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Cover image for Should a Junior Developer start with a remote job?

Should a Junior Developer start with a remote job?

chrisvasqm profile image Christian Vasquez ・1 min read

I've been asking myself this question a lot recently. I'll be looking for a Junior Android Developer position in the near future and I'm really tempted by the option of finding a remote position. But having a mentor close by is really important for me at this stage.

Some people have told me that being remote shouldn't be a problem, as long as the company promotes a lot of communication online via chat, email and video calls to encourage engagement between seniors and juniors along with code reviews and pair programming.

What are your thoughts on this, Mr./Mrs Reader?

Discussion

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Thanks a lot for these tips Jag! It sure brings some light to my situation :)

 
 

Hi! I worked remote when I was a junior developer. I think this hindered my growth in a number of ways and I would strongly recommend against it. I consider some of those years lost and think I could have advanced much faster in an on-site role.

It's already hard enough as a junior to have the courage to ask as many questions as you need to ask. Remote puts another obstacle up in front of that. Even though there are great remote collaboration tools now like chat and video calls, it is still harder to read tone of voice, body language, etc. It is also harder to design something together, since you can't both go stand at a whiteboard together and throw ideas at each other and draw in new functionality. I also can say from experience that it's easier for you to be "out of sight out of mind" to your other team members.

Finally, I would definitely consider the value of fun and play in a workplace. It's much easier to work with people when you occasionally grab lunch with them, play ping pong, foosball, or whatever together, and even just hear about their lives outside of work in the spaces between heads-down time (such as when code is compiling, integration tests are running, or whatever).

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Scott :D

It's much easier to work with people when you occasionally grab lunch with them, play ping pong, foosball, or whatever together, and even just hear about their lives outside of work in the spaces between heads-down time (such as when code is compiling, integration tests are running, or whatever).

In my current job I feel this is one the strongest things they have. Everyone is super nice and we can talk about personal things openly. In fact, our team leader is one of the coolest dudes I've ever met!

 

I worked remotely for my first developer job and it was pretty difficult and ended badly for me. No matter how open and friendly the more senior devs were, it's always more difficult to ask for help via chat or however. One of the biggest ways I learn now is from listening to the more senior devs on my team talk to eachother, work problems out, and code review with them. I would end up working 70-80 hours a week to make up for my shortcomings rather than ask to be walked through something difficult or new.

Being a junior developer, you may also never get to sit in on the code review for the senior dev's work because you would have to be explicitly invited to whatever chat they use for it since it's remote. In an office, you're hopefully sitting next to the other devs while they code review, and it's also easier to just turn to the right and have someone to bounce stuff off of, or who will ask how it's going when you seem stuck. It makes a huge difference.

 

Thanks for sharing your story, shanekurr!

 

Well, it is not the same experience for everyone, but I can say that it works for junior's, but it depends entirely on the company and its culture. You should study the company before. Many say they are remote, but they are not. I am a junior developer and I work for a startup with half of the devs working remotely and we work very well. I only go to the office once a week, for example, but I don't have to.

We do pair programming every day (this is usually a good sign that the company is good for junior's) and Code Review. Some of my colleagues even say that, from their previous experiences, working remotely is more productive and the teams communicate better. So, I recommend, especially because having the experience of working remotely is definitely becoming a very important skill.

Good luck!