Why Having Junior Developers Can Improve Your Team
Having an all-star team of senior developers to crush your goals and create amazing software sounds like the perfect idea, but it is not. Like all teams, you need to mix talents and perspectives for the best performance. This is where junior developers come in.
A junior developer is an entry-level programmer or software developer with less than two years of experience that assists a development team. Their duties include analyzing technical requirements, writing basic code, fixing bugs or error messages, and collecting user feedback. They play critical roles on any software development team and can make your products shine. Through this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of having junior developers.
Junior Developers are More Familiar with Newer Technologies
Fresh out of a boot camp or school, junior developers bring in a new perspective and are often highly skilled with frontend frameworks. They’ll ask questions about challenges that more senior developers may not have considered. They may also be more familiar with and interested in new technologies depending on the tech stack in use. Advancements in technology happen quickly, and senior developers may be left behind the times with popular trends after a few years.
Junior developers often have greater flexibility than their senior counterparts and are open to learning brand-new technologies. They can be surprisingly skilled at working on new technology projects for clients that want to leverage new and emerging technology in their business.
We All Learn by Teaching
The true test of proving someone fully understands something is for them to be able to explain it to someone else, which couldn’t be truer for software development. This is where the chasm between ability and years of experience can collapse. There can be a big difference between how junior and senior developers approach tasks, leading to tension or a great working relationship. It all depends on the communication and expectations between the two groups.
Senior developers have usually been in the field longer and have more experience. They may be looked up to by junior developers but are sometimes seen as difficult to work with because they expect things to be done their way. However, they can also be a great resource for knowledge and mentorship. Junior developers are newer to the field and still learning the ropes. They may not have as much experience, but they can bring new perspectives, skillsets, and ideas to the table. They may also be more open to change than senior developers.
It’s helpful to have senior developers teach junior ones to solidify their core skills and understanding of procedures and processes. Teaching also helps senior developers take a fresh look at what they are doing and why. Sometimes the simple act of saying something out loud provides a new perspective. They can also be instrumental in teaching senior developers about new approaches and technologies, leading to two-way growth. Communication is key to a good working relationship between junior and senior developers. Both groups need to understand each other’s expectations and need to learn to work together effectively.
Forces Discipline on the Team
In every project involving a mix of junior and senior developers, a few junior ones always teach the more experienced developers a thing or two. It might be because they’re more in touch with the latest trends or better at following best practices. In any case, junior developers can be a force for good in keeping a development team disciplined.
Junior developers can also be more conscientious about following coding conventions and best practices. They’ve been taught this from the start, so it’s second nature. This can be a good reminder for the more experienced developers who might have been tempted to be lax in their habits when the pressure is high. Secondly, junior developers tend to be less opinionated about how things should be done.
Senior developers may be able to work around small issues given their skill set, but these issues may come back to haunt project teams later and prevent scaling. Junior developers often call out these methods during meetings out of ignorance, reinforcing discipline and providing a teaching moment. Senior developers are forced to rationalize approaches and decisions to someone else, making them think twice about why something is right or wrong.
Gives a Jolt of Enthusiasm to the Team
Junior developers are excited and eager to get even more coding experience. This enthusiasm can be infectious and remind senior developers why they started coding. Having juniors on the team to oversee and mentor also reminds the seniors of their value, helps prompt them to stay current in their skills, and emphases the value of relationships in a successful agile team. Allowing juniors to work on more than basic tasks provides autonomy and integrates them fully into the team. The idea of having a sprint ready is for the team to pick up work as they can and self-organize. Giving juniors the opportunity to select what they’ll be working on tells them they are an important part of the team. Once they feel like they are true team members, they will let their talents shine and spread enthusiasm.
What Is Your Team Composition?
It is important to evaluate team composition from this perspective, to balance senior developers’ diversified experience and aptitude with the enthusiasm and flexibility of junior ones. The lower cost of juniors makes this strategy even more efficient. A Team composition with junior and senior developers gives the customer a blended rate bringing down the cost of development while still having a quality, productive team. Striking the appropriate balance will guarantee you create an all-star team at an optimal price.