One Year in NYC

August 1, 2016

As with many newly-moved grads to the city (August 1 lease, anyone?), today marks my 1-year anniversary for living in New York City. It’s been a wild ride so far and I can’t wait for what new adventures come my way.

My decision to come here was originally rooted in the prospect of the opportunity to grow professionally and socially. At school, I was lucky to have classmates and friends close by for four years. I knew I wanted to try something different upon graduating. I wanted to challenge myself by moving to a city where I knew fewer people and would have to put myself out there in the communities I wanted to be a part of.

With regards to work, there were a few discrepancies that I have found myself needing to make between school and my job.

Here’s the difference:

  • You won’t get graded on your PR. Your PR gets through review and, if you’re anything like me (and love learning from your mistakes), you yearn for code review.
  • Code review goes both ways. Even if you’re the most junior kid on the team, look for patterns in your colleagues’ code. What stands out to you? Look for things that you like about it and ask questions when you don’t know why something is implemented a certain way. Pointing out areas of improvement comes with time but you have to start somewhere (I’m still struggling with this).
  • Do not commit commented code. It is confusing to read and makes your git history messy.
  • Do not commit broken code. If someone has to do a git-bisect and ends up at a broken commit…let’s just say you don’t want to have that conversation. Git stash is your friend; use it wisely :)
  • Communication is essential for a remote team. If deadlines or scope do not get clearly communicated, then clarify ASAP. Acting on an assumption is rarely a good idea and can cause brain-ache. If you think a deadline can only be met by pulling an all-nighter, let the appropriate people know. Understanding scope is key– your team doesn’t want to come in the next morning to find you asleep at your desk after not going home. This isn’t school anymore–an all-nighter to get that paper in simply isn’t the same.

There are more areas I can delve into, but I’ll leave those for another post.

Socially, I’ve also learned a few lessons along the way.

  • Join a meetup. When I first moved here, I immediately looked on for all of the iOS meetups in the area. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are multiple Meetup groups that hold ~1 event per month. I would go to those after work and meet engineers from all over the industry—I loved doing this when I initially started my job because I’d get home, not have homework to do (😱) and freaked out. It helped me get out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to folks in the city. Not only is this a good way to grow your network professionally, but chances are you’ll also make a few friends, too.
  • Find something you like to do. I felt like I had no hobbies when I moved here. I tried to compare it to school again—what the heck did I do for fun all those years?! It’s different (friends, problem sets, all-nighters, etc). I’m lucky that I love my work, but that doesn’t mean I have to do it for 12 hrs a day. Solution: go out of your way to make coffee/tea dates with people you have been meaning to catch up with (school, hometown, camp, random encounter on the street). Go on a run, it’ll clear your mind :) Also, rewatch friends!

Thanks to all of you who have enriched my experience here! If I still haven’t caught up with you, drop a line my way!