The Life of a Programmer: First Projects After Bootcamp

By Jes­si­ca Mitsch ● July 30, 2021

What better way to learn about the life of a programmer than by diving into their day-to-day projects?

So, you’re thinking about taking Momentum’s immersive course. Let’s fast forward. Once you’ve secured a job, you may be wondering what your first weeks in the new position will look like. What skills will you need to succeed, and will your experience be enough? These are typical worries that come with starting a new job.

Recently, the Momentum Slack community shared stories about the first projects they were given after being hired. Through these conversations with graduates, we were able to gain a glimpse into the life of a programmer. Here are some examples of potential first projects that could be assigned to you in your new career.

Visual Changes

A common first assignment given to new web developers involves cosmetic changes to previously existing projects or software. These edits are typically lower-level and do not impede the operation of a software. They make use of front-end technologies such as HTML, CSS, and vanilla JavaScript which graduates often feel most comfortable with when starting off.

While beginning a new career appears daunting, many companies ease new employees into their positions by beginning with front-end visual improvements before moving onto more challenging assignments.

Momentum grad Alyshia for example, was hired in a programming role using the language Java, however, she was not given a Java assignment until she had settled into her role and had a chance to onboard and get to know her team’s best practices. Graduates Taylor and Jesse shared similar experiences. Taylor’s first assignment involved simple changes using CSS, and Jesse was told to “pick up any ticket [she] felt [she] could handle.” Her first projects allowed her to become familiar with the code base of the company and hone in on her front-end development knowledge.

Improving Efficiency

The life of a programmer wouldn’t be complete without spending substantial time streamlining software. Improving the efficiency of applications was another commonality found among first projects. This is one of the most important aspects of coding for a company, because the end goal is almost always to maximize user experience. Several Momentum grads shared stories of how they used their coding skills to improve user-friendliness of frameworks and software in different settings.

Mo works for a company that makes software for other companies. Since her customers are software engineers, her assignment focused on making a product more user friendly for other web developers.

Sowmya and Dan also worked on streamlining code in their first projects. Sowmya created new modules from an existing code to make it more efficient, while Dan modernized an application by rewriting it using newer frameworks.

Implement New Services

Often the most exciting first projects involve the implementation of new services. In coding, implementation is a fancy word for the process of adopting and integrating a new software application.

Momentum grad Ashley implemented an authorization page on a new server for her first project. Matt, another grad, has the formal title of “implementation engineer” so his first projects relied heavily on terminal git experience for setting up development environments. Bob provides an interesting example of a first project involving implementation. He used his Momentum experience to create an online scoreboard widget that was able to display overtime scores and the scores of games still in progress.

You’ve likely noticed by now that in reality, the life of a programmer varies greatly from person to person. But, there is a good chance your first project will fall into one of these categories, or be a combination of several. The career services offered at Momentum will help you find a job fit to your best skills and interests and are there to coach you beyond your first job. To learn more about Momentum, download our course guide.