As we all get closer to graduation, one question gets more and more important: what’s next? A full-time job as a software engineer? An internship that potentially leads to a full-time offer? Grad school? Maybe even something completely different such as a a non-technical role. There are so many different possibilities that it can seem a little overwhelming, and everyone’s experience is likely going to be different. For me, I finally have an answer to this question and it has been my best career move yet.
In May of this year, I was fortunate enough to be offered a role as a Software Engineer at the company I have worked at for the last four years. In the months leading up to this offer, I had been doing some networking with leadership in the IT department and expressed interest in moving to that department in the event any roles opened up. The company truly values internal growth and they came up with a training plan that would allow me to get on-the-job experience while still in my old role. This training plan included shadowing senior developers as well as working on small projects such as fixing bugs on the company website. At the time, I worked in the Marketing department and had a manager who was extremely supportive of my goals and allowed me to spend about eight hours per week on this training plan.
After a few months, one of the entry-level developers was promoted which opened a role for me to pursue. I applied and, after going through a couple rounds of interviews, was offered the role. I’m now about five months in to this new career and can say, without a doubt, this is the best job I have ever had. I was able to jump straight into working on a new app that my company is developing. The app has created quite a bit of buzz at my company and I am proud to say that it is something I am working on. I was a little nervous at first because the app is written in Angular which is completely new to me. However, the foundation I have gained at OSU made it so that I was able to pick up Angular fairly quickly. While I am definitely still a junior developer and I still feel a bit of imposter syndrome, I can tell that I am growing as a developer.
Not only am I finding that my coursework has helped with my job, but I have also been finding that my job is helping with my coursework. This is especially true with the Capstone project. My job is 100% remote, which means I have been using a number of tools that are aimed at remote collaboration. These include Figma (for design) and Mural (for white boarding). I thought these tools would be perfect for collaborating with my Capstone group and we were able to use them when working on our Project Plan. My job has also given me experience with project management as well as Scrum, both of which will be beneficial when working on this project.
I’m relieved to finally have an answer to the “what’s next?” question and am excited by the fact that my first job as a developer is one that I enjoy. As a student, you never really know if a discipline is going to be something you enjoy professionally. Not only do I enjoy it, but I feel that it is the best career decision I have ever made!