If only I were

Building Great Software

Training and Mentoring

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One aspect of my current job that has been  rewarding is getting to train and mentor other people in my group. Years ago I did technical training as my full time job and I did reasonably well at it, but I learned that doing it full time wasn’t where my interest was.

Training and mentoring as a part of my full-time software developer position is more rewarding because I get to keep my fingers in code much of the time and am still able to invest in others in my group by teaching them skills that are necessary for our department to operate well.

Today I worked with a more junior developer teaching him how to really think about Mercurial and distributed source control. He’s been able to do basic push, pull, commit and summary commands for over a year, but he’s never deployed to production. So we walked through how to think about merges and how to read the TortoiseHg graph so he could see what happens as he goes to other branches, merges, commits and pushes his changes. After about  30 minutes of explaining the metaphor and the terminology, he started running with it on his own.

Over the last 5 years I’ve trained three graduate students to work on our web projects. Two students I trained for a year and another I trained for 2 1/2 years. They each started on our web projects with a wide range of skills and abilities. So the key was taking them where they were at and giving them the right amount of space and information to grow as fast as they could handle learning.

I have to admit that it can be a bit exhausting investing in people at that level and still developing software full time, but it is very rewarding to see them be able to use those skills in other settings and move onto other jobs.

In all of my future work I want to keep developing my ability to train and mentor others.


Written by Chris Sutton

April 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Technology

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