Disclaimer : This is my first (non-internship) job, and this might explain some parts of my thinking.

I'm working as a Web Developer in a government office. I alone hold the position of Web Developer, and I do all the web work (plus a bunch of other non-web stuff) myself. No teammates.

I used to have an co-developer but he quit, so now I'm left alone. But apparently, I think it would be important to note as well that before I got hired, he also was working alone for quite a while.

Now that he left, the work has been piling up and every now and then I get work that I had no idea was part of my responsibility (one time I didn't even know we owned one particular site!), partly due to the lack of documentation passed on to me.

Now, studying the unexpected systems plus maintaining my current workload has proven quite a little bit too more than my capacity and my progress has been slow.

Now, I'm not sure if it's just that I lack the technical capability of this position, or if we do really need a second man.

  • 1
    This question is quite a bit different than the linked question. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 5 '15 at 20:32

Has anyone complained to you about you behind on anything?

You need to escalate to your own management where they have a choice between hiring some extra staff or let you dog paddle in your projects. My best guess is that your documentation comes in two kinds: NONE and POOR - so more dog paddling for you.

You need to talk to your management anyway about agreeing to tasks, priorities and deadlines - as in realistic deadlines.

It's possible that your management is super cheap and they're quite content to let you dog paddle by yourself at your own speed and do the best you can but they have to make that known to you.

  • Agreed, being understaffed is not necessarily a problem if management are happy to see things progress at the "understaffed" level of forward momentum. – Carson63000 Jan 5 '15 at 3:47

You need to make the problem visible to your management. If you are able to, try to prepare answers to the following questions:

  • How long will it take you (alone) to complete the work you need to complete and is this length of time acceptable or not?
  • Is there enough work that can be done in parallel so that adding a developer could actually speed things up. Note: Expect a new person to need 3 months to come up the learning curve before independently contributing.
  • Is the workload expected to continue at a level that requires a second developer or is it just temporary? This helps you decide between a contractor and a permanent staff hire.
  • How much risk is there in having you be the single point of failure for development or support tasks?

Take this information to your management or work with your management to define answers to these questions. Based on this, and whatever financial constraints there are on the project, it should be possible to make the decision to hire or not.

  • Perhaps add a fourth bullet point : How much risk is being incurred by there only being one sole person responsible for (crucial?) websites? – Carson63000 Jan 5 '15 at 3:48

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