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Wes Dunn
Wes Dunn

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How do you onboard a new developer?

I feel like joining my team is like walking through a desert

I’m curious...
Having recently become the hiring manager fo my dev team, and not having any documentation around how to get a new developer up to speed, what are some best practices for onboarding a new developer?

I’d love to hear your experiences as a new developer on a team or as a manager bringing on a new developer. What works? What doesn’t work?


Top comments (5)

aurelio profile image
Aurelio • Edited

Good question! Onboarding is sometimes a neglected part of the hiring process.

Things that I think work well:

1) Having a checklist of first-day TODOs.

This can just mean a list of services you need to have access to as a developer. This is helpful for the new hire and the coworkers themselves, so they don't have to think about which accesses he needs. An example is:

Make sure you have access to:

  • Company Github
  • Jira (or the likes)
  • Company email
  • Slack (or the likes)
  • CI service
  • AWS
  • Code quality tools like Code Climate
  • Etc.

I've seen many places where credentials to these services are granted in a somewhat messy/disorganised way. Having a list (with links) to these services helps everyone a lot.

2) Make sure to assign one co-worker as a reference for any question, so the new hire doesn't have to wander around the office or Slack looking for help.

3) Assign a simple task he can accomplish in an easy way. If you do pair programming, that's even better. The goal is mainly to see how the full process of a ticket/PR is handled in the company.

4) Have a 1st week goals list. Of course this is going to be very simple stuff like setting up all accounts, opening your first small PR, check how the coffee is round the corner.

5) If you have a coding challenge that you used to hire him, ask him to review it. Maybe he can come up with a better version or suggest some changes to the existing one. After all, he's in the best position to judge your hiring process. At the same time, make sure that he is not expected to make changes no matter what, but only if he really feels they are needed.

6) This is quite common, but make sure some coworker is taking him for lunch. Some companies do make sure a new hire has lunch with one different co-worker each day. This way he can have some time to introduce in a more laidback way than in a 30 seconds chat midway through a corridor. I find it a really great way to speed things up.

mrwesdunn profile image
Wes Dunn • Edited

Fantastic suggestions! Thanks so much for the reply!

I'm passively in the hunt for 2 full-time devs and just brought on a full-time contractor, hence the questions.

Seeing as the contractor is remote, I have assigned myself for #2.

I have already moved forward with #3 and #4... these suggestions have already been incredibly helpful!

Number #5 and #6 don't totally apply for the contractor, but I am working them into some documentation and process docs that I am working on for future permanent hires we have.

Again, thanks for the great feedback!

gabe profile image

I recently joined the AMP dev team - 5 months or so. Before I even arrived, maybe about a week or two out - one of my coworkers sent me a really detailed email going over what they thought I would be doing my first week and links to the tools/apps/frameworks that they’ve used in the past. I feel like giving me time to prep myself and get a feel for what I’d be doing, even before I started, alieviated a lot of the anxious feelings I would normally have starting out.

mrwesdunn profile image
Wes Dunn


Awesome reply! I am still in the process of looking for full-time "on-site" hires, and I'll definitely be using your positive experience to help inform how we prepare a new hire for their first week(s). Thanks so much for sharing!

gabe profile image

Happy to share! Best of luck in your search