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Setting up an efficient and effective onboarding process for new technical hires should be top of mind for hiring managers and CTOs alike. Although many aspects of onboarding are physical, such as setting up the hardware or introducing the new hire to their team members, it’s also important to pay attention to the documentation. Here are a few things to include in your developer onboarding documentation.

General Company Information

It sounds simple enough, but it’s surprising how many companies fail to provide this information to new hires as part of their developer onboarding process. This information encompasses everything from basic notes about the company and your management team to HR policies, including procedures for scheduling time off and how to access your benefits. Ideally new employees should have access to a directory or list of important contact information for people within the company.

Here at Stack Overflow, we have an internal Wiki page that lists all of this in an easy-to-understand way. We encourage employees to spend some time their first day/week looking this over and educating themselves.

Code Standards

Not every company will have code standards in writing, but if you do it’s important to include for new hires to look over. Having documentation of these guidelines, standards, and examples may take a while to put together at first, but is well worth it in the long run. Be sure to have someone go in and update any information that is outdated as well.

Google’s Codelabs is a well-known version of documenting your code standards and tutorials. The website provides a hands-on coding experience/tutorial. Most similar tutorials will step you through the process of building a small application or adding a new feature to an existing application. They explain why a core abstraction was designed, show how it’s used, walks through relevant parts of the codebase, and then provide a set of exercises for validating understanding.

A List of Your Tech Stack & Tools

Having a list of the main technology stack that your company uses is also helpful, with links and notes attached to each. Similarly, your company should have one place where all your tools are located, including logins for each.

Who Owns What

For a lack of a better term, it’s important to keep a document of the important stakeholders of each project or duty. When looking at various pieces of code, new developers will want to know who they should talk to regarding it. This lets the new employee be aware of the procedures in accomplishing various tasks, especially when decision-making is up to a manager, and when they can use their discretion in deciding.

developer onboarding checklist


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