When tech recruiters look for talent who best match their job openings, it is almost certain that they are after the seasoned and experienced ones in the field. We seldom hear companies, especially startups, chasing after junior developers. They need to consider the company’s ability and bandwidth for onboarding and training new team members, so they tend to opt for senior developers. While the talent pool size of the “experienced” developers is always limited, there are new tech talent trying to enter a career in tech every year. Is there no hope for these junior developers to pursue career opportunities with startups?
It turns out, given the proper mentoring, junior developers and tech talent fresh out of school can excel in a startup environment, too. In this blog, we will discuss how a startup demonstrated this. We had a chance to interview Socedo’s co-founder and CTO, Kevin Yu, to see how he has built an engineering team with new and talented developers, even at an early stage of his startup.
Kevin and his team successfully delivered Socedo’s demand generation platform, fueling the company’s success and growth over the past five years. With his help, we’ll now share with you 4 ways your junior developers can be your advantage at startups.
1. Find the talented and motivated.
Kevin pointed out that, at the early stage of startup, you need to pay attention to hiring the doers. How do you know that they are doers? Look for passionate learners with good fundamentals. Many junior developers are very self-motivated, full of enthusiasm, and wanting to prove themselves. They can bring a lot of value to the team.
2. Junior Developers can be consistent and reliable, too.
In Kevin’s book, a strong engineering team is reliable and consistent. These characteristics can be found in junior developers, too. Although still early in their career, they can be very dedicated and passionate about the product and the customer they are serving. Their hard work, ability to learn and apply quickly, and discipline to get things done are irreplaceable by experience.
3. Give them a boost with on-the-job and online learning.
Socedo, in its practice, encourages and promotes a learning culture in its engineering team. One way for Socedo’s team to pick up new technologies is to have someone dig deep, spending a month or two to look into the new frameworks or platforms. This person would then go into multiple reviews with an architect and/or the CTO, and share the learning and knowledge with the whole team to bring them up to speed.
For new technologies with smaller scopes, all of the team members would spend a couple of days going through online tutorials and ramp everyone up at once. Their success in moving from Backbone to Angular 2 within two days was a great example.
4. Junior engineers do not limit their talent (and effort) to only one expertise.
One of the reasons experienced developers leave their big company job and choose to work for startups is because they want to perform with greater flexibility. They want to do things they haven’t tried. They don’t want their talents contained in one aspect of the project.
Junior engineers are not at all different. Startups allow them to explore their skills in different areas of the project. The work tends to be full stack and flexible.
While still early in their career, junior engineers can be good generalists. As the company grows, some of these generalists pick up their own specialties or the company would recruit senior developers in specific areas, such as machine learning or A.I. But until then, make the most of your motivated generalists, who will grow their experience and retain knowledge in your company.
While there are many reasons for companies, especially small startups, to pursue the seasoned and more experienced developers, we should keep in mind that junior, dedicated tech talent are eager and ready to prove themselves. It will not be long before these junior developers see their names in their companies’ list of assets.