Getting A Good Start At A New Job

by John Adams

With any luck, I'll be either on a new contract or in a new job shortly, and I've been thinking about those horrible first few weeks, when you can't be productive 'cause you don't know nuthin' (and you're still getting yourself set up).

The next thing I do, I'll stick with beyond the 4-5 years per assignment I've averaged, and I'd like to make this one count.

So: Does anyone have advice for how to get a good start on a new position? Book and article recommendations welcome.

It's taken me as long as three days on a new assignment to do useful work. Don't you hate that period where you can't be productive?


2005-04-12 17:08:54
Unit Testing

If you're in a development role at all, I've found that the best way to get into the code is to start writing and/or expanding the Unit Tests. On my current contract I did this and had nearly 100% coverage of all of the Util classes throughout the project.

It was a way to brush up my skills, get familiar with the supporting classes and dive into the business logic with a greater understanding.

2005-04-13 06:22:01
write documentation
If there's no high-level document that provides an overview of the system you'll be working with, then start writing it. Ask people questions, write down your understanding of their answers, and then have them review it. You'll get up to speed with the big picture faster, you'll learn who you need to go to in the future when you have more specific questions, and your new co-workers will appreciate your contribution to their system documentation.