Hiring a junior developer is like planting a young sapling.
At first, it seems small and insignificant compared to the mature trees in the forest. However, with proper care and attention, that sapling has the potential to grow into a strong and healthy tree that stands tall and provides shade for years to come.
Just as a young sapling, a junior developer can become a skilled and knowledgeable professional, uplifting your team and company.
Sounds inspirational and powerful, doesn’t it?! Just wait and see why companies love hiring them and what benefits they bring to the table!
Why do companies hire junior developers?
High cost-effectiveness, fresh perspectives, and a long-term investment mindset are some of the main motives why companies hire junior developers. It’s about the opportunity of growing their teams, building people-first environments, and turning their junior devs into valuable assets they’ll cherish. It’s the dream of having inclusive and dynamic developer teams competitors would die for.
This is a paragraph most business/development analysts would write.
Now, scratch all that. That’s not the real reason why companies hire junior developers, even when there’s some truth to it. But there are also other factors at play here.
- Agility with technical aptitude — Junior developers are like the water in Bruce Lee’s metaphor. Shapeless, formless, and super adaptable in their work. Without rigid habits and workflows, they are a perfect fit for fast-paced environments where the latest tools and tech trends are a must-know.
- High enthusiasm and flexibility — Contributing to the team with eagerness to learn and willingness to work on a variety of projects uplifts the whole workspace. They are like little coding fairies that’ll lift the moods of even the grumpiest senior developers.
- Creative problem-solving without a super-ego — Thinking outside the box with a fresh perspective is in junior devs’ nature. They use their humble and less ego-driven behavior to come up with more unconstrained solutions. The result? A more collaborative and supportive team environment.
- Diverse skill set with loyalty and commitment — Junior developers are always in-tune with the most catchy coding and tech trends, while at the same time having that drive in them to prove themselves within the team and stay long-term with a company that’s taking care of them.
4 benefits junior devs bring to the table
There’s a reason why these soon-to-be jack-of-all software development trades are the most wanted in the software development culture. At Code Power, we’ve found these four benefits junior developers bring to the table that companies absolutely love.
1. Improved company culture
Positive attitude, collaboration, and continuous improvement are the three main virtues of any junior developer. That’s one of the main reasons why companies love hiring them.
But HR be warned: Their energy and optimism are infectious! So much so it turns a dull, brain-drilling work environment into a positive and contributing culture.
You thought having an innovation leader or cultural consultant is necessary for your team? Just hire a junior developer and see how innovation, a culture of continuous growth, and team collaboration skyrockets!
2. Better employee retention
In today’s time, with quiet quitting, great resignation, and quiet hiring on the rise, it’s almost impossible for companies to retain quality talent.
That’s when hiring a junior dev comes into play.
Junior developers are the future cornerstones of any development team. By providing mentorship, training, and opportunities for boosting their career, they’ll become attached to your company like super glue.
What does that mean for the business?
Better cultural fit, loyalty, and extremely low turnover costs — it’s the perfect recipe for having a healthy company environment that ensures a stable and productive workforce.
3. Improved creativity and diversity
It’s a blessing and a curse junior devs have — their unentrenched way of doing things.
Here’s the secret: Junior devs use their diverse background accompanied by a reduced bias towards problem-solving. Without being constrained by workflow boundaries, nothing is stopping them from reaching new heights of innovation and experimentation.
It’s great to reap the benefits of junior dev’s wild experimentation, but why stop there?
Why not go a step further and create a perfect symbiosis between the senior and junior dev you’d see on the Discovery channel? When you have senior team members mentor junior devs, the result is increased curiosity and solution diversity.
Seeing the problem and opportunity through a healthy mentoring lens is how junior developers thrive within the development team.
4. Team morale and succession planning go through the roof!
Junior developers are intuned with challenges and struggles their team members are going through, compared to their “grumpy” seniors. They feel the shared struggles of crunching that project deadline and smell the heavy glooming air of stress in the virtual office.
That’s why junior devs are more empathetic and real builders of supportive teams where the feeling of being valued and supported dominates!
Here’s the big-brain move that’s even better: By investing in junior devs, companies build a pipeline for future leaders within their organization without hiring external unvetted sources.It’s the fire-safe way of having continuity and stability within the team, even if senior devs move to other positions or opportunities.
5 common pitfalls when hiring junior developers
Let’s keep it real: Most companies don’t value their junior devs and approach the hiring process with a short-term mindset. They get stuck with unrealistic expectations, hesitation for mentoring, and a complete lack of investment in training and people.
At the end of the day, they are left wondering why their competitors thrive with their junior developers while they keep jumping in place. A very deep rut of a place.
Here are the five most common pitfalls companies fall into when hiring junior developers:
Put yourself in their shoes: You’re a greedy development company wanting to save lumps of money by hiring a junior dev. Before the first Monday strikes, you dump important projects on their backs without providing the necessary support and guidance.
In the blink of an eye, your overreliance will doom your team and your junior developers, causing notorious developer burnout and frustration.
It’s a development disaster waiting to happen!
2. Failure to integrate junior developers into the team
Junior developers need to feel like part of the group! If your company fails to integrate them into the team and give them opportunities to collaborate, while learning from their senior peers, consider it the final nail in your development team’s coffin.
It’s one of the fastest ways to lose future top talent without ever seeing the true benefits of hiring them in the first place, like collaboration, team culture, innovation, and talent succession plummeting.
Do you think your company can withstand such a costly move?
3. Failure to invest in training and development
“Just give them tasks and projects to do. They’ll learn by doing” – companies with a hidden death wish on their chest.
Junior developers are not tile setters! And even they need frequent training and development to stay in their top league.
The writing is on the wall: Companies that fail to grow their junior developers suck at succession planning and retaining talent. Avoid them like the plague! Companies that do not develop their people skills don’t get to see their new hires becoming the thought leaders of tomorrow.
4. Unrealistic expectations
Just because they have “developers” in the title, that doesn’t mean they know how to code the next Chat-GPT or Bard right out of the bat.
Here’s where companies get it twisted: If they hire junior developers, they believe they have the same skill sets as their senior peers. Leading with such unhealthy bias produces frustrations and disappointment when junior devs don’t perform as TOP Gs.
Consequences? Your company gets a bad rep, because of false virtue signaling and not knowing what it’s really looking for in the talent pool. It’s shooting blanks and hoping to catch a junior developer with senior skill sets.
5. Lack of support and mentorship
Mentorship and junior developers go like peanut butter and jelly. They bond together. Without that connection, there’s no growth, no diverse company culture, and no innovation.
Without providing adequate support and mentorship, be prepared for the hardship of retaining talent and seeing your junior developers walk out of the door faster than they’ve come in.
Hiring junior developers for your team – a great decision
Once a wise senior dev summed it up well: “What distinguishes a good company from a great one is how they treat their junior devs. One focuses on cost-effectiveness and how much they could squeeze out of them. The other sees the potential in their junior devs and how they’ll grow in the long run“.
One plays short games, while the other plans on how to attract, hire and retain junior developers for generations to come.
Guess which one reaps the most benefits?