Confessions of tech muggles pt.1

Karla Landripet
  —  4 min read

With every new job, it takes time to adjust to the people, the company culture, the office and everything else. But when you come from a business administration background into a tech company, like the two of us did, it’s like a whole new world. You basically need to reboot yourself. (See what we did there?)

That is what happened to us: two freshly graduated business school girls who have spent their college years working in multinational organizations, surrounded by people with similar backgrounds, interests and extroverted personalities.

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Before we started working at a tech company, we assumed QA had the same meaning as Q&A, while Java meant JavaScript, only shorter. Because people obviously get too lazy to pronounce the entire phrase, right?

Frontend? Backend? Aren’t those tennis terms?

Why is it that we decided to embark in a new adventure in the first place?

Ever heard the statement “Software is eating the world”? In his essay, technology leader Andressen Horowitz claims that within a few years, almost all businesses will be digitalized and run on software. Even non-tech industries will have to start thinking like a software companies to survive in a digital world.

Today, this is our reality.

About a year ago, around the time we were graduating from college, digital was already ruling the economy.

The most influential companies on the market were (and still are) Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. Tech giants seem to have the coolest workplaces on the Earth to us Millennials. The tech industry is booming, and some say it’s expected to grow another 22-38% by 2020. Need we say more?

Being ambitious, proactive business students, we naturally decided to join the “brave new world.” We really wanted to be a part of this tech revolution and see first-hand what all the fuss was about. We never intended to be developers, but we wanted to learn from a tech company and see why they are so successful.

During our period of adjustment, we accumulated lots of observations and useful tips, which we will now share with all of you IT dummies. Here is a brief intro about this parallel universe and how the tech world appears to outsiders.

So, let's start with the basics.

1. The jokes

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Did you get those? Neither did we. Even after reading it few times. Qt, right? (For all of you beginners, qt = cute.) The thing is, for most of the developer’s jokes, you need some background to understand it. Pop references? Almost never used. Gaming references? Bingo!

2. The communication

Silence is golden in the tech world. Even if you sit right next to someone, it is not unusual to send them a Slack message. Even in an open space with 50 people, it’s not noisy. Sure, you will probably hear the thump of bass drums from people’s headphones, but that’s about it. Developers are very empathetic and respectful towards others, especially when it comes to their peace and quiet.

3. Office life

Office life revolves around sprints (not the running kind) and SCRUM. Daily stand up is not a comedy show and weekly bytes don’t involve food (bummer). Other than that, developers are quite productive. If they lose some time, it’s because they’re taking time to check out the lovely creatures you’ll find walking around the office. (No, not girls, but dogs.) Taking your dog to work is a common perk in IT companies.

4. After work socializing

Board game nights are one of the most popular ways to socialize in this world. What Bingo is for retired people, board games are for developers. Monopoly? Pictionary? Uno? Naaah, that’s just too basic since there are no dragons, dungeons or brain teasers. Switch to Cards Against Humanity, Mansions of Madness, When I Dream, Mechs vs Minions, and become a queen of the board game night!

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5. The dress code

When we ladies land a new job, we spend most of our first paycheck on a complete makeover. After all, we are grown-ups now, and we need to have a grown-up business wardrobe. Worry not; if you decide to work for a tech company, you can spend money on other things you love, like food. Why is that, you may ask? Well, the dress code doesn’t really exist; everything works as long as you feel comfortable and dress within reasonable boundaries. This includes grandpa sweaters, ripped jeans, no makeup. Even Crocs are ok - no one will judge you.

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We know a lot of you out there have been curious about what tech companies are like. Is it really like the Silicon Valley show? Are developers actually as geeky as Sheldon Cooper? And why is it that those tech startups end up being such a success? Now, you’ve got this cheat sheet to answer all those burning questions.

So, what comes next?

Now you need a basic understanding of the lingo. In the next chapter we are demystifying some common tech terms, so take a look!

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