A day in the life of a software developer at a startup

Hi! I’m Shabina, a Manchester Codes bootcamp graduate now working as a Junior Software Developer for a tech start-up in the self storage/real estate industry. I have been in the role for almost 3 months now and I am definitely enjoying the ride!

Working in a startup

The company I work for is a relatively small company with approximately 20-25 employees, made up of software developers, product managers, an operations team and a content and marketing team. Working for a startup definitely has its advantages such as having the opportunity to work on exciting, often industry-changing products and being involved in the decision making from the start. I also really enjoy being able to work across the full stack, which has already helped to build my knowledge and add new skills to my tool-belt.

However, it can tend to mean you work at a much faster pace compared to maybe a larger company, but if you like to learn whilst building then start-ups may be for you! I would point out though, that I think it’s really important to try and gauge how supportive a prospective employer would be during the interview stages, especially as a junior developer looking for their first role. You don’t want to feel like you’ve been thrown in the deep end without support as there will be so many “firsts” and without a supportive employer, you may feel completely overwhelmed.

I am currently working on a pretty cool product that allows you to create responsive images and videos using an API - the product is already out in the world but at the moment we’re making some infrastructure changes with how we access data and soon we will be making the move to Serverless. We work off a ticket based system using JIRA (a project tracking software) , where I work on any tickets assigned to me - once I’ve completed the work, it goes into the review stage, where my manager will perform a code review and we’ll then discuss any feedback. This is usually done via GitHub (version control for our code), which is something I learnt during the bootcamp and a tool that I use everyday.I am also learning the importance of keeping documentation up to date. As we are making significant structural changes to the application, it’s important for us to be able to keep track of what we have changed so we have an accurate timeline and picture of the application. 

A day in my life

Our core hours are 9 - 6, but we can also work flexibly around these times, and as we have a team in New York the time difference means there is some async work.

9:00-12PM - I like to spend the morning reviewing any work I did the day/week before, continuing to work on any tickets assigned to me and checking in with my manager on my progress and any questions that may have popped up.

12-1PM -  Lunch!

1-3PM - I attend an all hands meeting where we discuss various topics, including updates from product managers, and the marketing team which gives us all an idea of what everyone is working on and what the priorities are for the day and/or week.

3-6PM - As some of the tech stack is new to me, I like to spend the last few hours getting up to speed with some of the technologies we use to gain some depth to my knowledge. I study using courses from websites like Udemy and Pluralsight which are provided for me by my employer. These websites have some fantastic resources on every software topic you can think of!

Transitioning into tech

I have transitioned into the tech industry from working in the NHS, and without the help of Manchester Codes, this would have felt much more terrifying! 

I also would not have come across this role had it not been posted in our jobseekers Slack channel! I was looking for a fully remote role that would build on some of the technologies we had been learning but where I would also be given opportunities to learn new tech and build exciting products. It was also important to me to work for a company that had a supportive, trusting culture and I was lucky to find that in this role. 

Technical interviews can be a little scary, especially if this industry is completely new to you, but treating every interview as a learning experience will help to build your confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and also, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something, after all, we can’t know it all. When it came to applying to roles, I had a chat with the careers coach at Manchester Codes which was really helpful. From the guidance regarding my CV, advice around maximising LinkedIn and general job-seeking advice, the support was second to none.

The best piece of advice I was given was to highlight any transferable skills from my non-tech role during the application and interview process. It might surprise you just how many skills you already have and use day to day in your current industry that are just as valuable in the tech world. Skills such as effective communication and people skills are super important so make sure to show off examples of these during the interview! Also, like interviews in other industries, make sure to interview your interviewer(s) back, and treat it as a two-way process, as you need to know if the role is a great fit for you too. 

Graduating from Manchester Codes has truly opened up so many doors and I am really looking forward to seeing where my career will take me. I’m excited to continue learning and building in my current role and I will always be grateful for the huge helping hand Manchester Codes provided me with. 

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to follow my journey or have any questions!