at Christmas, but I like that and nothing ever happens then anyway. I am also not some kid fresh outta school either though.

If you are really "too honest and dedicated" this all should not bother you much. The thing is, we did not hear anything about what you might could have done better or things you might have not done well or mistakes that you made, and so you should be able to understand why many people will have some healthy skepticism.

Oh, and as a stranger on the internet, I stand by my advice. Take it. People never like it and never take it - that's how I know for sure it's good, I guarantee it, lol ...

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I think it's possible to be a company that don't actually have large scale projects, on a absolute definition. So he can call it as a large scale project, and on other context it would seem as a small project. The "size" of the project depends on the importance to the company. –  Nemeth Jun 1 '11 at 16:45
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All answers provide already very good advice, but here's a quick list of things that come to mind:

Your Immediate Evaluation Checklist

  • suggest to the project manager to do a project retrospective
    • this will help have everyone sit together and see issues (including the obvious poor time management, which isn't your fault but your manager's!)
    • this will help identify things that were done right (including, hopefully, your work)
  • ask for feedback from your boss, the project manager and the dev lead:
    • first in writing via a polite email (to use the proper channels),
    • and right after sending it walk up to them (individually or not) and ask directly (to really get this feedback)
    • do this politely, and without being whiny. No one likes a junior who gives the impression is thinks he's better than anyone else and knows all the best practices and wants to turn things around and be praised for every single thing.
  • ask yourself wether your actions were really up to the standard that you estimate here:

    • Did you implement everything?
    • ... with the right level of quality?
    • ... with the proper documentation, communication and tracking?
    • ... with the proper hand-over to the maintainers?
    • ... while following processes accordingly?
    • What can you do better?
    • What have you learned? (if you learned something, maybe you did a few things imperfectly at first)

    (I'm saying all this because it would hurt it you realize later that, actually, other people had to look over your shoulder for a while, and that instead of deserving praise, they were nice enough to not point out all the mistakes you may have done.)

Your Regular Evaluation Checklist

  • Keep track of what you do
    • support calls (log them in the issue tracker or adequate system)
    • bugfixes (log them in the issue tracker or adequate system)
    • enhancements (log them in the issue tracker or adequate system)
  • Keep track of what you think can be improved (in your work, or overall)
  • Keep track of what you want to be doing in the next review period

When I have had personal performance reviews (scheduled by the company or initiated by me), I always come prepared with all these, to clearly show with what I'm happy or disatisfied.

In this review, do mention your objectives, both as part of the team and personally. What's your personal development plan? Do hint at the fact that you want more (money, responsibilities, appreciation) and that you may have other options (but do it without being threatening; it's not easy, but important for good relations if you decide to stay).

Clearly voice your disapproval about being refused the right to attend family matters.

Your Company Checklist

  • How many times did you work late? Over the week-end? Over lunch?
  • Does this happen often? Is this an exception? Is this only you?
  • Do you have a career prospect here? Do you have a clear path to a promotion or a raise, or the perspective of a reward of some kind for your actions now, or in the future?
  • Do you enjoy coming to work?
  • Do you enjoy your work? Your workplace? Your working conditions?
  • Do you enjoy the industry and the outcomes or your work?
  • Do you like the people with whom you work?
  • Do you feel like you are improving personally, technically and humanly, over time?
  • Do you feel like you get respect for what you do?

If a majority of these don't add up, don't look back, except if you're ready to bite the bullet for a while and then dash-out once you've got enough experience or money, or found something else.

Your "Next-Steps" Checklist

  • update your resume (Don't do it at work or advertise that you look for other things openly, but don't be afraid to have it published and visible online: if they see you update it, they will realize you might leave and will think about what that would mean for them),
  • build up your portfolio (open source projects, personal projects, etc...)
  • brush up your interview skills,
  • brush up on new technologies or things you want to work with.

A Note About Honesty

I have been wondering, is being honest/dedicated to the job what resulted in this situation?

Clearly: no. Honesty never results in this. Most likely, is found its roots in either:

  • your office's lack of judgement (in appreciating and rewaring your work) and honesty (in seeing it)
  • your own unconscious lack of honesty (in estimating the quality of your work).

It's either one or the other. I'd bet on the first one. However, I mention the second one because I don't know you (and if I don't see it, then it didn't happen :)), and I've seen (so, it happened) incredibly useless people in software (or other) teams who were convinced they were a gift to the company, while they only burdened others.

But honesty, if it's there, cannot be at cause, obviously.

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I'd like to make a few short points that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else:

  • Voluntary overtime is rarely rewarded in any position. If the company is making you work in excess of 65 hours (or whatever the labour laws in your region specify) then you ask for overtime pay. If it's not, then you can either deal with it or you can refuse/leave. Don't overcomplicate this.

