Junior Developer Help

Our application suite uses a third party grid to display all our spreadsheet. Recently we decided to upgrade to the latest version of this product. So our team lead got us an evaluation copy of the product. I installed it on my computer, used the third party’s make file, and built the libraries we need for our project. It took a while to modify our code to use the conventions from the latest version. But we got everything working and sent our application suite to internal testing.

It took forever for our customer to procure the real version of the grid we use. Now our team had an action item to make sure our software works with the official copy of the software the client bought. I think the real copy is the same version of the product. However we needed to use the code from the real version to be sure. So a junior developer on our team got assigned this task. There was just one problem. She had no idea on what to do.

My team lead told her to get help from me. So I explained how our application uses the header, library, and DLL files from the third party tool. I gave her some pointers on what to look for in the product documentation on how to build the libraries. I suggested the newbie first ensure she could be our existing application. Even that task proved to be too much. I felt sorry for this girl. She started off as a tester. Then she got into a little back end database programming. But she is not a C++ developer. Thus there is a lot of pain for her with this task.

I can recall back when I started working straight out of school. Even though I knew enough to obtain a college degree, I really did not know anything about software development. I had to have people hold my hand until I learned how to walk. So I figure I should give back and do the same. The problem here is that I have a lot of tasks on my plate. And the work the junior developer needs to get done also needs to be completed soon. What is a good way to strike a balance here? It might be time to talk with the management here.

This is one of the reasons why I insist we always hire seasoned developers for our project that have specific experience in the technologies we use. It is hard enough to learn the complicated business rules of our customer. If you also need to learn the technology, you are not going to be able to pull your weight on the team. Sorry young bucks. We are not going to be able to train you this time around.