In November of 2015, I was hired by RocketBuild as a junior developer. I was the only junior dev on the team and RocketBuild is my first development job. RocketBuild has since hired a second junior developer, and through my own experience and watching that onboarding, I’ve learned a lot about how junior developers fit into an organization.
A good junior developer will join your organization ready to learn and improve. They often come without bias or preconceived notions. Teaching them how your dev team does things will yield a great asset for your company. I believe they can strengthen your team on day one in a number of ways.
The greatest gift an inexperienced developer brings is the ability to identify weaknesses in documentation and process. As a development partner to many creative agencies, RocketBuild is regularly starting new projects in a variety of languages and frameworks. Naturally, we’ve developed our own way of setting up projects, blending industry best practices with the specific needs of our partners and their clients. Having the process well documented makes getting projects up and running easier, and a new developer can show you where things aren’t being explained well enough. If a technically minded person can’t set up new project using your documentation, it probably needs some work.
Junior developers also offer senior developers a chance to teach what they know and possibly help themselves understand the material better in the process. Einstein is credited with saying “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Teaching people is a great way to force yourself to understand a topic on a deeper level. Having senior developers regularly explaining their work to newer developers will ensure they don’t forget the basics.
Hiring the right people is crucial for every organization. It’s easy to assume hiring all senior developers is the best way to build a strong development team, but I encourage every company to consider the benefits of junior developers, and as always, hire the person, not the position. Junior developers strengthen teams by bringing a fresh viewpoint, and giving teaching opportunities to their more senior counterparts. The company gets someone who is eager and hungry to learn, and the junior dev gets an opportunity to learn and grow.