What I Learned From My 3-Year Work

It’s time to look for an internship again. The last time is 4 years ago, how fast time passes!

I started to intern in my previous company as a frontend developer in November 2016, and be a full-time employee in July next year. This work experience ended in June last year, and I went back to school. I will have a three-month holiday this summer, it’s a good time to find an internship especially if I decided to go back to China after graduation. The competition for students to find a job is often fierce in China.

In my first interview, I was asked how my previous work experience helped my current project. My answer was not good. It reminds me to review what I learned from past experiences. I hope I could do better than before and avoid making similar mistakes.

1. Have a detailed short-term plan

Of course, a long-term goal is necessary, but it is usually vague and easy to change. I don’t mind if I could reach my final goal, I believe if I make effort in each step and satisfied with the result I get, even if I deviate from the initial goal, I will also be happy. My life will be valuable.

My short-term plan like “I want to complete an online course this month”, “I will make a personal website next month” and “I decide to design three UI this week”. Simple and easy-to-do plans will motivate me to stick to them. I don’t like intensive plans such as do something every day or every week. I have tried this model many times and undoubtedly failed nearly every time. There is always something unexpected that happened to hinder my plans. We can’t imagine our life as regular and unchangeable all the time. We are young and life is full of possibilities.

I prefer to set the short-term before the beginning of a week. On Sunday, I will consider what I should do next week according to my current situation. For example, now I’m looking for a summer internship and participating in an interview, my plan for next week is to review professional knowledge and think about regular interview questions. And after each interview, recall the questions and make reflections.

2. Take the initiative to communicate with the leader

I always feel lucky to meet great leaders and colleagues in my previous company, but I didn’t utilize this chance to learn from them and improve myself. I always exclaim how great they are and list their strengths to my friends. However, I didn’t realize that they were also willing to help me to some extent. My leader was always busy so that he can’t notice all of us, it’s usual for him to talk with us once a year if we didn’t ask him for help initiatively. He also said if we didn’t tell him, he wouldn’t know what we were thinking.

There are some problems as follows that we can communicate with our leaders:

  • Not satisfied with working content and arrangement
  • Have confusion in personal progress
  • No understanding of the company regulations
  • Personal suggestions about projects
  • Personal expected development direction

Sometimes it’s not easy to be aware of our problems from our personal perspective, others’ suggestions may lead us to go more quickly and further.

When we are in a company, we are not only required to obey the arrangement. We can develop ourselves with company together. If we can’t learn anything from the company, it’s time to leave.

3. Self-precipitation, record growth

I tried to record what I learned after some projects, but I lost them anywhere. One problem that I encountered was that I didn’t find a satisfying documentation platform. I used Evernote, Youdao, Segmentfault, and Juejin but none of them lasts for a long time. My notes are in a mess and most of them are incomplete. For example, I only noted a solution to a question, but there was a lack of explanation and application extension.

Now I fall in love with Medium, I like this style both for app and website. It’s minimalized and elegant. Readers are from all over the world, It’s great to learn from others no matter where they come from, and I’m eager to practice my English writing skills. Sometimes I feel safe because few people know me here, I am not worried about how naive my content is. I can practice gradually.

What I anticipate recording are case studies, project summary, personal understanding of the profession, and personal growth.

4. Demo test before actual usage

It’s an interesting point that I learned from one of my colleagues. He has a special personal demo notebook. As developers, we usually need to test some functions before being used in an actual project, if we test in the project directly, it’s heavily running, not easy to check the bug and present it to your peers. I remembered that before when I asked my leader questions, he expected my code to run on a simple page. I created a single file on the desktop and threw it afterward. When I encountered the same questions, I had to repeat the procedure. Therefore, owning a special demo notebook is necessary. It also shows your knowledge accumulation during projects which is a cool thing.

Although I made paper prototypes more rather than coding now, I am trying to organize my sketch in Figma. When I want to review a previous job, I can easily find the history recording. It looks great and helps me a lot when I was making my portfolio. I also use Behance to record my UI work, it’s quite honorable to earn an appreciation. It gave me a lot of motivation.

Overall, no arrogance, no rashness, no fear of the future, no regret of the past ( 不骄不躁,不惧未来,不念过往).

Human-Computer Interaction in Aalto University | UX designer | Front-end developer