Confused and upset after being 2-month web developer

Hello, nice to meet you all. I started learn via Freecodecamp and other alternatives e.g. codecademy from the beginning of 2017 and I got my first web developer job in start-up company for 2 months now in Hong Kong. (Without CS degrees or IT-related experiences)

However, I am quite confused and a little bit upset after two months.

This company had 5 people (included me), two of them are senior developer, 1 project manager and 1 designer. The project manager and one senior developer are the founder.

I handled some works like building websites and focused on front-end only. Even deadlines are extremely tight and lots of overwhelming projects (3-4 projects at the same time), I feel all are quite like expected and hope to earn more experiences in this field, even I think my coding are bad.

Yesterday, my boss called me to meeting room and said my progress is slow and not good enough (maybe because I need lots of time to pickup e.g. wordpress, woocommerce, meteor and the works did not like they expected).

Then he compared me with other senior colleagues and implied that I do not have enough overtime works and seems not passionate, which is bad. In my perspective, I used lots of time to learn by myself without any instructions, I do not think I am not passionate (and yeah, I love learning).

They even asked me to think twice if I really want to keep struggling in this field because all company in Hong Kong seem like us, with lots of projects.

I am quite confused, they said they need to hire junior web developer to handle their projects at the interview and I already told them I am beginner and did not have much experiences.

Am I not good enough for landing a web developer job?

My github:

Should I change my field back to salesperson or simply just practice more and more in order to get a new web developer job?

I am quite confused and despaired. Hope you all can give me some advices! Thank you!


Most of what I’ve said below is (probably) highly opinionated, so please take it with a grain of salt.

I can’t offer much role-specific advice since I’ve never been in that position myself but what you described is, unfortunately, not uncommon in Hong Kong (and arguably many other Asian countries).

I think you should remove the link to your portfolio because it has potentially identifying information. .___.

Anyhow! Assuming that you haven’t exaggerated anything, I tend to think that your boss is rather unreasonable given that you were upfront about how much you knew at the time of hiring. Also, it sounds almost like your boss is emotionally blackmailing you to either quit or basically give up your well being so they can get as much out of you as possible (particularly if there is no compensation for OT).

Whether you are “good enough” or not is really subjetive and depends entirely on your employer’s expectation; even if it’s written in your contract what is expected of you, I’m sure your employer would still find ways to argue against it if suits his argument. If you were honest during the interview and you were hired then you are good enough for the job—it’s a risk that your boss agreed to take, so don’t feel that you are not good enough provided that you been trying your best.

Ultimately, you should decide for yourself whether or not you want to keep the job. But if I were in your position, I would ask myself the following questions:

  • Do I have a clear understanding of what my boss wants now? If so, am I able to learn all those things and be productive in a reasonable amount of time?
  • If I stick with the job, and assuming that I can get “better” at it, are the short term sacrifices that I have to make (time with family and friends, time for your hobbies, health, maintaining a healthy stress level… etc.) worth it?
  • Will leaving the job now have a heavy impact on my future employability? (This depends a lot on whether or not you have a degree in something else, your past experience, how old you are… etc.—if you are optimisitic and you are genuinely hardworking, this should be the least of your concerns)

I also have the following comments:

  • If you can afford to, and if you really love coding, I personally don’t think you should go back to being a salesperson (I’ve kind of been there myself, it’s a soul-sucking job in many cases, particularly in Hong Kong)—unless in the unlikely case that it pays very well and you will still have plenty time to learn on the side
  • I’m of the opinion that the demand of tech knowledge in many fields will be increasing for a long time—if you care about doing something fun/competitive/rewarding/freelancing/starting a business some day, there is really no reason that you should stop coding now provided that, again, you can afford to do so
  • Judging from the dates the GitHub repositories and Pens were created as well as minor glitches in the projects, I think you could use more practice. On the bright side, and even if you were learning full time, it appears that you are a rather fast learner provided that there is no copypasta
  • Note that the previous point is just my honest, and personal, opinion and it’s not an indication of whether or not you should quit your job now
  • In case it’s not clear above, I really don’t think you should stop coding no matter what your decision is

I probably sound like a broken record by now. That’s it from me! Good luck. :slight_smile:

EDIT: Typos!


@snowleo208 I struggle in the same way. I’m not sure about the best path forward. I suspect that in the near future, most website development will be automated. Also, I’ve noticed companies and individuals that I interact with underestimate the effort involved with designing and maintaining websites and undervalue web development in general, so they don’t want to pay reasonable rates. So, does it still make sense to learn web development or should we focus on other skills (like sales) that may be more relevant and applicable in the near future? I don’t know.

