I probably suck at my job.
July 19, 2012 8:13 PM Subscribe
I'm a programming intern. I probably suck at my job. My boss hasn't noticed yet. How can I get better before it blows up in my face?
posted by anonymous to work & money (40 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
22, female. I graduated in May with a BA in political science, because I discovered my interest in programming junior year, too late to switch to computer science. I didn't even minor in CS, but I took a few classes. Regardless, I have a wonderful internship doing mobile app development because of a family connection.
The internship is seriously awesome and I know I'm lucky as hell to have it. I've been there for about a month now. My boss (who's a programmer) has looked at my progress on the app and told me I'm doing a great job. But I really don't think I am. He's primarily looked at WHAT I've built, not HOW I've built it. I think because he knows how I got the job, he's just pleasantly surprised that I know how to turn on a computer.
My source code is a buggy, disorganized mess, and I don't know how to fix that. Most of my previous experience is in web development, just building very simple database-driven sites and cute little jQuery widgets that don't require any serious organization. I've read all about MVC, and think I basically get the concept, but I've never used it before and I can't figure out how to apply it to this Android project. Internet tutorials haven't helped because they haven't actually spoonfed me a solution. I've sat for hours trying to design a reorganization, but without success. Then I go back to adding features instead, because I'd basically have to redo the whole project, lose most of my progress, and probably still do it wrong.
It's sort of confirming for me that maybe I'm not such an awesome programmer. I mean, I write some of my own code, but so often I've just glued together pieces of other people's code, sometimes without significantly modifying it or even fully understanding it. It's just that this is the first time it hasn't worked.
I don't quite feel like a fraud because I never misrepresented my qualifications (or lack thereof), but I don't feel like I'm overcoming the learning curve fast enough. I've been reading tech books, internet tutorials, etc... of course it's helped some (how else would I have even made my crap app?), but not nearly as much as I'd hoped. I still don't know what I'm doing, and I'm the only person working on this app.
I really, REALLY want to be good at this job. The work environment is great, and the work itself is interesting even though it hurts my brain.
Any advice on being less of a hack? All-purpose learning-curve-conquering wisdom welcome—I know I gave a lot of (perhaps unnecessary) specifics, but my real question is more general: how do you deal with feeling completely out of your depth?
(The internship pays enough that I could afford a studio in a relatively safe area, but I still live with my parents because I'm terrified that I'll sign a lease and then get fired. Jesus, would I ever like to move out.)