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Mentoring Software Engineers: 5 Best Practices

From pair programming, to one-on-one weekly sessions, there’s all sorts of ways to mentor. Here’s some tips and tricks on how to make the most of your mentorships. Provide context and perspective for the specific situation. You probably have been in the industry for longer and had similar situations that your mentee is struggling with. If you work at the same company, you probably know how things work a lot better.

  • Doing so helps ensure that the code is working properly.
  • They can help answer technical questions that may not have been available to the developers otherwise.
  • This cross-functional area brings together engineers, designers, and stakeholders, who then collaborate on launching world-class products.
  • Experts in the developer community state that software developers who have a formal mentor tend to learn faster and better than those who don’t.
  • I do consider myself lucky to work for a company such as Mister Spex, which believes strongly in the power of mentorship.

For me, mentorship is the commitment from leadership to this new and diverse workforce. Six months later, my manager, whom I really look up to, told me that he’d never had a mentor himself, and he was kind of jealous of me for having such a great one. He ended up reaching out to my mentor to set up a mentorship as well. There’s a website called, and other places where you can sign up as a developer and just say what you’re looking to improve on.

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It’s skill mentoring, in this case, which, as I said, has the most overlap with coaching. On the other hand, experience is mostly orthogonal to technical and pedagogical skills. After decades of experience I’ve seen mentorship come in many forms, and I would never put some kind of litmus test on who is qualified to be a mentor. Ultimately it’s about individual strengths, weaknesses and chemistry. In a mentor relationship the mentor sets the agenda together with the mentee. A mentor has a more active role in the agenda providing active guidance and feedforward.

Mentoring is a two-way street – not only will you be helping others, but you will also be learning from them. As your mentees grow and develop their skills, they will be able to provide you with new perspectives and ideas. This will keep you sharp and help you continue to grow as an engineer. Mentoring is an essential part of building your team to be the best that they can be. Since you are the one they look to for advice, you must know what kind of mentor you’re going to be. Mentoring isn’t just limited to teaching them the technical aspects of their work.

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I would go even further and say that as an executive, your most important job is doing exactly that. It is inspiring and helps prepare the leaders of tomorrow. It is a memorable experience and something that I feel lucky to have experienced early in my life.

One of my mentors lives in San Francisco, so we do video calls all the time. I’ve also talked with several experienced mentors who do remote mentoring on Coding Coach and have all had great experiences using this format. This is especially powerful when you work at the same company, as you can put them in touch with other people who can help. Mentors are usually a lot better connected than mentees.

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Listening to the story and plans helps with making suggestions efficiently, and builds trust and relationships too. Then, recommend a process of self-evaluation, where the engineer ranks themselves on how they are performing at their current level and at the next level. Software engineers are promoted when they operate at the next level.

  • Running a good team meeting used to be a big challenge for me a couple of years ago, but that has changed.
  • People with a mentor tend to be very self-directed and are often successful in their careers.
  • Even without a story to guide them, having someone in
    their corner is valuable support.
  • When I was a junior developer, I paired with a senior engineer for a few months, learning lots from him.
  • Observe which of the options they are training for at work or showing the most interest in.
  • I let them drive the schedule and the topics they want me to cover.
  • This can improve communication and teamwork, leading to better outcomes for projects.

In all three areas, I think that radical
candor – caring personally
while challenging directly – is essential to effective mentoring. You have
to have someone’s best interest in mind and you have to be willing to help
them see uncomfortable truths. If that’s not in your personality or you don’t
feel that way towards a prospective mentee, the best thing you can do for What does an Azure cloud engineer do? them
is to send them elsewhere. When I thought about ways I’ve mentored people, the first things that sprung
to mind were actually coaching roles – situations where it was my
responsibility to help someone improve. This article will discuss critical DevOps engineering skills that make you an expert. So, since we understand that people come to our company from…

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Some people may be struggling in some areas, like architecture or just expressing their thoughts on a product. Then I say, “Hey, I think you could use some help here. ” I usually ask them to  make a list of people they look up to. Instead, if you think something is not correctly implemented, explain why you think your way is better.

Point them to the documentation of the libraries or the language you are using for your project. We often fall into the curse of knowledge and assume that our interlocutor knows the context as much as we do. In talking with your mentee, try to be as clear as possible.

They know where to point developers when they want to improve in a certain area or acquire new talent. They can help answer technical questions that may not have been available to the developers otherwise. They can also point the juniors in the direction of relevant training opportunities. Are you hiring senior+ engineers or engineering managers? Apply to join The Pragmatic Engineer Talent Collective to contact world-class senior and above engineers and engineering managers/directors. The best way to start formal mentorship is with a kickoff.

Weekly check-ins are usually a healthy way to see how each other is doing, handle any urgent questions and build up a level of trust and habit. Weirdly, in one job interview they asked if I was willing to mentor junior devs. I said yes, they hired me, but the subject never came up after that. In another, the topic never came up at all, nobody approached me for mentoring at the job, but my management later hassled me about missing their expectations about it.

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