The onboarding experience sets the tone for a new developer, and it is crucial in shaping the developer’s first impression of the company and the job. A well-designed onboarding process should provide the developer with all the necessary tools and information to be successful and autonomous in their role. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the most important steps to successfully onboard a developer.
Before creating your onboarding process, it is important to reflect on your own experiences as a new employee. Remembering how overwhelming the first few days can be and how much you had to learn can help identify areas that need more structure in the onboarding process. A comprehensive onboarding process not only empowers new employees but also improves employee retention, leading to smoother growth for the organization.
The first step in creating a successful developer onboarding process is setting goals and working backwards. To determine what should be included in the process, you need to know what you want the developer to accomplish by the end of the onboarding period. For example, should the employee be handling tickets, contributing to the architecture, or pushing code by the end of the process? It is also important to consider the complexity of the code and the anticipated timeframe for the goal to be achieved.
Once you have an outcome and timeframe in mind, you can plot out each phase of the onboarding process by working backwards. Setting discrete goals for each day will help maintain structure and enable the developer to see their progress along the way. For example, the goal for day one could be to work through hiring documents and request access to platforms, while the goal for day three could be pushing a line of code or tackling a mock ticket. The size of the organization should also be taken into account when planning activities and training sessions.
During the first few days of onboarding, it is important to make the new developer feel welcome, especially if they’ll be working remotely. On the first day, the developer should have an introduction call with their team members and manager. This is a great opportunity to break the ice and get to know one another before the standup meeting. A casual, 30-minute call can also provide the developer with a sense of what the rest of the day and training period will look like. In addition to the intro call, it is a good idea to set up a few one-to-one meetings throughout the first week between the new developer and individual team members. These meetings allow for general questions to be asked and for experienced team members to share their expertise.
Managers should also schedule regular check-in meetings with the new developer during the first few weeks. These check-ins can be two or three times a week before scaling back to once-a-week meetings. This gives managers the opportunity to gauge how the developer is adapting to the company and what their working style is like. With smaller teams, these one-on-ones can significantly increase productivity.
Knowledge transfer sessions are a crucial part of the onboarding process, as they provide the developer with a comprehensive understanding of the codebase and product. During these sessions, the developer can meet with other teams and project managers to gain a better understanding of their role, clients’ expectations, and the product and features. Fellow developers can provide context about the codebase, which can help the new team member make connections and have small epiphanies when coding. Knowledge transfer sessions not only orient the new team member as a developer but also as a member of the company.
A great way to streamline your developer onboarding process and ensure it's effective is to use a top-notch Developer Portal like Cortex. Cortex is a platform that helps to drive time-to-value and increase your return on investment by making the onboarding process smoother and more efficient. With Cortex, you'll have access to all the tools and information you need to onboard your new developer quickly and effectively. The platform also provides a range of resources, including training sessions, check-ins, and knowledge transfer sessions, to help ensure your new hire gets up to speed as fast as possible. By using Cortex, you'll be able to set your new developer up for success, while also reducing the amount of time and effort required from your existing team.
In conclusion, a well-designed onboarding process is essential for the success and autonomy of new developers. By setting goals and working backwards, setting up meetings, and providing knowledge