The Stories of a Self-Taught Programmer at His First Job

Flat illustration for stories of a self thaught programmer.

Four months ago I was telling you about my breakthrough as a self-taught programmer: getting a job. Now I will talk about my experience as a new-comer in a web development company (eJump Media) and about my first impressions.

I will share three stories with you:

1. Getting it right from day one

They say that projecting a good first impression is crucial. I guess eJump knew it very well from the start because they did not disappoint at all. They really thought it through and made a great experience out of my first day. They actually designed it as an experience rather than a bunch of checkboxes on a paper that I had to check because it’s my first day.

They had everything prepared for me: my computer with a freshly installed software, the newcomer co-working rules guide, coding standards, a buddy that would help me better integrate with the team, a test project and, most importantly, a vibe that makes you feel respected and appreciated from the very first day – as promised.

The same feeling of mutual respect continued to be the norm on the second day, and the third, and the forth and so on until the day I’m writing these words. How do you keep this atmosphere alive? More on that in story #3, but now let’s see why I love coming to the eJump HQ every day.

2. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life

This story’s title is one of the most famous quotes of Chinese philosopher’s Confucius. While it sounds pretty easy, in reality it is a goal much harder to achieve what the quote conveys. At eJump, the founders do their best every day to fill the workplace with enthusiasm. How are they doing this?

They started by focusing on the employee and built everything from there. They approached it from the perspective of a designer and of a coder. They applied an employee-centered paradigm the follows a simple logic: employee is happy > employee gives its best > clients are happy > founders are happy > it’s a win-win-win situation.

So, how do you make your employees happy? They made the working environment that’s actually engaging and fun. One way they did that was by constantly giving you different types of projects to work with, so that you won’t get bored doing the same thing all over again. They replace the classic phrase “we have a project for you” with a proposal: “we have a challenge for you”. Thus, at the end of the day, it’s not all about “work, work, work.” They are aware that we’re not robots and once a month the entire team goes out and experience the “LogOut” (yeah, I know, it sounds kinda nerdy). Is the time of the month when the team votes who is going to organize a fun evening for us to hang out together: board games, billiard, karting, you name it. They turned eJump from “the place you have to go to work” to “the place you want to go and solve challenges.”

OK, so you end up loving work because you are respected and it doesn’t feel like work at all, because it’s engaging and fun. But, how do all these things actually happen? Well, the answer lies in the story #3, which is the primordial ingredient of the awesome organizational culture that eJump has.

3. Communication is 90% of the culture of a company

I know it sounds like a cliché, but the point here is not that “communication is good”. It’s about how often do you communicate and how you do it. The eJump team takes care to instill a culture of frequent and honest communication. And what better way to do it than founders setting up an example by showing flawless communication between them?

You’re given numerous occasions to voice your feedback, whether there are formal meetings or just a quick chat with your colleagues, when you ran into a problem.

You have 1-to-1’s with the founders at least once a month. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait for that particular moment to tell them what’s on your mind. You are encouraged to ask them for a discussion as soon as you have a problem to signal. This way you don’t let your inner frustrations pile up and explode later.

Also, we hold a Monthly Jump. A quick feedback session with the entire team, when we have the opportunity to review what has been achieved in that month and show gratitude towards the team. On the other hand, we talk about what we could’ve done better in order to improve ourselves.

The most important thing is the way feedback is given. We try as hard as possible to give an honest and constructive feedback and not to embarrass others if they haven’t had their best day.

At the end of the day, this culture of communication manages to transform a working place in a “safe place,” as they call it in psychology. It makes you feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback and makes you proud of being part of such an amazing group of people.

Spot the white lie

I know I told you at the beginning of this post that eJump is a web development company, but the truth is… I lied. eJump actually is (as you probably have already figured it out while reading this piece) an extended family of craftsmen and craftswomen that do their best every day to serve the community (clients) while doing what they love, whether that is design, coding, PR or else.

For me, after four months, being part of eJump is more than a short answer thrown at the omnipresent question “So, how’s work?” while chitchatting with my friends. It’s about having the feeling that no matter how tough things will get, you have a family ready to provide you with their support and everything is just going to be alright.

P.S. Ok, you caught me. There are exactly three stories in this post, no more and no less, because each one encompasses one of the three core values of eJump: Respect, Passion, Frequent and Honest Communication. 

Proudly introducing Alin, the author of this article and a great member of our team.