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Michael

As a senior developer, do you mentor junior developers?

System Programmer at Oracle

Do you have a structure around mentoring, or do you take it ad hoc?

  • Comment (11)
  • May 12, 2012
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  • David V. C.

    David V.

    David V. C.

    President / Chief Architect at Dynamic Concepts Development Corp.

    I have found that a combinatio of both is most effective. I was very fortunate to have been mentored by some of the best (at least in my opinion <grin>) back when I was starting out in the early and mid 1970's. I have been part of many formal mentorship (and internship, and summer job) programs and they have all been great. There are few things in life as rewarding as seeing someone years later, who has become quite successful and having them say that you were in small small part an influence.

    At the same time "ad hoc" opportunities are often more readily available. As the owner of a consulting firm that works with client teams, it is quite common to see situations that are outside the direct contract terms where some guidance is desired. As an active participant in local user groups, there are opportunities there also.

  • Peter S.

    Peter

    Peter S.

    Freelance Developer & I.T Consultant

    Top Contributor

    I'm told that I do, and that it's ad-hoc. I basically just do what it seems like I should be doing most of the time.

  • Zijian H.

    Zijian

    Zijian H.

    Full Stack Developer and Analyst

    Top Contributor

    I do even if it is not part of the job description. To me, mentoring is also a good opportunity for me to refresh, since I had formed some skills / habits while forgetting their contexts. Since mentoring may also be part of internal training process, I would try to give contexts around a particular technology / skill / trick, as long as the team member is willing to learn more than than a quick answer alone. Along with such training process, team coordination could be healthier.

    Beside, while I am senior, I may be junior to other more senior guys. Such mentoring process may help me to organize questions to more senior guys.

    Generally mentoring is ad hoc, since a structure is an explicit cost center that the management may not like.

    BTW, a senior developer is senior not just because he/she is older, writing more codes, working on more projects in more languages. I mentioned in the other post I met a senior .NET developer years ago while I was junior to .NET, and I found he had no basic concept/habit of OOP/OOD, and always deliver quick and dirty solutions pleasing the management. Anyway, another topic then.

  • David V. C.

    David V.

    David V. C.

    President / Chief Architect at Dynamic Concepts Development Corp.

    @Zijian - excellent comments, I would only add that it is important to remember that there are many situations where people are senior/junior in different skill sets and the mentoring can be bidirectional. I know that I have learned quite alot from such situations, and hopefully I have provided some benefit.

  • Lee P.

    Lee

    Lee P.

    Technology Manager at Parsons

    @David & @Zijian: Mentoring is most definitely bidirectional. I am the most senior person on the team that I work with, yet I often find that some junior developers have knowledge to share as well; usually gained from overcoming a problem that I have yet to face.

    I frequently mentor junior developers as it is part of my role. I use both a structured format in the form of code reviews and lunch-and-learn sessions, and ad-hoc sessions where I set aside a few hours every couple of weeks for other developers to bring me their issues and we work on it together. These consulting sessions have been very beneficial because there are often multiple developers in the room, all from different teams, and they tend to share their experiences with one another and take a bit of the load off of me allowing me to focus on the developers that need the most assistance.

  • Inbar G.

    Inbar

    Inbar G.

    Application Development Manager

    ad-hoc, but I do it with an eye for progressing their career. It's interesting to see a few years later where I meet the same developers who used to be junior and now they are managers or architects etc.

  • Franck M.

    Franck

    Franck M.

    .NET Programs, analysis, research and development

    @Zijian, you simply stated how I do see mentor-ship. Although, I have become wary about sharing my "tricks of the trade" with the young Y-Gen lately, maybe I am becoming grumpy...

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