One-on-one mentorship is my way of implementing our third core principle at Zeal, Bridging The Gap. Remote pair programming is a satisfying and effective tool for raising up the skill levels of those around you.
Junior developers need time and mentorship with their senior and mid-level colleagues to develop. This can be passive in the form of pull request reviews, but is so much more effective in a one-on-one live format. My junior dev colleague and I stick to this format:
At a recent pre-quarantine conference, I was talking about my experiences with remote pairing with a small group of people. One person said “I’ve never done that before.”, so I handed them my business card. That person and I have paired on side projects on 3 separate occasions and have learned quite a bit from one another already!
You don’t need permission to do a remote pair programming session with a person you don’t know well. Be sure to use care when it comes to your private information and what you share on your screen.
The next time you see someone struggling with an issue at a conference, meetup or community Slack/Discord, give this a try!
I’ve recently had the opportunity to pair with a friend from high school who is one of two junior devs at a website design agency. Not all junior and early-career developers work in companies filled with potential mentors. As friend mentors, we can show isolated developers new techniques and tooling to adopt, and help get them unstuck on problems they haven’t experienced yet.
Please feel free to not repeat this list of mistakes I have made
A note about imposter syndrome: If you know anything about anything, there is definitely a person that knows less than you about something, and that person can absolutely benefit from your help regardless of the ‘Junior’ or ‘Senior’ next to your title. All of the progress I have made as a developer has come from learning directly from all of colleagues and teams that I have worked with as a consultant.
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