Two months… it’s a little bit of time to start judging a person. But don’t quit because of that. I used to live in Asia and I don’t know exactly about how it’s in Hong Kong, but sometimes bringing donuts :doughnut: to coworkers used fix many things :smirk: (just saying). Well of course, I think the best way is to show them that you are trying. Do the best what you can and if they’re still complaining… than too bad, you are not losing anything, they are going to lose you! :sunglasses:


Don’t worry. Just keep calm and try to be a part of team.


Maybe the current employer’s expectations were too high? OK, then squeeze every drop of experience and knowledge out of it you can while you are there. If you find yourself looking for another job, still keep learning and keep working. Remember, in computers you become a little more valuable every day as long as every day you are increasing your knowledge and skills. Never stop increasing your knowledge and skills no matter what situation you find yourself in!


@honmanyau Thank you for your reply and I really appreciate your opinions! (I have removed my portfolio based on your comment, I did not notice that :frowning: )

After considering quit or not these days, I still think I love to code even sometimes it is hard to understand and frustrating. Also, I agree that tech knowledge are more important in these days, so I do not want to give up now.

Since my boss are hiring new people for front end and the title is as same as mine, so I guess they want to hire a new person to replace my job. I think it is better to find a new job with better working environment rather than sacrifice my work-life balance… :frowning:

I will try to practice and do more projects afterwards, thank you!



Thank you for your reply. I think people do not understand the hardwork of being web developer and just think all like Google Apps or something, which is just like magic and can be done in a short time.

IT can combined with others skills, since learning IT-related knowledge is already the trend of future…We can stil learn different skills when we are learning web development. :slight_smile:

Well, it is quite difficult to learn web development and I am still struggling and feel lost sometimes. Hope we all can become better in the future!

1 Like

@IlimaVIP @DIFYZ @olddognewtrix123

Thank you for all your comments! I guess the expectations from employer is high and they always chase for perfect but in a short time, also they are quite aggressive, with many projects.

I think I cannot stay in this stressful environment for too long, so I decided to leave this company and search for another one first. Then try to know whether I am suitable to work in this field or not.

Anyway, thank you for all your advices. I will try to practice more and find another job :slight_smile:

But I have a little questions that, are many of web development company like that? With tight schedules and fast-paced, stressful environment etc. I feel lost and confused for searching another job…

1 Like

A couple of inspiring and excellent quotes from @QuincyLarson, relevant to this conversation:


Dont give up brother , Easy life is boring , I wish you good luck.

But I have a little questions that, are many of web development company like that?

I would say that it’s just depends. There are some people who struggle working overtime to get the sprint done, and there are some barely showing up to work and still getting paid for all of the 40 hours a week)). But than again, it’s not like they do nothing, it’s just they decided to work at home. I really don’t know how is it in Hong Kong, but I think it’s really depends on many things. Over here in US I feel like, you’ve got to do your best in anything what you do if you want to have success. Good luck with your next job soon! :+1:t2:

Typos: sorry ahead of time. English is not my first language, it’s my fourth language))

@htmlmaster @camper
Thank you for your quotes from Bruce Lee and your opinions. I think I can see my future once again :slight_smile:

Thank you :slight_smile:

I am now trying to revamp / polish my portfolio page to reflect my current abilities and use that to find a new job later. Hope that I can find a workplace which have time for growing.

English is not my first language too, but I wish I can work in foreign countries someday!

As a middle school student (just always being the smartest one in the class) i know where your boss is coming from and I think of your situation as the following:

In middle school there are 2 types of classes; advanced and normal.Given the fact that your team is made up of no less than two senior programmers and you being the only junior, your boss is used to tackling a lot of things at once and wants it done with amazing speed and dexterity ( not surprising given the fact that he has been working with very experienced developers in the field). Now back to the middle school classes thing.You are in the position of a new student in a super advanced algebra class and the students are completing huge amounts of work in record times and your teacher is expecting the same of you.which is natural because you are in big leagues now and you are being compared to the seniors.Now my stance on your issue is that although your boss is wrong (and believe me he is) you should not be expecting any better of him due to the fact that

  1. he has been dealing with some very experienced folks and has always been rigorous in his expectations and is too far down that path to change his ways,

  2. he will no longer view you as junior and will slowly and gradually be more and more discontent with your work -the effects of which you are already seeing.

