For a person who is new to programming, what sort of tasks would a new programmer be assigned as an entry level new hire? If you are an experienced programmer, what were some things you had to do during your first week? If you are the manager, what would you expect your new employee to do?

Edit: I am looking for answers preferably from actual experience or that are known factual tasks assigned to new programmers.

  • 1
    Are you talking about new hires who are programmers, or people who are actually new to programming? Most people hired even as entry level programmers have some degree of experience writing code -- they wouldn't have been hired into that role if they didn't -- but they may not have experience working or using the employers specific systems. On the other hand, some people may have work experience but no coding experience because they decided to change roles, try something new. Without more specifics, I think this question is just too broad -- there are too many possible situations to cover. – Caleb Apr 14 '17 at 16:43
  • New hire and new to programming. Two people already gave good answers. I tried to up vote them but it said I don't have enough points yet. I will edit the question though. – takintoolong Apr 14 '17 at 16:45

It depends on the company and time of year.

When you join a new company doing any role usually you may get a test project that has already, or at least on the way to being completed by someone else in the team. This is so that they can get a rough idea of how you work and compare it to how the project was completed by someone already well grounded within the team.

You might on the other hand got thrown straight into a brand new project where you're an integral part of the team from the word go. Like I said, it depends on the time of year for the company. If a company is really busy in summer and you join in July/August; expect to be very busy.

You may even just have to sit through training and talks from others and even just shadow people for a few weeks. It's entirely dependant on the company you join. Generally, when you first start at a new place, always remember that you'll be watched like a hawk for the first week or two just to see how you're getting on and how you're adjusting to the new role.

  • This is a helpful answer because it points out that a company might give training and guidance at first. It is interesting that programming might be seasonal as well. I did not consider this industry would be seasonal. – takintoolong Apr 14 '17 at 16:54
  • Exactly, some companies may have busy periods for one reason or another which can and usually will have a direct effective on training and operation. – user66194 Apr 14 '17 at 17:06

Bug fixes and test writing mostly. Familiarizing yourself with a new and mature code base is a daunting proposition. Understanding infrastructure, build tools, documentation, deployment, etc., can be really time consuming and frustrating for someone new.

"It's easy! You just have a docker container on your desktop with a git repo that pulls code from a remote repo. Every change should be ran through a series of formatting modules and test scripts should execute flawlessly. Any changes should be merged and pushed to the git repo hosted on a remote server also running inside of a docker container, they'll be automatically integrated into the system because we have a half dozen other tools that watch for file changes and new code pushes. After that you'll just have to..."

"Okay, but the interviewer made me print 'Hello World' to the console and I don't know what a Docker Container is so..."

You see what I mean?

  • This is a helpful answer because it points out some concepts that a new programmer should research. These concepts might not be obvious or even discussed before hand. Thank you for the heads up. Now I will look into the things you mentioned, such as: infrastructure, build tools, documentation, and deployment. I will also look up docker containers, and git repos. – takintoolong Apr 14 '17 at 16:58
  • This is what I'm currently doing, being a new hire. Fixing small bugs/issues or improvements and writing unit tests to get familiar with the tooling and product/service. – Edwin Lambregts Apr 18 '17 at 14:46

If you're completely new to programming, your first tasks will probably involve learning to code. (You'd be hired to an internship or "learn-on-the-job" position and be expected to be a student for the first few months.)

If you're fairly new, it depends on the company. Some companies would just have you pair program with one of the existing developers. You sit next to them for a bit, while they do their normal task and explain to you how things work. At some point during the day, you switch so that you're working on a regular task and they observe and guide you. You do that for a few days, and then you can work on your own. (Or keep pairing; some companies pair-develop everything)

Other companies have you read up on the code base first, and give you a few days to look around and get familiar with it. You can fix some minor bugs, write some test cases, or implement some trivial features until you get an idea of what you're doing.

And probably there's a dozen other things companies do, although for some I question the efficiency.

  • Ok, that is interesting, "some companies pair-develop everything". So you might always have a partner. – takintoolong Apr 14 '17 at 17:49
  • Always one at a time. You'd rotate between members of your team to share knowledge more effectively, ideally. – Erik Apr 14 '17 at 17:51
  • @takintoolong Its extremely rare, and was never very common. Let's just say politely that there's large reasons to doubt the efficacy of pair programming from a technical/productivity perspective (outside of a few niche uses like training) and very few developers actually want someone else standing over their shoulder telling them what to type all day. I had one rather clueless manager push for it once, 2/3 of the senior developers refused and the manager got fired before some of them quit. – Gabe Sechan Apr 19 '17 at 6:43

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