Starting a new job as a developer can be both exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, you're eager to dive into new projects and contribute to your team's success. On the other hand, you may be faced with unfamiliar tools, processes, and codebases that can make it challenging to get up to speed quickly. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure a smooth onboarding process and become a productive member of your team. In this post, I'll share seven golden tips to help you onboard quickly and effectively as a new developer.
Once I remember a new team mate joined to our team and he was overly eager or willing to sacrifice everything for the company. It's important to maintain a professional demeanour and behave as you normally would, while also taking the time to observe and understand the workplace culture. Don't compromise your values or integrity in order to fit in.
Now, let's go through the steps:
After starting your new job, you may feel the desire to quickly impress your colleagues by making significant contributions. However, it is advisable to start with small actions to facilitate the transition and make a positive first impression.
Focusing on smaller contributions can also have a positive impact on your self-esteem. By setting achievable goals and accomplishing them, you can build confidence and a sense of accomplishment. In contrast, attempting large and complex projects right away can lead to feeling overwhelmed and discouraged if you are not able to complete them. It is important to remember that success is often built upon a series of smaller achievements that ultimately lead to bigger accomplishments. By taking a step-by-step approach, you can not only make a positive impression on your colleagues but also build your own self-confidence and sense of competence.
Look for documentation
It is important to familiarize yourself with the project and its objectives before diving into coding. To achieve this, you should request any relevant documentation or "read me" files that can provide insight into the project's purpose, goals, and overall logic.
Coding without a clear understanding of the project can lead to confusion, and mistakes, and potentially result in an ineffective or inefficient solution. By taking the time to learn about the project before writing code, you can ensure that your contributions align with the team's goals and expectations.
Furthermore, familiarizing yourself with the project can provide a better sense of the bigger picture and help you identify potential areas for improvement or optimization. Additionally, it can help you identify potential challenges or roadblocks early on, allowing you to plan accordingly and avoid costly mistakes later on. Overall, investing time in understanding the project can ultimately lead to better outcomes and a more efficient development process.
Ask for help
If you find yourself stuck on a task or problem, it is important to ask for help rather than trying to solve it alone. There is no shame in asking for assistance, even if the question seems basic or trivial. Remember that your colleagues are also developers and understand that nobody is perfect.
By seeking help when needed, you can avoid prolonging the work and potentially compromising its quality. Attempting to work through an issue on your own for an extended period of time can lead to frustration, decreased productivity, and ultimately impact your performance. On the other hand, reaching out to others for assistance can not only help you overcome the obstacle more efficiently but also provide an opportunity for collaboration and learning. Remember, teamwork and communication are essential for success in any project or workplace.
One of my coworkers chose to set up the GCP project independently, taking approximately two months to complete and resulting in a loss of trust from the team due to the delayed delivery. Asking for a help is not a sign of weakness or shame, but rather a way to build team-oriented mindset and enhance overall productivity.
Speak up in meetings
When joining a team, it is important to share any relevant ideas or experiences, even if they may seem unrelated or basic. By remaining silent, you are not contributing any value to the company and are merely a passive recipient. Remember that everyone brings their own unique perspective and skill set to the table, and sharing your thoughts can lead to valuable insights and solutions.
It is important to note that even seemingly simple solutions can make a significant difference, as demonstrated by the anecdote about Elon Musk and the gas tank during an interview. By sharing your ideas, you can contribute to a culture of innovation and problem-solving within the company. Additionally, speaking up and contributing to discussions can help you establish yourself as an engaged and valuable member of the team.
During the initial months of my job, I remained quiet in meetings as I believed that I lacked sufficient knowledge regarding the business logic to contribute or pose questions. Unfortunately, this approach resulted in me becoming a mere recipient and not adding significant value to the company.
Rather than solely focusing on an individual project, it can be beneficial to take a step back and view the entire system as a whole. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of how different services communicate with one another and how they contribute to the overall functioning of the system.
Having a "bird's eye view" of the system can provide valuable context and insight into how your specific project fits into the larger picture. This can help you identify potential issues or opportunities for optimization that may not have been apparent with a narrower focus.
Additionally, understanding the larger system can help you communicate more effectively with your team members and stakeholders. You will be better equipped to explain how your project fits into the overall system and how it may impact other services. This can lead to better collaboration, more informed decision-making, and ultimately better outcomes for the project and the organization as a whole.
Debug the code
One of the most effective ways to quickly adapt to a new codebase is by running it on your local machine and debugging it using specific scenarios. This approach allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the code and how it works, as well as identify any potential errors or issues. It also enables you to experiment with the code and make modifications that align with the project's objectives. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with the codebase and actively engaging with it, you'll be able to contribute more effectively to the team and the project overall.
I prefer to run docker containers and set up debug configurations (launch.json) and start testing a few scenarios to see the lifecycle of the process. Also, go through unit tests to understand what are the expected results.
Take your time and do not become overly stressed or anxious about it. Your team understands that it will take some time for you to become fully integrated into the project, and they are likely to provide you with the necessary support and guidance to help you get up to speed. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, try to embrace the onboarding process as an opportunity to learn and grow as a developer. Take advantage of any training or resources that are available to you, and don't hesitate to ask for help or clarification when you need it. With time and effort, you'll be able to build your confidence and expertise and become a valuable member of the team.