Now. You have a couple of options :

  1. You can quit the job and look for a new one -not necessarily going back to your old one (because there is probably a reason behind you quitting it)

  2. You can try to reason with your boss

  3. You can approach the seniors on your team and be taught by them in your specific plight and ask them to guide you to your weaknesses so you can pick up the pace and be slightly more pleasing to your boss.

Now there are other trails of actions but if he is seriously blackmailing you and you are willing to part with the position then pick option 1 -it is your pick.

I hope that solve your issue and all goes well.

Thank you for your opinions and I think that is just what you described!

My guess is they really want to have an experienced one but they do not have enough budget to do so… Anyway, I will try to revamp my portfolio and find a new job!


It seems like you joined a mini startup. There are a lot of these “companies” in asia, especially in china. I think that if the whole company is solely operating on 5 people, you guys are gonna have a lot of work to do. No doubt. So, regarding to your question I think if you join this kind of mini-startup you are always gonna get a lot of work, a tight deadline etc.

I think what you need to do (if you love coding and you still want to be around) is focus on more specific things, ask your boss what project he thinks that you did not finish “in time”? Which project has the higher priority, and what is the real dead line? If he tells you: “well, within 3 sites we are doing, site A has the higher priority” then you now have a clear goal. This is about communicating , especially when you are in the weaker party, ask your boss nicely to be more specific. I dont think that anyone wants to hear their boss said something vague like: “i hope you can be more passionate about this job” which means you should work twice as hard and I won’t give you any sort of reward, not even an encouragement. Ask your boss to be specific.

Then you will see what he really means. If he can be specific, I think you should stick with this team. And maybe sacrifice some of your personal time to do the extra work. Remember this, when we just got into a line of work we dont really have many leverages. We cant have the posture of “if you dont pay me 200k a year i wont work for you”. NO, we don’t get to say that.

The worse case is this: your boss has no idea what he is doing. Or he just being mean to you because you are the new comer. Or the whole company shifts their focus a lot. “today we are gonna be the next facebook, tomorrow we are gonna be the next netflix” Or your boss can’t be specific and yet still tells you to be more passionate in the next few months, if any of these things happens, you should think about how long do you have to stay in this company. the mean to the new comer part is quite common, you have to earn your trust, that’s normal. dont worry about that part too much. but all those other things I mentioned is quite important,.

With all that being said, I think you should not pull out right now. Imagine this, in the next interview your interviewer asked you : what happened to this X company you listed on your resume? you’ve only worked there for less than half a year? That will be a bad impression. I think you should avoid this kind of situation, unless something really bad happened in your previous job (like you got scammed or sth idk)

Yep thats exactly what is going on, it happens a lot with startups

The links you put look fine. I have found that working in small teams, 10 or less, are absolute nightmares. They have to take many projects to have an income and EVERYTHING is high stress and has to be done NOW.

You should avoid situations like that until you are more experienced and have the knowledge to work under that type of brutal work environment. When you first start out, work with larger teams (also look into remote work) and that should keep your stress level and responsibilities down.

I had that type of work environment when I first started also. I ended up hating those types of jobs and quite a few. I gave up for awhile but still found myself coding for fun
because I truly love being a developer. I just realized that I didn’t want to work in that
type of environment again, or ever.

I am in the process of moving into freelancing right now. I have done a few projects remotely with some of them in different countries. I had a much better experience and my stress was gone. That would be my advice.

Don’t ever get discouraged about anything if it’s the work environment that bothers you. Just keep trying different jobs or do what I do and freelance from project to project, and work for many different people.

You coding looks fine, so don’t get discouraged. If you don’t like a work environment, leave. There is lots of work out there if you hunt for it. Good luck!

1 Like

I was in your same situation about 1 and half years ago. It was my first Developer job and I felt overwhelmed. I was desperate and thought that maybe being a Software Developer was not something for me.
The thing that kept me from giving up was my passion. No matter how difficult and demanding, developing software was the most interesting thing I’ve done in my career! Even today I have some “hard” days, in which nothing seems to work, but compared to the boredom I felt when I had other kinds of jobs they’re so much more fun

1 Like

@zhouxiang19910319 @geekysmurf @cisd260036 @alodavi

Sorry to reply you all at once, but thank you for all of your advices! I feel a sense of relief.

Yeah, these start-up environment are quite stressful and the deadlines are all need “IMMEDIATELY”. All are too stressful for just a beginner like me. I just cannot imagine how the deadlines would be so tight when I accpet this offer.

I think I understand my situation now and will try to find bigger teams in the future (with more practices).

You guys are the best, appreciate all of your opinions and comments! :slight_smile: