Choosing to mentor junior developers is exciting, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to get started. Here are a few tips for being a good mentor.
Boost Their Confidence
Even the most experienced developer gets imposter syndrome. Be a person they can talk to when they don’t think they can hack it as a developer.
Help Guide Their Career Path
Talk them through their career path and goals for future jobs. Maybe they are unsure if they want to be a front end or a back end dev – discuss the differences and give them information so they can make an educated decision.
This one sounds easy but can be quite difficult sometimes. Be available to them when they need you. This may mean setting up a weekly coffee meeting or just being available on a shared Slack team of some kind.
Share Resources With Them
When you are browsing the internet or Twitter, consider articles and content that may benefit them and share them. You don’t know what you don’t know – they may overlook something because they don’t know they should learn it.
Similar to sharing resources, share any good book titles you may know of with them. Depending on your finances, books also make really great mentee Christmas gifts.
Give Them Working Coding Examples
Many people need to do in order to learn. Give them working coding examples, ideally heavily commented, so they can dig through them and see how they are working.
Live Coding Sessions
Offer to live code with them. Working on a project, real or not, together will help them think through why you chose one method vs the other, as well as allow them to contribute and feel like a developer. If you can use a small part of an actual project, even better!
Offer to review code they have written. Never tell them they did something wrong – instead ask them their thought process when making decisions and encourage them to think of other ways to attack the problem.
Lead a Study Group
If you are up for it, lead a small study group with a few developers. You can help more people at one time and the junior developers have peers they can relate to. Power in numbers.
This blog post is part of a series of blog posts called A Guide to Mentoring Junior Developers.