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Are junior devs supposed to contribute to production in their first weeks or month?

Learning how code goes from your precious code editor and into users lives is a critical skill for engineers At All Levels while they onboard into a new job.

Yes. Without a doubt.

Junior developers cannot learn by being isolated from the team, and the most infuriating way in which they get to be isolated is by not being included in day to day team activities. You may be thinking watercooler. I am thinking pushing code and having someone use it.

If we don’t include junior developers in the entire software development lifecycle, we aren’t training them to succeed.

There is no better teacher than shipping.

So if you are a junior developer wondering if pushing code that makes it into production is a reasonable expectation, let me reassure you that it is, and that you should be wary of environments where the code you write isn’t being used.

The company should have enough safety rails to protect junior developers from making terrible mistakes or recovering from them, but other than that, writing code is something we do to achieve a goal, and we cannot achieve the goal of serving users if users don’t get to have the features a junior developer writes, or the bugs they solve.

I advocate for getting a tiny commit into production as early as Day ONE of your new job, but if that isn’t feasible, Week ONE is good enough as a goal.

Learning how code goes from your precious code editor and into users lives is a critical skill for engineers At All Levels while they onboard into a new job.

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