Learning any technical subject has a learning curve. For a self-directed student, it can be daunting to begin wrapping his or her brain around a large new body of knowledge. While internet provides plenty of free resources, it’s hard to make a cognitive jump in programming without investing in a fasttrack method, unless one wants to spend years perfecting one art. For those focused on fast prototyping, learning new tech and new concepts, code mentoring might be the answer.
About Code Mentoring
There are plenty of great resources available for the vast majority of technical subjects, from online tutorials, through user forums, to printed books. What our customers tell us is that this approach works, but has several drawbacks:
- New concepts could be hard to grasp by learning them through static text in a book
- It’s easy to get stuck in a rat hole, spending hours or even days on trivial problems
- When working on practice projects, there is no exposure to common patterns or best practices. There is no feedback loop
- At the end of the day, there’a gap between someone who read a book on a subject and built their first app and an engineer who is ready to ship production quality code
Code mentoring fills in the blanks left by other learning methods. It usually comes after some basic knowledge has been assimilated, and when developers are looking to start building products in this new technology. Unsurprisingly, most code mentoring sessions are centered around building a feature that covers the various aspects of programming that the developer wants to learn.
What Makes a Great Code Mentor?
Code mentors fulfill the role of a teacher, so in addition to having the right skills and experience, the ability to deliver abstract concepts in a clear and intuitive manner is one of the most important traits for code mentors. Look for someone with great communication skills, lots of patience, and obviously, great programming credits (open source code, employment history, speaking engagements, etc).
What Does a Code Mentoring Session Look Like?
Code mentoring sessions can take many forms. In some cases, the customer shows some code and asks for help in rewriting it and understanding how to make it better. In other instances, the customer and expert start from scratch and write some code together that helps the code mentor explain the key concepts. It’s important to get a good understanding of the customer’s needs, and to plan the mentoring session accordingly. This is one of the areas where AirPair is directly involved in the matching process in order to ensure that the customers get a well-structured and pre-planned mentoring experience. So, if you’re looking to pick up some new knowledge, or have some questions about best practices, submit your request for a code mentoring session.