New development hires have a lot to offer a company — as long as they can integrate quickly and well into their new team.
For developers right out of school, pairing them with an experienced engineer and immediately starting them on a tough project are greatways to get them quickly up to speed. Below, 11 technology executives from Forbes Technology Council offer other best practices for training anewly graduated developer.
1. A Sink or Swim Approach
Trust that they have what it takes to step up and do what’s needed. If not, then revisit your screening and interviewing process. Mentorship and training all sound great, but if you’re a startup, you need people to produce from day one. Help them get set up, explain what needs to be done, brainstorm together on how to best do it, point at the firm due date, and cut them loose. Let them impress you. – Ashley Saddul, Recruiter.com
2. The Buddy System
Find experienced engineers on the existing team with the patience to take new developers under their wing. Putting the training developers on projects that are slightly outside of their comfort zone can really help mature them quickly. – Marcin Kleczynski, Malwarebytes
3. Apprenticeship and Milestones With Escalating Complexity
Development is a craft: create a one-to-one apprenticeship. It takes experience to break a problem into parts and architect holistically. Newbies know the tools but not how to wield them strategically. Take a simple project and set milestones of escalating complexity. Give enough autonomy to try and fail, but check in regularly and help. Allow momentum to build through small wins and grow their confidence. – Dmitry Koltunov, ALICE
4. On the Job Training
Put them into practice, give them a project with a real problem to solve, and a product requirement to implement. Don’t start with theoretical training; I find it less effective. Mentor them, make them understand the bigger picture view, and make sure what they develop aligns with the end product vision. Orient them with domain and business knowledge. – Bishnu Nayak, FixStream Inc.
5. A Running Start
Get them into a high-performing engineering environment as quickly as possible. Good habits are just as easy to pick up as bad habits, so you may as well have them learn the good ones. If your engineering organization is flooded with bad habits, you’ve got bigger fish to fry. – Danny Boice, Trustify
6. A Basics-First Approach
There are basic areas you must tackle in order to create a great foundation: project planning, code structure and collaborative working. It is paramount that you devote some part of your training program into strengthening these basic concepts; by doing so, you will obtain better results on additional technical training down the road. – Jose Giammattei, Applaudo Studios
7. A Peer and Mentorship Program
Key puzzle pieces for training new developers are having a great curriculum, online training and classroom activities. But you need a keystone to bond it all together. A mentorship program becomes extremely effective in doing so. Pair the new developer with a tenured developer and set objectives for both. The relationship will make them grow rather quickly on both the tech and mentorship sides. – Darwin Romero, Applaudo Studios
8. Teach, Trust, Critique and Repeat
Get them used to working with your team right away. Familiarize them with how your team operates and common tools that are used. Start them out with small tasks, then increase difficulty and responsibility as they successfully complete them. Repetition will be key here. Pair programming could also be used to get them up to speed quickly. This can be applied to interns as well. – Chalmers Brown, Due
9. Work Tech Support for 3-6 Months
I had this experience with my first job after college, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. I got a better appreciation for how the customer uses the product as well as an idea for the problems I would need to tackle. I suggest this approach for other departments within a company as well, as it allows you to hear and serve the customers for the long term in your tenure with a company. – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot
10. Small Scope, Big Challenges
The best approach is to start with a decent size challenge where they can work mostly independently but will need to interface with others on the team. Keep the scope small (time, project size, impact on other aspects of the project) and keep the challenge high. Make sure your door is open and check in often enough to what issues they are currently facing while giving them plenty of space. – Davin Sufer, WowWee Group Ltd
11. A Consistent Curriculum
When we are hiring developers straight out of school, we’re generally looking for people who know how to learn, but not necessarily have the exact skill-set we need. We have a standard set of training projects that teach the particular development skills we’re looking for. We also partner new employees with a mentor who can provide guidance and code-reviews during the training period. – Noah Gedrich, BLITZ