Software projects succeed or fail based on the quality of the teams behind them. Expert developers can be hard to find. So how do you get junior developers to level up? It’s not enough to teach how to use a framework or tech stack. Good developers can follow a pattern. Great developers know why patterns are established and how to improve the project as it grows.

Ways to level up your dev team

A lot of developers can benefit from coaching. Yes, recent college or boot camp graduates will likely need help integrating into real-world work, but anyone onboarding to a project with less than a few years of experience should be considered for additional support. The best candidates for coaching are developers who frequently require help but are eager to learn. Established projects with a high number of junior developers should also consider a broader training plan to maintain the health of the project and invest in team productivity.

Some approaches for coaching include:

  • Teach skills, not just technologies
    • Improve code literacy
    • Know when to break the rules
    • Developers are Human
    • Use processes that support growth
  • Consider coaching structure
    • Training Sessions
    • Paired Programming
    • Treat people with respect

To read more about these approaches, check out my full post on the SitPen blog.

Most software teams underutilize their greenest members. Growth takes time, but a little investment in fundamentals and hands-on training can empower junior developers to become highly productive members of the team. Instead of seeing who sinks or swims when thrown into a complex project, give people the tools to get curious about the code, understand why decisions were made, and get regular feedback so they can grow. Knowledge sharing can happen in PRs, team discussions, and one-on-one pair programming sessions. If done with empathy and respect, you may be surprised by who’s leveling up your team next year.