Junior Developers

Our development team has decreased in size recently. However the workload has increased. As you can imagine, this is not a good thing. I asked my manager what the most important tasks were. We decided I would work on a big change to the system. My manager asked if it would help if a junior developer assisted. The sad truth was that a junior developer would actually slow down the progress.

Here is the problem. The changes to be done are not well defined. This is due to some problems during the requirements gathering and analysis phase. As such, there needs to be some work done by development before we do the design and implementation. This type of work requires some experience and skills.

A junior developer would not be able to do the analysis required to figure out what to code. It would take more effort to do the analysis and pass that information off to a junior developer to understand and then code. By the time I have completed the analysis phase, the coding will be the easy part for me. All of the details will be in my head. Transferring that to paper or email so that somebody else can understand it takes more effort. It is even harder if that recipient is a junior member of the technical staff.

Part of the problem is that this is a vicious cycle. If the junior people do not get the experience, they will not graduate to more seasoned developers. But you can’t think much about the long term when you have immovable short term deliverables. We are trying to hire some new talent for our team. Luckily the last guy we interviewed was a developer with even more experience than me. I told the boss to hire this guy.