Technology is fast becoming the way of the world, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of the global workforce is working remotely, calling companies to need coders on hand. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of coders in today’s workforce climate, forcing employers to hire people who don’t have the desired experience required to do their job adequately. Much like medical students who recently graduated are being called on to help on the front lines before they’ve completed their residency or fellowship, coders are being thrown to the wolves and expected to perform like veterans. Hiring a novice coder has it’s benefits, but it also has security risks.

The practice of hiring a novice coder is unfair to coders and businesses alike. Setting proper expectations for coders not only lets them know what their goals are, but also lets managers know what to expect from their employees. Much like you wouldn’t entrust a pre-med student to perform double-bypass surgery, coders fresh out of school or boot camp should not be expected to perform like 30-year vets. Instead, businesses can implement measures to ensure their new hires are performing effectively.

Coders hired fresh out of school are at the beginning of their education. There’s no “real world” environment for teaching coding, everything is taught via exercises behind a wall, cut off from the minefield of the internet. Practical knowledge is learned on the job, so their education needs to be reinforced. Novice coders should be paired with experienced coders who are capable of teaching and mentoring. They should be in an apprenticeship environment for a minimum of six months, but even two years is appropriate. This allows them to learn the ropes and develop good habits while unlearning bad habits they should avoid in their careers.

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Originally published at on June 4, 2020.

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