The art of integration: How Trustly’s Java team onboards new developers

When it comes to integration, Trustly’s Java developers are pros. They spend their working hours building bank integrations, which provide the base of Trustly’s service offering. It’s no wonder, then, that they are also pros at integrating new team members.
While Trustly has a formal onboarding program that all new employees go through, the Java team has implemented its own mentorship program to make the learning curve of a new job a little less intimidating.

In the program, more experienced employees volunteer to take new team members under their wing. They meet for lunch about a week before the new employee’s first day to get to know each other. “It’s nice to come to work on your first day knowing there will be a familiar face,” said Johan Andersson, Java team leader.

Savino Bizzoca, who has been working at Trustly as a Java developer since 2015, became a mentor for Therese Askling when she started in September 2016. In Therese’s first few days, Savino walked her through the basics of the role. “I asked so many questions, about everything from configurations to installations,” said Therese.

As the days and months passed, Therese became more comfortable in her role and asked fewer and fewer questions. “She still comes to me for help, but now her questions involve more corner cases, which are really difficult. We try to think together about what can fix the issue and maybe we bring in other teams to help,” said Savino.

Eventually, Therese took on a mentee of her own: Bawer Calli. “Bawer is my mentee, but I learn a lot from him too because he studied things I didn’t. We pair programmed at first and that was new for me, but I learned to catch new mistakes because he does things differently,” Therese said. She makes sure to explain the reasons behind their processes. “We often explain how to do something, but we forget to explain why,” said Therese.

Bawer noted that while it’s not typical, it’s nice to get assigned a mentor. “If you wait for the relationship to grow organically, it takes a long time. But at the beginning of a new job, you don’t have that time to wait.”

Bawer continued: “The atmosphere at Trustly is both fast-paced and laid back. There’s always a lot happening but there’s time to learn and grow. Everyone is friendly and open so you don’t need to feel embarrassed if you don’t know something.”

All in all, the mentorship program helps Java teams work more collaboratively. “Everyone on our team learns from each other, so we have similar coding styles. And I think that’s why we all work so well together — because we understand each other’s code,” said Therese. “Of course that means sometimes you get stuck, but then we discuss solutions with other teams.”

Bawer hopes to one day become a mentor himself. So what’s Savino’s advice to future mentors? “While it’s easy work heads-down, try to always keep an eye on what your mentee is doing. Don’t always wait for him or her to come to you; anticipate the questions based on your experience and think ahead to future problems that might arise.”

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