✨ What is this post about: As a part of my professional growth, I make time to watch conference talks on Ruby, Rails, JS, React, tech writing, and tech trivia. Previously, I'd just watch them but now I will take and publish notes for future reference. This talk was a part of RailsConf 2021 that I'm participating at the time of writing.
✨ Talk: 'Hosting: "Junior" Devs are the Solution to Many of Your Problems' by Josh Thompson
✨ One-sentence summary: Early-career Software Developers, or ECSDs, have incredible value if their team/company/manager doesn't "lock themselves out" of accessing this value. Whoever figures out how to embrace the value of ECSDs will outperform their cohort. 📈💰🤗
✨ Impression: I'm so glad that Josh has shared the slides and papers on his website for us to peruse because, sadly, the talk was a bit chaotic and difficult to follow.
- myth: "Junior devs take too long to onboard" (3-6 months)
- everyone takes a long time to onboard if you don't have a smooth onboarding process
- 3-6 months sounds like a guess-game
- New devs suffer from the impostor syndrome and want to feel that they are bringing meaningful contributions
- Involve experienced devs working with Entry Career Software Devs:
- increases the capacity of the entire team
- upfront investment but a meaningful return
When planning the onboarding experience:
- what needs to happen between them getting access to GitHub and setting up their env AND them getting a ticket?
- maybe there are some talk suggestions?
- maybe you can record an application demo + embed it in your wiki?
- is there a feature that involves crucial parts of the application that the person can rebuild (using git log)?
- Example of a roadmap to improving the Early Career Software Developer onboarding:
- Create a ticket to make the effort legible
- Experienced Eng does set-up from scratch "as soon as possible"
- Next hire, the same engineer sits with the new eng while working through that guide
- Update the doc
- Go hire ECSD, same eng repeats the process with the ECSD
- Measure the process:
- what's measured gets managed
- you will be improving this process because you're attentive to that
- report during the stand-ups
How to get the organization to hire more juniors:
- get folks to agree that there is a problem
- show that much of the tasks already performed anyway
- show the cost-benefit of the solution
- present metrics of success