  • Fair or not, recognition has a higher correlation with visibility than it does with effort. Although I sympathize with you, having been in similar situations in the past, the fact of the matter is that one developer working alone at a PC for god knows how many hours is almost never going to get anybody's attention. You have to be out there in everyone's face, and not be "that guy" in the sentence "what does that guy actually do here?"

    I'm not saying to boast or brag, but - as hard as this is for many programmers - you really do have to be social if you want to get noticed.

  • In healthy companies, reviews/bonuses/compensation are awarded according to results, not effort, and effort does not equal results. As the late Frank Westheimer said, a month in the laboratory can often save an hour in the library.

    I'm not accusing here, but just as a corollary to beofett's honest answer: some people take a really long time to get things done. Instead of looking at how hard you worked, you need to look at the quality and efficiency of your output. Only when you are totally comfortable with the latter should you consider demanding better compensation.

  • Time off for family functions is not part of your bonus structure. They can write it off as vacation time if they want to be dicks about it, but there's no reason for them to refuse if you give them reasonable notice. This is one case where it does not matter at all how senior you are; if you've confronted them directly on this and they can't offer any reasonable excuse, then that actually would be a good reason to leave for greener pastures. People need time off, that's simply a fact.

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+1 for last point alone. –  Benjol Jun 1 '11 at 10:13
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I have been wondering, is being honest/dedicated to the job what resulted in >this situation?

No. It's the fact that you are 'entry level' and a short time on the job. You may have worked on the project, but you didn't invent the project, decide it was necessary, or bring in the customer for the project.

You also haven't told us exactly what sort of work you spent so much time on. Chances are you didn't design and spec out the project, make important architectural decisions about the project or decide what tools and resources were to be used. You did the job of an entry level programmer, so you got entry level credit - which generally means little or none. What you did is important to you, and rightfully so, but not necessarily to others who are more experienced and see you as someone untested and still feeling your way.

This may sound cruel, but it's true. Do not expect miracles overnight. I'm sure the people who did get the credit paid plenty of dues before they got to that point.

I have currently gotten 3 offers with good package - I've been thinking to move on to any of the companies now. What's your suggestion at this point of time?

IMO your getting or not getting credit for this project isn't too relevant to your decision to move on or not. You need to look at the 'big picture' - where are you likely to learn the most, be exposed to the kind of work you enjoy, position yourself for future jobs, move up the ladder so that at some point you will get the credit you want, etc. Don't let the fact that you feel slighted right now skew your judgement about the job in general - if it's a good workplace, 'your time will come'.

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I am not quite sure how your performance is displayed on projects. Maybe your Company is using something like Authoria to track objectives and performance, maybe not. Either way, if your horn isn't tooted, then you need to toot it yourself. You are your best promoter.

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First, you will probably find that the other offers aren't any better at offering praise. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.

Next as a junior developer, you probably are not aware of the things the other people contributed to a large project or the hours they put in. Often they do, in fact, deserve more recognition than you did. Juniors almost always think they are better than they are and that they contributed more than they really did.

Third, to get any recognition at all anywhere, you generally need to play office politics. It's a dirty job but that's the way the world works. In one of my first jobs, I watched my boss receive a national award and very large bonus. They read all the the things he did to get the award in a big ceremony. Every single item he was rewarded for I had done. Yes he had managed those projects but I was the sole person who did the work for every single thing he was recognized for. He was much better at office politics than I was and thus reaped the rewards I deserved. It was the last time I let that happen to me. Now I know enough to make sure that higher ups know what I did to make a project succeed and I get the credit I deserve. So let this be a lesson to you and learn how to promote yourself.

The world is not fair, the world will never be fair, the world could care less about you and your wants, and no job is perfect.

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I know an answer has already been accepted, but I giving a go at it anyway.

I really sympathize with the original poster.

When I started doing programming about 20 years ago now, I was in my teens. I didn't do it for a job, I wasn't paid for it. Well, the first forays into software weren't even, how to say it, brilliant. I mean, I had absolutely no touch with the industry and just did what suited me.

One day, I realized I had made my first one thousands line program. WOHA!

Consider we're talking Turbo Pascal here, like, 1993 or so. I wanted to put it on the shareware market because, well, it was 1000 lines of code, it was big :-)

And I felt it was, ouch, really hard to get there, it took me like a couple years or maybe 3 to get there.

But back then, I was young :)

Hey Kid, whatever you choose to do, never lose your enthusiasm, because here is what I tell you: 20 years after I started, I still have fire in my belly and the willingness to go on for another 20 years.

I am now landing a job with a decent perspective and, finally, some carreer to pursue. We'll see how it goes, oh well, if it doesn't, I can always land another job :)

Good luck!

Andrea

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