Conquering Week 1 as a New Dev at 40: From Introvert Anxiousness to Small Wins

Conquering Week 1 as a New Dev at 40: From Introvert Anxiousness to Small Wins

A newbie frontend dev shares his first week struggles, victories, and tips (TypeScript, imposter syndrome, mentor magic!).

3 min read

Heading into my first day at the new job, the anticipation was real. After spending a couple of weeks on vacation from my previous job, I was itching to dive into this new opportunity. If you've been following my journey as a 40-year-old front-end developer balancing family and work, you know that time has been my most precious resource. Those two weeks off were supposed to be a breather, a chance to catch up on hobbies like gaming or playing music. But instead of lounging around, I found myself buzzing with excitement, diving into learning and projects, and writing my first big blog post.

My new mentor sent over a list of tech and concepts to explore before starting, reassuring me that it was okay if I didn't cover everything. But fueled by enthusiasm, I tackled the list head-on, brushing up on React, Sass, BEM, Redux, and redux-saga (EDIT: after a year of experience, I won't link this, try to avoid this if at all possible). The days leading up to Day 1 were filled with a mix of nerves and excitement. Transitioning at 40, after 14 years at one company, wasn't easy, especially for a "mild introvert" like me. However, the warm welcome from my new colleagues at Atomic Intelligence made all the difference.

By Friday, anxiety (the not so good kind) kicked in. The codebase seemed massive, and reading someone else's code at this scale was daunting. I had to finish something before the weekend. My boss noticed my anxiety and reassured me - no pressure, take your time! This helped tremendously, but I still craved a win. With my amazing mentor's guidance, I managed to finish a task by day's end, feeling immense relief.

First weekend came, and that gave me a chance to do some further studying. Spent it learning TypeScript. Reading about it made me realize how many errors in my own projects could have been avoided. It's opt-in, so you can ease into it! I can really recommend the new JS devs to learn the basics - you won't regret it!

The following days flew by. Some tasks I tackled solo, others with my mentor's help. My approach: break it down, do what I can, and ask when stuck. Feeling "dumb" sometimes happens, but trial and error leads to awesome victories. Having a patient mentor nearby is pure gold - way better than Stack Overflow! He taught me problem-solving strategies, codebase navigation, and so much more. Tools like console.log are great, but the network tab with requests and responses can be your BFF, revealing what's happening and when. And in CSS, order matters! Later declarations win over same-specificity earlier ones. These nuances might not hit you in personal projects, but with multiple people and libraries, things get intricate.

Overall, my first week was a rollercoaster of challenges, fun, and small wins. If you're a new dev, remember: patience, support, and a willingness to learn are key. And don't forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small!