Cortex rule of thumb: commit code on day one


2023-11-01 09:36:43


Onboarding new developers conveniently and coincidentally loosely consists of the 4 C’s: Compliance, Clarification, Culture and Connection. Crikey!

We cover the basics but avoid overcomplicating processes so the team isn’t constrained by paperwork and sign-offs. Danny, our delivery lead and onboarding maestro, recently added another C to the onboarding mix: Code. Danny initiated the principle that every developer commits code on their first day, and it’s become not only a defining characteristic of our process but a hot streak that we want to continue. Cool.

Let’s put those C-words away and take a closer look at this principle.

The idea spawned out of frustration from previous experiences. Many developers have been in a situation where, when they joined a project, they had to wait for weeks just to get the full access they needed to kick things off. Development environment setup, user account setup, permissions to source control, permissions to locations, permissions, permissions, permissions. Onboarding doesn’t need to be this way, so it’s something we avoid. A slow onboarding process only steepens the learning curve, which is why our focus is on getting our new joiners up to speed and cutting code as fast as possible.

Getting familiar with our tech stack

The most efficient way to get familiar with our technology stack is by getting stuck in. Whether our new hires are seasoned developers or wet-behind-the-ears interns, we make sure there are always some tasks available to work on from day one. When it comes to interns and junior developers, we try to have tasks ready that: (a) we can explain in detail if needed, (b) are relatively simple (no reinventing the wheel on day one) and (c) are not time-sensitive. This way, we get more familiar with their experience and they get to know our different applications.

We back this up by keeping our development environments simple (and easy to build… yay Docker) and having everything set up and ready to go for a new starter from day one.

No wasting hours just pulling down ISOs and repositories!

Welcome to the jungle team

We value everyone’s skills, which is why we immediately want to put them to use. Committing code on the first day makes for an easy win, and (hopefully) helps make new hires feel a part of the team from the start. At Cortex, we prioritise what matters and we let go of what doesn’t. Some onboarding processes have a reputation for being unnecessarily slow, which is why we’ve adopted the principle of committing code on the first day.

In summary, this is why we’ve adopted a JFDI approach to onboarding:

  • It makes the starter feel included from day one

  • It removes unnecessary and frustrating roadblocks

  • It kickstarts the learning

  • It simplifies our lives!

Are you interested in working at Cortex? We're always keen to hear from like-minded people, so if you think you might be a good fit, please get in touch via our vacancies.