Hackernoon logo5 Lessons from My First 90 Days in Tech by@augustina

5 Lessons from My First 90 Days in Tech

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@augustinaAugustina

Graduate Software Technology (Product) Management Graduate. Interested in AI & IoT. Encouraging people to get into tech!

It has been approximately 90 days since I started my role at Arm, as a SW Technology Management graduate. To say it has been a rollercoaster is an understatement. Coupled with working from home during a global pandemic and ramping up virtually, it has been an amazing journey so far. I have had many lessons from my time here so far, some of which I learned as in intern previously, and some that I am growing to understand as I go through this role. I thought it was worth distilling them into 5 main lessons I have learned here. 

1. It’s actually okay to just learn, and not to do — my struggle with shiny toy syndrome.

Before coming into this role, I had constant shiny toy syndrome. Product Management/ Strategy was something I knew I wanted to pursue and grow into, but I was also interested in learning more about user experience design, cloud technologies and many other avenues in technology. I started many blogs, business ideas, and fell under the belief that I had to be every single one of the roles that looked interesting to me. 

The joy of my role and the beauty of what I do is that I get the opportunity to learn about technology across the stack and across industries. The past 90 days have forced me to learn without trying to be everything. I have a much more focussed idea of where I want to be and what skills I want to have over the next season, and even though they might change, I am happy that the focus right now is stronger than it was before. Whilst I still love learning about user experience, embedded engineering, UI design etc, I know what I want to do, and am focussing on doing those, whilst learning the former. There is no problem (that I can see right now) in learning about many different parts of technology, as the overlap across many different roles is evident, but having more streamlined focus is the goal here on out. 

2. Culture really is everything when finding your first job. 

You know when you have a dream of working at a company for a while and then you finally get there and it is better than you thought it would be? Well that is me with my company.

I loved working with my team as an intern and it was the company culture that made me really excited to come back. There is so much opportunity to learn and grow with people passionate about their work and the semiconductor industry.

One of the best things about my company is my team. I’m sure I tell everyone this, but it is the honest truth. Having a manager that is supportive of your technology interests, pushes you to do better and provides great career and pastoral care is a luxury in the working world that I feel honoured to have, especially in this time. Having a team that are more than happy to fill me in on what I have missed in the gap between my internship and graduate position and are ready to help whenever they can, is a privilege. 

It’s actually quite hard to explain the company culture in words, it is one of the things you need to really be there to experience, but it is definitely something that I enjoy. 

Company culture is so important, and has permanently gone to the top of my list when looking at opportunities in the future.

3. It’s okay to begin again  and start learning from scratch.

‘It’s especially important to not rush anything’ —  Words that my mentor/friend said to me a couple of weeks ago, and have rung true since I have started, and something that my manager and team have also echoed. Starting from scratch and making sure I get the foundations of computer architecture, as well as business and product strategy and the industry is so important to me, as I grow in knowledge and build a solid foundation that I can use to grow in my career in product/technology management. Understanding that this takes time, from someone who sometimes suffers from shiny toy syndrome (as I spoke about earlier) has been a hard lesson, but one I am very grateful for. Taking the time to upskill slowly and intentionally in the beginning of my career where I have the flexibility and space to learn, make mistakes and grow is going to benefit me in the long run. It’s more important right now to be a sponge, than rushing to be at the top of my field in 6 months. 

Intentional future-proofing and continuous learning > Quick and shaky success.

4. Asking questions is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s the best thing.

This is something I knew at university, but has helped me to gauge my learning and growth over the past 3 months. I used to be so scared to ask questions in meetings, and when speaking with engineers and tech leads. I recently had one of my recurring meetings with my manager, and asked him a whole host of questions about JIRA. Not only did it help me to learn more, but it also made me realise that I knew enough to ask questions. Now I enjoy having questions to ask, because it reminds me that I am learning and growing and whilst there is so much to learn, I am enjoying the journey.

5. On balance.

Finding the balance between online courses and project work, work and life balance, networking and application of what I am doing. Planning and executing. Being super productive and knowing when to rest. Everything needs balance and I am learning how to find a balance that works for me to achieve my goals and skills. So far, buying a planner using trello and Microsoft to-do have helped me to prioritise and keep on top of everything, but I am always looking and excited to try different techniques until I find out what works for me. 

My trello Board has become one of my prized possessions, allowing me to keep a track of project based learning, online courses, tasks to complete and people to reach out to. So far it has helped me to keep organised and plan my day, reducing my stress and anxiety, and allowing me to complete my tasks. 

So far, the experience has been amazing and I am looking forward to the personal growth, development and opportunities to learn more and grow in my role & career. Technology is a growing field, and there is so much to learn. Remembering to make sue of every opportunity, start small and be willing to learn will be useful in the long run.

Cheers to the new year, new opportunities and personal and career growth. 

 ——— 

Hi! 👋 I'm Augustina, a Graduate Software Technology (Product) Manager and public speaker, speaking about my journey into tech. I've recently launched a newsletter over at augustina.substack.com, where I'll be writing about my journey into technology, and what I learn about tech, startups and business. I also enjoy publicly speaking about my journey into technology, as well as introducing people to emerging technologies, especially AI, ML & IoT.

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