How To Join a New Team and Learn the Codebase

How To Join a New Team and Learn the Codebase

During my seven-year software engineering career, I’ve onboarded into five new companies. That means I’ve frequently had to dive into a codebase and become productive. Here are my reflections on how I could learn a new codebase much faster.

When I joined a new team, I spent a lot of my time looking at documentation. I’ve learned that documentation is important, but sometimes, it can’t keep up with code changes. 

Understanding the codebase is crucial when joining a new team. It’s normal to feel lost and overwhelmed at first.

Below are 3 actions you can take to learn the codebase when onboarding with a new team:

  1. Figure out which part of the codebase matters by asking engineers on your team or use git blame

If you ask an engineer on your team who is familiar with the codebase, they can tell you where to look and why it is important to know it.

If there is no one to guide you, use git blame or a tool with source code annotation, and you can find out where recent changes were made to the code.

  1. Learn the codebase by making small modifications to it

When you make small modifications to the code, you will see how the code behaves. You can add log statements to certain spots to see how the code behaves.

If you find an opportunity to fix a small typo, go for it and make the change. Create a pull request and get feedback. This can help you learn your team’s development process.

  1. Pair Program

If interested, you can pair up with someone to learn the codebase quicker and build a relationship with them.

The Complete Onboarding Guide For Software Engineers – Taro Course

Onboarding is the critical period when you first join a new team or company

I hope you found this helpful. If you need help with Onboarding, I highly suggest taking Rahul Pandey’s The Complete Onboarding Guide For Software Engineers course.

Connect with Johne Vang on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter for more content like this.



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