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software-developer

Guidance for Onboarding Remote Software Developers

about 1 month ago by Andrea Amato
software-developer

Tips on navigating a newly digitised operation.

In conversation with Joseph Glynn

As a result of the shifting working society in preferring a remote workspace over traditional office commutes, many organisations had to re-think and structure many operations that necessitated physical contact. Onboarding, the process that completes the hiring stage for a company, is one such operation that has transformed since we’ve moved remote-first.

Why onboarding is an important consideration when it comes to ensuring its optimisation to a remote company is its social approach. Because remote workers often lack social opportunities given their new workplace structure, and onboarding presents the first-time employees meet with teams. Whilst this comes with its own complexities, the onboarding process for remote software developers and similar technical positions presents some novelties as well.

Introductions

Software developers and engineers alike have an added responsibility in pursuing remote onboarding, that is, they often must complete numerous technical assessments to prove their technical capabilities before attaining employment. Teams responsible for handling onboarding should detail what tools and software are of interest from the start with developers, so that they immediately gauge an understanding of their expectations.

When it comes to introductions, “The first two to three months are very crucial,” Joseph stated. “Most software developers start training and reading documentation to understand the companies’ applications and infrastructure they will be using or testing.” For Joseph, clients and at Castille, we prioritise monitoring the progress and dedication offered by new candidates from the beginning of their career journey.

There should also be an indication of company culture; including an understanding of what the assigned company believes in and observe how this aligns with the needs of the software developer. At the end of the day, you want to ensure the best fit is found between the developer and client. This also means leaving room for regular feedback, where software developers can raise any concerns and have these addressed along the onboarding process.

For example, Castille introduced a performance team to encourage consistent communication between clients and candidates. Whilst our team observes a developer’s performance, they do more than just evaluate their progress in a technical sense. “We handle any queries from the candidate and monitor their progress throughout. In some cases, further online training is provided by Castille or the client.” In this way, the introductions stage can mean a lot in determining the technical and personal aptitude of candidates.

The digital workspace

When software developers pass their lengthy technical assessments, meet the client they will be working with, and comprehend their novel company culture, it’s a seamless path in setting up a dedicated workspace to complete assigned tasks. Much of this process has been digitised: developers are added to virtual teams composed of Microsoft Teams or a similar video conferencing medium, their details are added to the organisation’s database for record’s sake, and further documentation are shared within private networks.

Whilst digitisation has been encouraged for some time, its practical acceleration is due to remote working. One common challenge is ensuring software developers have access to documents. Joseph believes this is a challenge quickly overturned due to the numerous available options. “Two famous tools we use today are Confluence and Jira. The former helps documentation and Jira is used for organised task assignments, namely in Agile project methodologies.” He also mentioned the importance of communication tools as well, including the likes of Slack, Microsoft Teams, and so forth.

Optimising technical documentation

The unique quality in employing software developers and engineers remotely is their added curve to the onboarding process: technical documentation. Whilst developers can work on a consultancy basis, many work in teams, requiring the need for shared project documentation that allows flowing assignment progress.

During onboarding, organisations must provide developers and teams with whatever project documentation they have at hand to begin working on a project effectively. This specifically means access to:

  • Source code information,

  • Chosen database and sample data,

  • Project version history, i.e., the version number of any project assignment,

  • API keys to access software tools,

  • Test suites for maintenance and testing, and

  • Deployment details to assess system and server functioning.


The above represents the most important credentials that will help software developers access the necessary documentation required to complete a project and other assigned tasks. It’s good practice for organisations to prepare these beforehand so onboarding completes with all the fundamental tools provided, and a positive lasting impression held between developer and client.

This article is from the Castille Quarterly Newsletter | October 2021