Hi, everyone! How's it going?
I spent some quality time this week writing scripts for my upcoming YouTube videos, and I cannot wait to share them with you all! This new video series will be all about new developers diving into the marketplace, from jumping into a new code base to onboarding a new company.
With that in mind, let's talk about habits to adopt within your first few weeks into a new job that will help your adaptation process and catch up on the work to be done.
#1: My top one recommendation is to ask a lot of questions and document everything about the codebase, onboarding process, and the business jargon. Writing things down will help you be able to review and make associations to better learn as well as provide a valuable resource for the company to improve their onboarding process.
#2: Jump into the codebase slowly. They will probably have you start by going over some initial documentation or setup instructions to get your dev environment up and running. After that, it's important to start playing around with the codebase on your own. Some people get really stressed out when they see a large codebase and don't know where to start. Just take a deep breath, you don't have to understand it all at once, but you should have a strategy for how to tackle learning it.
I like to start by going through any test cases they and then start working through files line by line to understand what's going on. I take notes on associations between different modules or data structures and anything I don't understand so I can bring it up with whoever is onboarding me later (it's usually better not to ask each question individually, but group them together to be more efficient and respectful of the other developer's time). Writing documentation for yourself is a great way to learn and can often turn into something useful for the team at the same time.
#3: Make sure you have some easy tasks that will let you start contributing within the first few weeks at the new company. If your first task is too big or ambiguous to start with, then bring it up right away so the task can be better documented, broken down, or replaced with another one that will be better for you starting out. Some companies don't have solid onboarding processes so they might not realize that the task isn't right for a new hire. You should really study the first tasks that you are given and ask yourself if that is something you can work on without a deep understanding of the codebase.
#4: Don't wait too long to reach out if you are struggling or don't understand something. Years ago, I made a rule for myself that I would never be stuck longer than several hours on something without reaching out for help. It's common to have imposter syndrome when you are starting a new job and you don't want to look like you don't know what you are doing. However, the developers on your team will almost certainly be happy that you asked for help and see it as a sign of being a mature developer who knows when to reach out instead of struggling alone.
Most of all, remember to take care of your physical and mental health. Onboarding a new company can feel overwhelming and challenging, so it's important to push yourself to take breaks and prioritize your wellbeing.
I'll be diving into this topic in some of my upcoming videos, but until then, feel free to reach out to our community on Discord and talk about some of your experiences onboarding a new company! :)
Have a great week,