Nobody wants to hire a junior developer – just look at the number of senior developer job listings compared to their entry level counterparts. However, the idea that leaders can scale their teams by hiring only senior developers is a myth. For your team to truly scale successfully, you must grow senior talent by investing in junior developers and pairing them with strong senior mentors. Here, we outline three reasons it’s critical for high-growth tech companies to bring junior members into the fold early and plan for scale.
Junior developers don’t have the luxury that senior developers do to jump around from job to job, company to company. While senior developers can rest on their laurels while companies fight over them, they are more likely to get poached or to simply leave an existing role for a newer, flashier project. For a junior dev to be hired, they need to prove over and over again that they add value – their position is never a guarantee. This intense motivation and eagerness to learn should be an appealing asset to any hiring manager; what’s more, if you foster this desire to learn, you’ll reap the benefits through their loyalty to you and your company.
Young minds tend to be less biased and less tethered to any single way of working. They innovate, and attack problems from a different angle. We need to see young programmers not as expensive rookies who require time and money to train, but as wellsprings of untapped talent and fresh perspectives. When you hire young developers, you have the rare opportunity to shape them into ideal members of your team by teaching them the most valuable skills and exposing them to your company culture from the onset.
This opportunity to teach junior developers should not be seen as a burden – it can happen through intentional, everyday work experiences, or through formal mentorship. Taking on this responsibility it isn’t a matter of idealism, but of pragmatism. The junior developers you are mentoring today will become the leaders sitting in your boardrooms and building the technology of the future.
The current job market can’t keep up with the growth of the tech industry, or your company. A report released last year found that the number of open jobs in the industry is rapidly outpacing the number of graduates with computer science degrees. We need to face the reality that hiring junior developers is the only way to fill hundreds of thousands of open jobs and with this, we need to change the way we view them.
Junior developers may be novices now, but the future of tech is in their hands. The candidates applying for jobs today are the same people who will one day be building the tools that will shape our industry for years to come. Failure to invest in new developers today will result in a critical lack of leadership tomorrow. Fortunately, we can and should take this opportunity to hire these future leaders right now, and help them evolve into smart, ethical, and innovative leaders.
We need to remember that we were once “junior” as well, until somebody saw our potential and gave us a chance to prove ourselves.
Download Andela’s new report “Debunking Developer Myths” to learn more about the hiring myths that may be hurting your company.
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