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122

There was once a question around here that contained this kind of information, and the piece that stuck with me the most was don't touch their keyboard In short, tell your junior how to accomplish what they are trying to do, but do not do it for them. But in addition to that, here are some other tips: Encourage Google (or any other search tool). If you ...


47

Do you share the information or keep it to yourself? Now that's a weird question to ask on a site like this. Personally, I never paid any money to learn what I know, except for the occasional book here and there. University didn't really work for me, but even if it did, it is free where I live. I learned a lot from various things. Trying, failing and ...


36

Give him the chance to shine I've actually had a very similar position for some time but now I think I'm making some progress with the developer. I think in the end it will only be a case of commit shyness but I just told him "I need you to commit and push to the server so I can help you better if you get stuck, and you can help me better to oversee the ...


32

I think it should be encouraged but not required; seniors shouldn't be assigned to juniors or anything like that, or else you'll end up in Dilbert-land. The "mentor-mentee" relationship requires some level of friendship at its core, as well as a healthy dose of MUTUAL respect. You don't get that by just telling to people to go off and "ment".


31

One way to gain a skill important to moving up the career ladder (technical or management) is to learn how to mentor more junior employees. A great programmer makes the other programmers around him/her better.


23

Some hints: Learn other languages. Then compare them to the language(s) you already know, and try to look at the ways you can improve your coding skills in those languages by using things you learnt from other languages. "Free your mind" before learning those new languages, and don't try to simply clone the concepts of one into another. Read code. I don't ...


21

I have about 4 years of experience, and I can tell you from my experience as a junior developer what I wish I had in terms of mentoring. It seems that you are actually describing the type of developer I was when I started :) Essentially you want to encourage them to learn. Some people think that after they are done with college, they don't have to read ...


20

should it be part of the culture that senior developers are paired with junior developers as mentors? Yes. organic and spontaneous, i.e. not required, but allowed to develop without artificial encouragement I won't happen often enough to actually help anyone. Folks with existing relationships in the organizations will be perceived as cliques or ...


20

Anywhere from 0 to 5 or 7 (or so). Arguments for the low side: Not everyone is set out to be a mentor. I have worked with some developers who were so gruff that they would have scared someone into a new career. If you expect the senior devs to maintain the same level of output, then keep the number low. Arguments for a higher amount: Some devs ...


18

Not every top programmer is a top teacher. I would recommend to make the training by somebody who can explain and who has an overview on the 'environment' of your company (technical things, but also organizational like contacts).


17

I had an experience like this with a junior programmer. I'll give you the anecdote, along with the obvious warning that what worked for her wouldn't necessarily work for anyone else. Her problem was that she had never had to deal with anything in college that wasn't a toy system you could reasonably be asked to do in a homework set. And so when she faced ...


15

In my experience (and this is a gross generalization with tons of exceptions), older developers tend to believe in a seniority-based chain of command. "I've been here for 10-years longer than you so you'll do what I say." Younger developers tend to be more egalitarian. They acknowledge that each person has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, but for ...


14

Depending on where he went to school he may not have more than a few months experience doing very trivial things in one language. That can be fixed, but make certain it is worth the effort. It sounds like you need to tell if he can be salvaged or not. put the code away for a little while explain a small to medium sized problem that exists in the project ...


12

I recommend the following guidelines: Involve the junior developer in your design meetings and solicit his input. This will get him thinking about the big picture, even if he is not ready to do the high-level design himself. Try to isolate and clearly define a module of the application to assign to the junior developer. Describe in writing what the ...


11

Having a mentor is very important. Experience is irreplaceable and getting the advice and ideas from someone experienced will help you be a better developer and a productive professional. Coding is usually half the battle, you have to know how to communicate effectively, lead meetings, etc. This is where a mentor can help you guide. Your mentor(s) does not ...


11

I am only going to answer part of the question - in that you should devote as much time to training the new person as your direct supervisor will sign off on. In general, I am very much for training people. While I too paid for my own degree and training since then, I find that sharing helps more than just that other person, it can help to clarify things ...


10

Ask leading questions back to steer him to answers rather than simply telling him (well you can tell him some basic things like what the server name is and what database stores the information). Show him how to find his answers. And never rewrite his code when it is wrong, tell him what is wrong and expect him to fix it. You get what you expect. You don't ...


10

Check out this paper called "The camel has two humps". It talks about a very simple example of what people intuitively understand at the start of their first computer science class (Top of Page 6). If they fail to grasp how a computer thinks at the start of the class, they tend to not understand at the end of the class. It's a really interesting read. ...


9

I had this situation at a previous company. The senior developers, which were only a few, were mentoring an increasing number of junior developers to the point where they could not do the other tasks assigned to them. After a while the senior developers brought it up with our manager and it was decided that the developers who were somewhere in between junior ...


9

If at all possible, give them real work to do. If they're really enthusiastic, nothing will kill that enthusiasm faster than being given some clean-up work or put on a toy project. I've also observed that most of our junior developers seem most excited about working on the UI part of the project. Probably because they've always worked with a computer ...


9

No more than two per senior developer if you are hiring people straight out of college. The recent college grads I've had to deal with in the past have a good understanding of the basics, but they had no idea what it was like to program in the business world. You will you have to spend time teaching them how to program professionally, it is quite a shock ...


8

The traditional meaning of a "mentor" somewhat defies assignments. You might as well try and assign friends. It is fine, in my experience, to assign a new team member to use an established team member as their primary contact for questions during the first week, month, or so.


8

DO Give them work in small chunks at first, then increase; Let them be a real member of the team: code reviews are great, blocking the SCM is not they have to be part of team events (keep in mind their finances may be a bit weaker, so throw them a bone gracefully every once in a while) they have an equal right to talk at meeting (and urge them to) or do ...


8

I always make sure the developer wants my help, and I take great care not to go deeper into explanations than their patience can tolerate. Like everybody, I love the sound of my own voice! I treat them as equals, and make sure to ask their opinion as often as I sound off. Catch them doing something right and let them know. I always learn something when I ...


8

Start giving her small projects with well-laid out requirements, and don't hold her hand through the process. See how she does. At the end of it ask yourself, Is her project working? Was her project done in a timely fashion? Was her work easy to understand? Was her work easy to maintain? If the answers are yes, then she is doing great. She might need to ...


8

My main solutions to that over the past 2 years have been: networking socially: I have particularly found that meetup.com is a great way to find programming groups in your area. Twitter is also great for this. When you find people you like and respect, follow them. Using http://www.stackoverflow.com I initially used it for occasional questions. Now it ...


8

Generally when talking about stylistic issues like this, the key is to not tell them they are wrong, since this is more of a religious issue than anything. After all, maybe you are wrong and his way is somehow better for his career. In this specific case, you need to explain the value of PEP8, and explain the benefits we've all reaped over time because most ...


8

Short answer: A programmer looks both ways before crossing a one-way street. -- Doug Linder Long answer: Make them take An hour of Code tutorial. It doesn't need the person to "write" code. They would only need to put blocks that fit together and that represent a program's steps. At the end of the tutorial, if the person is able to program a cartoon ...


7

Should senior developers be required to mentor junior developers? Absolutely not. Some good senior developers are going to be horrible mentors and the matchup of personalities is a must have for successful mentor ship. I think, however, that senior developers should be required to make something about the development team better. That could be ...



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