How to succeed at a larger company

Dear new developer,

This Ask HN is worth a read, as there are some good tips on how to succeed in a larger company.

I’ve been here for about a month now and still feel like I’m mostly just in free falling trying to figure out 95% of what anyone talks about or how to do things. It seems like everything works fundamentally differently than it does for a smaller scale company.

Some of the advice:

Take always a notebook and a pen with you. Whenever there is a word, or process, you have never heard of or are not sure what it consists of, write it down.

Now every few days schedule a meeting with a member of you team, reviews the list, and request explanation/clarification.

Take additional notes for future reference. That’s it, in a few weeks you’ll feel at ease with what is happening around you.

This is a gradual process, you’ll keep learning in the months, years to come.

This is a good tip for any new job. Take notes, make sure you try to get a bit better every day. Even at a super small company, while you may feel pressure to deliver right away, reasonable people will expect some spin up time. When I was at a small consulting company, I was expected to start really understanding things in about a month, not in the first week. Give yourself some time.

But do take notes and find out when you should ask questions. Some teams will want you to ask questions as they arise, others might want it more structured. If you can, document for the future (wiki, github READMEs, etc) so ask about doing that.

(Side note, in my experience, if you succeed in delivering anything in the first week that is going to be a feather in your cap. I remember delivering working code in the first day or two of a contract at a large company where I was hired as a senior developer and having the product owner be suprised.)

Another commenter mentions that there is more communication overhead in larger teams.

As you are noticing, there is a lot of communications overhead for large teams.

I have spent most of my time at smaller companies, but have worked for a few big ones (> 50k employees). It’s a different world, in my mind, one where ability to communicate becomes even more important. This is true for everyone, both the individual contributors (ICs) and management.

Sincerely,

Dan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.