Five Benefits from Hiring Junior Developers for Your Project

A growing company sooner or later comes to a stage when it needs to hire more staff. It is, in most cases, a very good thing and a sure sign that the company is doing well and that its prospects are bright and hopeful. Depending on the type of the company, its size and the nature of its business, it selects the most suitable method of extending its think-tank.

According to the book by Professor Laurence Capron and Professor Will Mitchell "Build, Borrow or Buy: Solving the Growth Dilemma", there are three main strategies for organizing a company’s growth:

  • Organic growth (build)
  • Licensing and alliances (borrow)
  • Mergers and Acquisitions (buy)

The book describes the strategies of increasing the company’s assets. However, the same strategies can be applied to the process of extending the human resources which can be considered the greatest asset of any IT company.

If we extrapolate the growth strategies to the human resources area, we will see that they can also describe the basic methods of staff increase:

  • Build – hiring junior professionals and mentoring them to grow into seniors
  • Borrow – out-sourcing tasks to third-party personnel of the corresponding skill level
  • Buy – hiring new middle and senior personnel from the market, sometimes luring them from competitors

Each strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages and the choice is heavily influenced by the company’s nature and the particular human resources situation. For example, if a company is urgently looking for developers for a specific project, it may be wise to “buy” or “borrow” some skilled development power from an outsource company. On the contrary, if there is no serious time pressure and, which is often the case of product development companies, the company develops a more or less consistent line of products, the “build” strategy may become the preferred option.

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Reasons Why Companies Should Hire Junior Developers

For a startup product development company, there are multiple advantages of hiring junior developers. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  1. The chances of hiring a good junior developer are higher than of hiring a good senior developer. Junior software developers may either have no job contract at all or have a contract with a smaller company. In any case, they are more eager and willing to explore new job opportunities than senior developers. Senior developers may be far too used to what they are doing, they are comfortable with their roles and responsibilities in the company, they may be reluctant to change their usual environment and get used to new teams and workflows. Junior developers are more likely to respond to job interview invitations. And, if we are talking about web application development, junior web developers are rather easy to find, as web technologies are a boom nowadays and many young people planning their future careers choose web development as their major.
  2. Hiring junior developers and educating them to become seniors can be more advantageous than hiring a senior developer. You are getting a team member with a basic set of skills sufficient to start working on your product and then, by mentoring and supervising, you guide them to become a senior with deep knowledge and experience of the software you are developing. This approach also has its benefits from the team-building point of view – when junior newcomers grow with the team, they absorb the flows, values, procedures and concepts adopted within the company and fit perfectly among their colleagues.
  3. You can assign some routine tasks, such as process documentation or minor bug fixing, to junior developers. Seniors are often too busy with more important, project-critical tasks, however, everyday jobs are no less essential as they create the foundation of successful development. By charging junior developers with routine tasks, you will give them a chance to get to know the basic procedures applied within the company or a particular team.
  4. By employing junior developers, you bring new knowledge and state-of-the-art technologies into your development flows. IT world changes with every passing day and junior colleagues, fresh from the college, come with the latest knowledge and skillset. In their studies, they certainly did a lot of independent research and practice and are familiar with the advanced trends, current tools and methods. Seniors, although equipped with extensive knowledge and solid experience, are not used to everyday learning and researching and may miss some important news. On the flip side of the coin, if you organize mentoring sessions with senior developers sharing their knowledge with junior colleagues, all participants will benefit from it, as ideas will be exchanged both ways.
  5. And, the last, but definitely not the least, there is the matter of finance. On the average, salaries of junior developers are significantly lower than those of senior ones. Therefore, employing junior staff can be cost-effective, however, you need to carefully balance the cost concerns with the quality considerations.

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How to Ensure Success Both for Young Colleagues and Your Project

As we can see, hiring junior developers has its pros and cons, but at the same time, with the right approach, it can be a brilliant strategy with both the company and the junior colleagues standing to gain. Junior developers can be a unique source of energy bursting with ideas, initiatives and creative thoughts. However, when you decide to invest into the junior staff, remember that you also bear certain responsibility in this case and it is you, the employer, who should take care of creating a healthy environment for young colleagues. Before inviting junior developers to join your company, consider the following:

  • You need to make sure you can offer consistent and effective mentoring of young colleagues. Engage some of your senior staff, always remembering that you should never push mentoring on a person who does not want it. Of course, a senior colleague assigned to mentoring tasks will have to get less development load, and their jobs will have to be distributed between other team members. This may seem a bit difficult at the very beginning, but eventually, you will be rewarded with the contribution your junior web developers make under careful guidance and supervision. And, as we have already mentioned, mentoring is a great opportunity for knowledge sharing where occasional brainstorms may produce fantastic solutions
  • Be prepared to assign important tasks to young colleagues. If you keep them in the playpen, there will be no professional development and growth. At the same time, do not forget about the quality and reliability of your end product and make sure you have enough human resources for thorough code review
  • If you are still in the process of extending your human resources, use your young staff as a source of referrals. They can recommend their friends for open positions and if you hire them, you will create a warm, peaceful and productive climate for your team which will have a positive impact on the overall performance.

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Junior Developers – How to Be Competitive in the Professional Market

And a couple of words to junior developers. There are tons of developer jobs out there, but the competition is fierce, too. So, how can you stand out to attract your future employers?

  • Be proactive. Participate in freelance projects and hackathons, use every chance to show your skills and knowledge
  • Prepare a portfolio. Your CV and portfolio determine the first impression you make on your employer-to-be. Being a junior developer, you probably do not have much of a CV, so make your portfolio speak for you
  • Learn. Your fresh knowledge is your strong suit, so make it even stronger. Follow the latest trends, keep up with the advanced technologies, master new skills
  • Monitor the market. Look up job openings from various companies to get the idea of the skill set required for the position you are looking to get. You may find some gaps in your qualifications which you can either fill by learning or balance with other skills
  • Accept interview offers. Even if you do not get a job, a job interview is still an experience. And, who knows, the company may opt to give you a chance

To sum it up, companies should not be afraid of hiring developers with no experience. This is a unique chance to guide and grow them to get exactly the experience the company needs with an added bonus of young creativity, enthusiasm and ambition. With careful planning, wise task distribution and, of course, cooperation from your experienced colleagues, your investment into junior staff will pay off in spades. After all, senior developers were juniors at some point, too. 

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