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Discussion on: Onboarding a junior developer to your team? Here's 12 tips.

jdmarshall profile image
Jason Marshall • Edited

While this is true of any dev, it's double true of junior devs:

The first weeks, they are going to be anxious to do something - anything - of value. If your code base is particularly complex, this will be difficult. But one thing a team can always use is perspective, and that is easiest to get from a new person.

For years, my go-to task for week one was for the new person to improve the Wiki. Find all of the bugs in our setup docs. Define all of the jargon words we forgot to define. That's all defensibly useful for hiring the next person, which is great, but other than a sense of accomplishment, it doesn't help this person all that much.

In communication or teaching, you want the listener to repeat back what you've just said in order to determine if they actually heard you. Have them work on the high-level overview of the system. Everything they get right, is explained without a bunch of circular reasoning. Everything they get wrong is a teachable moment. And every good teacher knows that they learn as much in the teaching as the student does in the learning. Often this is a good way to find missed features, or solutions to problems you thought unfixable.

v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

But one thing a team can always use is perspective, and that is easiest to get from a new person.

I'd always suspected this, but this is the first time I've read it written by someone else.

stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

Developer experience is no different than user experience in this regard. You don't know how many assumptions you assume you're not making, and only outside feedback and the more than occasional ELI5 request (see? I just used an acronym assuming everyone on Dev would know it... That's "Explain Like I'm 5" for those who didn't) can help to undo those assumptions.