What to Do and What Not to Do When Guiding New Programmers

The world of software development is both fulfilling and challenging. It can be an exhilarating endeavor with the capability to generate outstanding outcomes. Nonetheless, it can also be intimidating and generate anxiety, even with just a little exposure. This feeling of being lost can be overwhelming and cause unease. The pressure to deliver on the first project can be a daunting prospect.

Programming skills are a must for developers, as well as proficient project management skills, excellent communication skills to convey information confidently, and a grasp of expectations. Moreover, it is crucial for developers to be able to work efficiently under pressure.

Sadly, many young and promising innovators abandon their creative ideas after one failed attempt, perhaps because their concept of software creation does not align with the reality of the organization.

Sometimes, the cause of failure can be due to unfortunate circumstances. Negative managers and a dearth of guidance can cause even the most gifted individuals to lose interest in a career that should be both creative and satisfying.

Errors to Steer Clear of While Mentoring

Avoid These Mistakes

Succeeding in a coding interview does not guarantee readiness to work independently. How long should one mentor a young programmer?

Is there an adequate amount of time available? What does this entail precisely? Some novice developers enjoy the chance for autonomy and will seek help only when needed. However, certain duties necessitate closer scrutiny and more regular verification.

The manager may assume everything is going smoothly since the junior employee has not voiced any concerns. However, it is plausible that the developer is not asking questions out of fear of being scolded.

Ask about their welfare, inquire if there is anything they require help with, and reassure them that it is perfectly fine to seek assistance.

Be a Person, Not a Helicopter

It is correct that a minor level of frustration can be a potent motivator, urging people to persevere in their pursuits. Those who have ever felt the impulse to try again after encountering a setback will relate to this notion. Nonetheless, it is crucial to recognize that if emotions become too intense, it can lead to a feeling of despair and cause one to give up.

Mentors who aim to oversee every aspect, even carrying out duties themselves to provide a learning experience for their mentees, are praiseworthy. It is crucial for novice workers to receive direction and assistance to aid their growth.

The challenge is advantageous as it motivates the inexperienced developer to explore different concepts, ask relevant questions, and seek out solutions that will be valuable in the future.

I have realized that it is preferable to let individuals work through their issues independently, even if it results in a lengthier process. This has been a valuable lesson for me to comprehend.

If the child demonstrates self-motivation, actively seeks answers, and tries new solutions, you should allow them to work independently. However, if they appear perplexed, overburdened, or need help, you should step in.

Keep Solutions to Yourself.

Inquiring can assist in the development or improvement of abilities and understanding. Asking What is the function of X or Y? is a simple question that might lead to the acquisition of fresh knowledge or the recollection of existing information.

If you have additional inquiries such as “I’m uncertain which algorithm would be most appropriate for the job,” you are providing an excellent opportunity for our junior developer to expand their knowledge and enhance their growth. Take a moment to ask thoughtful follow-up questions instead of instantly answering to gain a better understanding of their thought process.

What are your long-term goals? What is the intention behind this conduct? Have you evaluated any other strategies? Use this succession of questions to promote contemplative deliberation. Encouraging the junior developer to describe their answers and ponder over their thought process can assist them in considering diverse perspectives.

Due to a shortage of experience or fear, individuals may be on the verge of discovering the solution but unable to act. The more inquiries you pose to children like these, the more they will learn to think critically and uncover solutions. Some of you may already be familiar with the ‘rubber ducky’ technique.

Essential Mentoring Practices

Allocate Time for Foundational Skill Development

Establishing a set of guidelines and protocols is crucial for a productive workplace. It is essential to outline, document, and clarify these directives to new employees.

Various teams may hold contrasting views on how to comment on code. The dynamics of a DevOps team can vary tremendously from those of a conventional group, which may indicate that some terminology is unfamiliar to those not on the team. Devoting time to clarify such peculiarities can aid in the rapid integration of individuals into the team.

Please Provide Your Assistance and Support

Mentors can offer not only technical direction but also emotional encouragement and guidance to junior developers. Even though you may not be a therapist or a coach, your own encounters with annoyance, stress, and concern can help you empathize with their sentiments and assist them in navigating through difficult situations.

When commencing a profession in software development, direct experience is unrivalled in terms of acquiring knowledge and enhancing abilities. No quantity of reading can prepare you for the stress of meeting schedules, and only direct experience can furnish a complete comprehension of some aspects of the field.

I have witnessed many enthusiastic and young programmers pushing themselves to their extremes, like a candle set ablaze by a flamethrower. From my expertise, I can assert that a lack of comprehension is one of the main reasons for developer isolation and animosity. I have seen individuals becoming increasingly irritable over minor concerns when under duress.

Collaboratively, we can help others cultivate the emotional intelligence that is required for success in this environment.

Give Them Your Undivided Attention

As a junior developer, it is simple to feel disregarded due to a deficiency of knowledge and an incapacity to comprehend the complete perspective. However, it is imperative not to disregard the critical details that junior developers can offer.

It is important to keep in mind that junior personnel have no previous involvement with the project and are starting from scratch. Thus, they have not been exposed to any harmful practices, but have likewise not acquired any advantageous ones.

Individuals outside of our company may possess an invaluable viewpoint that could prove advantageous for us. Even though it may not be applicable to our circumstances, let us examine the suggestion and investigate why it is impractical.

Pupils are realizing that it is acceptable to express their opinions, and that the team values their contribution. They are not just completing a mandatory role as a “code monkey;” instead, their perspectives and ideas are given consideration.

Hiring Fresh, Novice Programmers

Junior developers serve as an economical alternative when it comes to recruiting, and they also comprise a pool of individuals with the potential to advance and grow within your company in the long run. This can be advantageous for areas of your business that require specialized knowledge.

As a group of junior developers grow with your project, every individual becomes increasingly dedicated to its accomplishment and to the company as a whole.

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