My experience using Pair Programming to onboard new team members

My experience using Pair Programming to onboard new team members

What is Pair Programming?

Pair programming is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation. One, the driver, writes code while the other, the observer or navigator, reviews each line of code as it is typed in. The two programmers switch roles frequently. [1]

Pair Programming doesn't need to happen in the same physical location, especially after the change in working style post covid. Programmers can also work together remotely with the vast number of tools available nowadays.

Benefits of Pair Programming

This working method has plenty of benefits namely:

  • more efficient
  • less coding mistakes
  • develop better interpersonal skills

You can read more here.


There can also be obstacles for working efficiently such as:

  • if the programmers are not in good terms
  • they are both completely new in the company
  • they are both novices and are now learning on the job

Onboarding a New Colleague

For me, the biggest benefit in the use of Pair Programming is the efficient exchange of knowledge when onboarding a new colleague in a project.

When first starting out, the new developer needs to learn at least three things:

  1. Process
  2. Product
  3. Technology

He or she might be acquainted or even have experience in the technological aspect but each organisation, even if they follow Agile Methods or any other industry-leading processes, will have its own unique touch.

The new colleague will take time to get used to their environment.

Moreover, many big technology-centered companies have plenty of documentation, which, for a beginner can be overwhelming.

The best way to learn in my opinion - is to start working on a small task - with the assistance of a more senior developer.


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