Stretching yourself as a new engineer

  • “Tara you’ll need to learn Angular” — cool
  • “Tara can you fix this bug?” — I’ll give it a go
  • “Build a pattern library” — erm sure?
  • “Tara can you present the project to our stakeholders” — wait, what?!

Figure out your limits

There is such a thing as stretching too far. Sure, you want to develop your skills, but not at the expense of feeling stressed, exhausted and burned out.

Comfort zone circle in the centre with the stretch zone one layer around of it.
Comfort zone circle in the centre with the stretch zone one layer around of it and then panic zone one layer around that.

Set your goals

Now you know where the sweet spot is for the level of goal you should set, it’s time to start setting them. If you’ve already got goals in mind or things you want to achieve, then there isn’t much work to do here, I already knew I wanted to improve my communication. I also wanted to practice speaking and get better at inputting into conversations. On top of this, I also had a whole heap of other things I wanted to work on but there is only so much I can focus on at once!

Share your goals!

This is the most important step if you ask me. There is something about being accountable to someone that makes me get stuff done. I tend to share my goals with my line manager, in the hope that they’ll be able to help me find useful opportunities to achieve them. If you don’t think your line manager is the best person to share them with you could share them with anyone else — friends, family or even Twitter 👀.

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Tara Ojo

Tara Ojo

Software engineer @ Google. She speaks and writes about career progression and front-end development. @tara_ojo