How to succeed at a leading tech company

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This question originally appeared on Quora: I got a job at a leading tech company but I’m nervous about how hard it will be. What are some tips to be confident and do well? Answer by John L. Miller, Consulting Member of Technical Staff at Oracle.

A key success factor for programmers is their ability to work on problems they have no idea if they can solve. Welcome to that world!

Some ways you can reassure yourself:

  • These companies often pass over people who could do a great job, but rarely hire people who cannot. They are confident you can do it!
  • Everyone understands how hard it is starting out at a new company, especially if it’s your first job. They’ll cut you slack, and ideally help you learn. At the very least they’ll expect things to take more time as you learn, and so should you!
  • Keep track of the things you learn and the problems you solve, for example by writing them down in a journal. They can be as simple as “got my computer set up.” Every time you feel like you’re not doing anything, take a look at your journal.
  • Make friends with other new people. Orientation is a great place to meet them. Get their email addresses so you can commiserate about how confusing things are, and perhaps even help each other.

A little general advice.

  • The first several months will be hard. Accept it, ignore it. Don’t worry about evaluating your ability to work independently and get stuff done for at least three months, and ideally six months.
  • Make sure you take time out to relax. Take at least one day off on the weekend to recharge your batteries.


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