Associate developer onboarding program
Here’s a quick summation of why you should consider an associate developer onboarding program:
- Everyone wants to hire senior developers but there are only so many available
- Juniors have difficulty finding their first job in a prepared and supportive workplace
- Many development teams are top heavy and monocultural
- Having a diverse team is proven to lead to more innovative and successful products with better experience for their users
For more specifics, read Elle’s post on her work with the Qantas Hotels Engineering Academy and her write-up of a conference talk on starting your own.
Elle joined Qantas Hotels to help us establish what is becoming a very successful Engineering Academy. The process of assessing needs then designing and delivering the programme was incredibly thorough; from the interview process to the thoughtful curriculum which is tailored for Qantas Hotels and is full of sound engineering principles and practices.
As well as excellent attention to detail, quality of work and communication, the most surprising thing about working with Elle and Blackmill are the benefits you get in addition to the stated project or programme. In our case this was a modelled interview process designed to be inclusive and objective but also efficient.
I highly recommend working with Elle and Blackmill and would be happy to expand on this recommendation in person.Stu Liston , Head of Engineering at Qantas Hotels
- Remove the fear of hiring a junior
- Have a larger pool of candidates to choose from
- Invest in diversifying the team
- Grow and retain mid-level developers
- Save the costs of hiring a senior
- Reduce the senior dev time needed to train juniors
- Gain reliable well-trained developers that know how the team and company works, and feel loyal to the company for investing in them
- Diversify the engineering team with regards to gender, background, and experience
- Introduce fresh perspectives and ideas
- Invest in the engineering team and encourage ongoing growth
Who are you?
A company owner or engineering manager at a Ruby and/or Rails shop who wants to build a talent pipeline to grow the company. Senior management support is vital to ensure you spend the time and money consciously.
A small to medium size startup or company, with an engineering team who is dedicated and invested in the success of the program.
An enterprise organisation that is establishing your developer apprenticeship or internship program for graduates or workforce re-skilling.
You have 1-2 mid-level developers who are interested in working with and mentoring juniors. Alternatively, you can either hire a mid-level developer as part of this program, or we can provide our own developer to join your team for three months at an additional cost.
- We work with you and the team to define what success looks like for you and for the new hires.
- You find and hire the candidates you want to work with. Or Lookahead can help. They have worked with us to structure this initiative, and can source the right candidates for you.
- We help the team prepare to welcome and work with the Associate Developers.
- Before they start with the team, we work with the Associate Developers for one week, to introduce common development team workflows.
- Following this week, the new hires are embedded into your development team, and participate in usual team practices and development processes. They report to their respective team lead(s).
- We train the Associate Developers for 20% of their work time for 12 weeks.
- Associate Developers attend weekly Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with their team leads. They also have weekly personal one-on-ones with their team leads to ensure they are on track based on their learning and development goals.
- We have regular check-ins with the engineering manager to ensure the program is going according to plan.
Blackmill works with your associate developers one day a week for three months to cover a mutually agreed curriculum. Here is a Trello board of subjects and materials we have covered in the past. The mid-level developers will serve as mentors and pairs for the Associate Developers. Their relatively recent history as new developers themselves helps them identify and solve common problems easily.
- Hire 2-4 junior developers
- Have, hire, or contract 1-2 mid-level developers as mentors during the week
- Mentors: 60% time for three months for pairing and mentoring
- Team lead: 10% for three months for AMA sessions and one-on-ones
- Engineering manager: 5% for three months to keep track and up to date with the program
Training fee to Blackmill of 20% annual salary of the Associate Developers
This program adds up to four competent loyal developers to your team at a comparable cost to headhunting a single senior developer. It diversifies your team and improves retention. The structure shapes your development team environment to be more supportive for new developers, mitigates the costs of integrating them, and lets everyone do better work, write better code, and create better products.