My name is Nance, and I have been working at RecordPoint as a Graduate Engineer for the past nine months. I joined RecordPoint’s Graduate Program in 2019 after finishing my studies at Australian National University in Canberra.
During the graduate program I have completed three rotations through different teams which has helped me learn how to adapt to a new workplace and fit into a new team. In this blog post, I have broken down my experiences into four tips for people who are new to the workplace or are moving into a new role.
Get to Know Your Teammates and the Team’s Culture
Getting to know the team you work with, as well as other people in the company, is an important step to fitting into a new role or workplace. I have worked in three teams during my time in RecordPoint’s Graduate Program, and I found each team is very different in terms of the everyday duties, team culture and communication style.
I use daily stand ups, and other scrum meetings, to get to know what the team is working on and the team’s communication style, and how each of the team members work.
It was also beneficial to me to participate in social activities with my team, like playing table tennis, grabbing team lunches, and attending the company board games night. By spending time with my colleagues in a social setting, sharing interesting stories, and finding common ground, I found that I felt more comfortable working with them day-to-day, and it helped me feel like a part of the team.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions and Take Challenges
The first week of work can be daunting but also exciting, especially for fresh graduates. There are a lot of introductory sessions, and it can be hard to take in all the things mentioned in the meetings.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions as on-boarding sessions are designed to help new starters get to know more about the company and its products. I also found it useful to take notes and to record meetings so that I could refer to them later if I had any lingering questions.
I remember during the first engineering rotation I was shy and hesitant to ask questions, but I found that everyone was very friendly, and they were always happy to help. I was working on tasks that were very new to me, but the people I worked with were so knowledgeable and supportive that I never felt like I would fail. I had many questions every day and always received patient and helpful answers.
The support and courage from my teammates helped me become more confident. Now I’m comfortable picking up tasks that seem difficult, and I’m not scared to try new things. I know that the team will support me, and I’ll have a great opportunity to learn new things and develop new skills.
Use Various Resources to Seek Advice
Knowing the best person to ask a question to can be a useful and time saving skill. Seeking feedback from a wide array of people also allows you to learn as much as possible.
For each rotation I was assigned a buddy. My buddy was always someone in the team I was doing a rotation in, and they acted as my first point of contact for any questions that I had, especially relating to the work assigned to the team. My buddy was often the perfect person to ask for help when I was stuck on a task.
Whilst my buddy was generally my first point of contact, each of my teammates had a lot of useful knowledge, and they each had their own areas of specialization. I found to useful to figure out who the expert was for each topic, and to try to learn as much from each of my teammates as possible.
We have several avenues to connect with other members of the Graduate Program. Being able to share experiences and learn from other graduates was very helpful.
A senior member of staff is assigned as a mentor to each graduate at RecordPoint. I learned a lot from my mentor’s stories on their career and it gave me insight into the direction of my career and different ways that I can build my skills.
My manager is the Head of the Graduate Program, and at the end of each rotation I had a performance review with her. In addition to getting feedback on my performance in the rotation, it was also a great opportunity to reflect on the things that I have done in the past, talk about the difficulties that I had, and get helpful advice. It helped me get a clear direction on the expectations that my manager has, and what skills I should be improving in my next rotation.
My last piece of advice for anyone in a new role or workplace is to self-study. I made sure to complete my everyday tasks, but I also made sure I understood the business values, did my best to keep up with the latest technologies, and I learnt about areas of the code base that I wouldn’t necessarily be working on. All of these endeavours require a lot self-study.
- Make use of the benefits that RecordPoint provides, like free access to various online courses. During the first week, there’s some free time for me to check out the online courses and it really helps me speed up the learning process when I’m doing a task later than utilizes those studies.
- Participate in the engineering events. If there is something interests you, whether it can be a new tech stack, a new technology, a new service, or a feature enhancement, RecordPoint’s Innovation Day is a great chance to turn your idea into something authentic. I get chance to work with people across global teams and build something I have never built before.
- Take notes in your meetings and do research. As I mentioned earlier, in meetings as new starter, you might suffer from an explosion of information you’re not familiar with. Sometimes, there may not be enough time to ask all the questions you have in that meeting. If that’s the case, take notes on the terms and definitions to help yourself keep pace with the leading-edge tech that is being highlighted. After the meeting is finished, I ask my teammates in detail as well as doing my own online research.