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How do you reward junior devs that are kicking ass?

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This question originally came from:

I figure I'd get your guys and girls opinion:

Enlighten us with your experiences: past, present, future.


  • How would you have wanted to be rewarded?


  • How would you like to be rewarded right now?


  • How would you like to be rewarded in your first/next job?

Thanks in advance!

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You should reward junior devs who are kicking ass with more challenging and complex but rewarding work and on top of that supporting them to succeed on that new work. Too many managers or leads just pat you on the back and say 'good job' keep doing what you're doing. That's not helpful nor satisfying. The best reward is not an end state but a continuous state, a reward of growth trajectory, be it compensation, responsibility, career and/or knowledge. Human beings feel the best during the growth period not when they reached their goal.


I like that: let's focus on the path/journey rather than end results/goals.

I'd say hearing: "hey, you did a good job on X" is still good to hear regardless.

  • Acknowledge that they are hitting all the checkmarks—even if describing them is vague.
  • Ask about what's still stressing them out and ensure that is normal.

I like that second point.

Sometimes we need re-assurance, especially at the beginning of any journey.

Negative thoughts can take over:

  • (Self doubt) Am I cut out to be a developer?
  • (Lack of feedback) What am I doing right?
  • (Self-criticism) Am I stupid for not solving that bug really fast?
  • (Comparison) Why can I get it as fast as my co-worker?
  • (Fear)I can't ask that question, I'll look dumb and my peers might tell less

Appreciate and acknowledge their work in front of the whole team.
Present with a anything technical book / gadget / coupon to an online course if anyone is in your team's budget.

In personal one-to-one discussions:

  • Ask what's their career goals (short and long term), try if you can help them at least in their short term goals.
  • Ask them what would they like to work on, try to align if its possible in your team's roadmap.
  • As mentioned by others, remove any obstacles hindering their work.
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Jose Gonzalez profile image
Software Efficiencier | ENFP-T | #goofyreligion member | FP enthusiast | Life is an adventure :)