June 10, 2017

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Could You Be A Mentor To An Aspiring Software Developer?

I've been beavering away these last few weeks putting together the basis for an initiative that will enable experienced software developers to mentor new programmers looking to become developers one day.

It'll take the form of a Software Developers' Guild - a sort of clearing house that helps talented new programmers find old hands who can provide "light-touch" guidance over the long-term (4-6 years).

I see it working along similar lines to what I've been doing with my "apprentice" Will Price (who's just finished his final exams for his CS degree, and has turned out pretty spiffy as a developer, too). I've been pairing with Will regularly for a couple of hours every fortnight or so, working on the skills formal education tends to leave out (using version control, test automation, TDD< refactoring, design principles and other practical aspects of code craft).

I've also been nudging him towards certain sources of information: books, blogs, conferences, and so forth, and generally giving him a steer on what he would find most useful to know as a software developer.

Reflecting on how it's gone, both Will and I feel it's been of immense value - and not just for Will. Mentoring someone new to this field has spurred me to learn new things, too (like Python, for example) and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for learning. So, after twelvety-stupid years as a developer, I feel renewed. And looking forward to doing it again.

The industry is also up on the deal by one potentially great developer.

My thinking of late has been that this could be a workable route to avoiding the Groundhog Day that our profession seems stuck in, where new developers have to go through the same long process of rediscovery, with all the false leads and dead ends I wasted years on.

And so, this year, I tentatively begin the process of trying to scale this approach up. You can find out a bit more by visiting the Software Developers' Guild holding page. And, maybe, you'd be interested in becoming a mentor?

I'm looking for experienced developers who've "been around the block at least twice" ( call it my Rule of Two), and who'd be willing and able to provide a similar kind of light-touch guidance to someone at university, or from a code club, or returning to work after raising children or caring for a relative, or retraining for a career change, etc.

Could that be you?

Posted 1 week, 5 days ago on June 10, 2017