What does it really cost in terms of time/money to hire in
and train a new developer?
If you were
to ask most in management the answer would be not much. However, if you were to
ask most developers, I am sure their answer would be, a LOT.
Who is right?
as a developer of course I know
developers are right.
I believe this
because we have been there; we are the ones training the new developers, we are
the ones spending our time teaching them the ropes of the company/project.
We are the ones who have to watch them grow,
answer their questions and in some cases hold their hand.
So, is the ramp time for each new developer the same?
What can allow one developer to ramp up faster than others?
- Level of experience
The general level of experience for a given developer can help dictate their
ramp time. It should be fairly safe
to assume that a senor developer should be able to ramp up faster then a
junior developer. This may not always be true, but I would
say it is a safe assumption.
- Knowledge of the given industry
If your new hire has a background working in the companies industry (i.e.
has been working in the retail sector, or healthcare sector) then they
should be ahead of the curve. This
may not be 100% true in all cases, but again, I would say it is a safe
Why is this? Well quite simply they
should already have a general understanding of terms, concepts and
ideals. Having this knowledge will
allow them to ramp up quicker and become a more effective contributor to
the team faster.
- Knowledge of the technology in use
Along with ‘level of experience’ comes technology experience. A developer that has developed using the
same or similar technology in the past should be able to get up to speed
quicker than someone who has never used the given technology.
Another way that technology can play apart is target platform. If
the developer that has been primary a Client/Server developer for
the past few years may take them a little longer to ramp up then someone
who has been a Web developer, assuming the project is web based.
- Training provided by the company
How does the new company train the new developer? Do have any type of system
documentation. This could be as
simple as a WIKI with terms and business rules or could be full blown
project specs. Having this type of
information will help the developer to better understand the project.
Another way is what do they have the new developer do during their first
week? Do they fix outstanding bugs,
are they given a training session on the application (from the user’s
perspective), are they thrown into a new module and left to ‘learn’ the
More about this in depth in a
To me, personality is the most important factor to ramp time. Is the person a go getter? Are they willing to ask questions, be
the pest for the first few months?
Or are they the type of person to sit back and wait for someone to
tell them what is going one.
It has been my experience that an extrovert tends to ramp up much faster
then an introvert.
As my list above points out there are a few different
factors that can affect the time it will take for a developer to ramp up. It would be unfair to assume that every new
hire, even if they are the ‘same level’, will ramp up the same. In a future post, I will explore ways that
companies can minimize the ramp time for their new developers.
06-19-2007 6:30 AM