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23 February 2024 - 6 minutes

Your First Tech Job: What to Expect

That first day can seem scary, but you have an incredible career in front of you.

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


It’s here: the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve landed your first tech job and you’re eager for what’s ahead of you. But as that day gets closer, the nerves start to pick up: what will it really be like to be a tech professional? Are you fully prepared for what’s to come? While we can’t answer those questions for you, we can help explain what starting a new job in tech is like and prepare you for the adjustments that come when you move into a new career or into the workforce for the first time altogether. 

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of working in tech that are maybe different than what you’ve experienced in other industries, as well as some of our best tips and tricks for first-time workers that will help you enter the workforce in the best position possible. 

The Transition from the Classroom to the Office

Regardless of if you’ve been in another industry and have switched careers to join the wonderful world of tech, those first days back in the office will be an adjustment as you leave your classroom days behind you and transition into the working life again. And if you’re starting your career for the first time, then you may be completely lost when it comes to what to do in an office setting. 

As you move from the classroom into the workplace, expect to notice a few key differences: 

  • Increased independence: as you step into the workforce, you’ll find that you’re expected to know certain things and speak up for yourself; gone are the days of being told what to do by a teacher or walked through the steps of each project you have. One of the first changes that you’ll realize is this increased independence that lets you have more control of what you’re doing.

  • Being the least experienced: maybe you had some tech experience pre-bootcamp and was one of the best in your class but now that you’ve entered the workforce, you’re surrounded by incredibly skilled professionals who have tons of experience in the field. While this might come off as intimidating at first, remember that this is a great opportunity to learn and hone your skills–and, of course, that everyone started out as the newbie! 

  • A new lifestyle: gone are the days of a few hours of class a day and homework or projects to occupy your nights and weekends; when you enter the workforce, you’ll have clear hours outline that you need to work and then you’ll (hopefully!) be free to do what you please outside of work hours. For those who prefer to work on their own time, this can be quite the adjustment, as well as those that struggle getting up in the morning or who have long commutes. 

  • Office dynamics: in your classes, you probably got to know your fellow students and were all more or less on the same page when it comes to your skills and experiences; when you enter the workforce, however, you’ll find the range of people, skills, and backgrounds is all over the place and depending on your specific office and company, you may be working with a wide range of personalities and fields. 

What to Expect From Your First Tech Job

With a clear understanding of exactly what will differ between the classroom and office, it’s time to discuss the expectations of your first tech job and, of course, what to do to set yourself up for success.

Nerves–they’re normal! 

There’s nothing like those first day of work nerves that set in the night before and while they might feel insurmountable, try to take a deep breath and relax. Remember that everyone has these nerves, no matter where they are in their career, and the large amounts of unknowns that starting a new job brings is naturally going to incite some nerves. 

Why do these nerves happen? Well, let’s break it down: when you start your new job, there are a lot of unknowns and new things; from new people to meet to new rules to remember and lots of onboarding information to process, the first few days on a job can be incredibly overwhelming. And just like with anything, these unknowns will contribute to nerves. 

Instead of trying to fight them–welcome these nerves! This is a completely human reaction to lots of new things at once and you’re not alone–everyone starting out has or will feel the exact same.  

Lots of information at all once 

The beginning of anything is usually chalk full of new information and details and a new job is no exception! When you start your new job, expect the first few days to be full of introductions and meetings with new people, lots of documentation to review, and tons of information given to you all at once. This rapid flow of information will be overwhelming and that’s totally fine–your new bosses won’t expect you to remember absolutely everything. 

Here are a few tips to making your first few days a bit less overwhelming in terms of information: 

  • Flag any important information: sometimes you won’t have a chance to dive fully into absolutely everything during your onboarding process and if there’s something you’d like to dedicate more time to, make a note of it and come back to it later when you have a second. 

  • Take notes: no matter how great your memory is, you’ll struggle to remember absolutely everything that you’re told during your first days. Make sure you write down the important things, such as passwords, login info, and the location of important company documents such as PTO policies, instructions how to take vacation days, and where to go in case of any issues. 

  • Ask questions: if there’s something that doesn’t quite make sense when you hear it, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions! Remember that the onboarding process is full of new information and the person leading your training is there specifically to help you acclimate to your new role. 

An entire new team to meet 

Teamwork is a given in the tech industry and depending on the size of your company, you’ll be joining a large team and need to not only meet everyone and understand their roles, but also get to know their personalities and how they work. As you get started, prioritize being a good team member and offering help when needed and delivering high-quality work. 

Although you might be tempted to tap your teammates on their shoulder or ping them (if you’re remote!) every time a question pops up, remember that a bit more independence is expected in the tech industry and you should make sure you’ve exhausted all your own options before reaching out to someone else. On the same note, try to compile any questions or concerns into one list so that you’re able to use one meeting to answer them all and not require lots of individual chats. 

A project breakdown 

As we mentioned above, the vast majority of tech companies use teams full of professionals who are tasked with various steps of the project lifespan; from UX/UI designers to developers, tech projects require quite a bit of collaboration and you’ll soon be an integral part of this project. Therefore, your first days will be full of information about how the team is currently working, the project at hand, and what your role will be. 

Take your time ingesting this information, making sure you have a clear understanding of what will be expected of you. Once you get started on your own work, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of the following: 

  • What programming languages, systems, and frameworks the team prefers to use 

  • The frequency of check-in meetings where you’re expected to update the team on your progress

  • The ideal project timeline so that you don’t miss any important deadlines

  • Where to go if you reach a blocker and need help to move forward

Lots of learning opportunities 

Above all, your first tech job will be absolutely overflowing with opportunities for learning and growing as a professional. Although you might be eager to work on your own and show off what you can do, remember that you have your entire career ahead of you and there’s no need to rush–take this incredibly valuable opportunity to learn from experienced professionals. 

As you transition from a student to an employed techie, there will be some bumps in the road but there’s nothing to be scared about! This change is one that everyone has undergone at some point in their career and one that we focus on at Ironhack throughout your bootcamp, offering you comprehensive Career Services from day one until up to a year after graduation, ensuring you have all your burning questions answered. 

The first step towards the incredibly feeling of your first day at your dream job is ensuring you’re qualified for the role and with Ironhack’s bootcamps in web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, cybersecurity, and data science and machine learning, you’ll be well on your way to success.

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