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Becoming a mentor, why and how?

Becoming a mentor, why and how?

I've been actively mentoring developers in the past few years, in this talk I'd like to go over how I went from a position of being mentored to being the mentor, what mistakes I made along the way and what I learned. We will also respond to the false statement of "mentoring is a waste of time" and look at some key points such as:
- mentoring, not micromanaging
- creating a safe space where it's okay to make mistake
- identifying areas that can be improved and coming up with a plan
- developing a culture around pair programming

Talk given at Droidcon Berlin 2021 & Android Makers 2022

Florian Mierzejewski

October 22, 2021
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Transcript

  1. Becoming a mentor

    Why and how?

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  2. Florian
    Mierzejewski
    Senior Android Engineer


    @Trade Republic


    -


    Berlin, Germany

    2

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  3. Trade Republic
    •We believe everybody
    should have easy, fast and
    free access to capital
    markets.


    •Save money and build your
    wealth with personal
    savings plans on ETFs and
    stocks – all free of
    commission.


    •We are a tech company with
    a banking license.

    3

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  4. What is mentoring
    •Learning relationship
    between an experienced
    person (mentor) and
    someone who wants to grow
    (mentee)


    •In software engineering it’s
    usually a more senior
    engineer that mentors a
    more junior engineer


    •Probably something you are
    already doing to some extend
    or received in the past

    4

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  5. Why mentoring?

    5

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  6. Why mentoring?
    • Mentees have a fresh outlook on the project


    • Helping the mentee by serving as a link to the rest of the
    team


    • Industry-wide lack of developers, worse at the senior level


    • Giving back to the community, remember when you started
    your career?


    • Building long lasting professional relationships

    6

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  7. Where do I start?

    7

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  8. First catch-up
    •Making the mentee feel at
    ease, joining a new company
    is stressful


    •Setting the expectations for
    the
    fi
    rst few months


    •It’s ok if mistake happens,
    it’s even expected


    •There is no such thing as a
    “stupid” question

    8

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  9. Going over the codebase
    together
    • What is the history?


    • What are some of the most important components?


    • What issues do we have at the moment, how do we plan on
    addressing them?


    • Depending on the questions that are asked (or not!) it is a
    good
    fi
    rst glimpse into where the mentee might lack
    knowledge


    • Asking about what they are interested to learn / want to get
    better at

    9

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  10. First tasks
    •Company onboarding,
    reading wiki and
    documentation


    •Going through the codebase,
    writing down everything
    they don’t understand /
    want to chat about.


    •Going through all open PRs
    and asking questions


    •Learning plan

    10

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  11. Keep it going

    11

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  12. Keep it going
    • A lot of pairing


    • Add pairing blocks in their calendar


    • Assign small bugs / maintenance tasks but nothing too vital /
    with a deadline on it


    • Time and patience

    12

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  13. Areas of growth
    •Solving skills


    •Soft skills


    •Organisational skills


    •Presenting skills

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  14. Solving skills
    • Writing / refactoring code step by step that always compile


    • Simplicity over “over-engineering”


    • Finding the best solution to a problem while taking into
    account constraints


    • Taking a step back

    14

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  15. Soft skills
    •Bringing someone up to
    speed in a timely manner


    •Participating e
    ff i
    ciently to
    meetings


    •Avoiding following blindly

    15

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  16. Organisational skills
    • Timeboxing


    • Using tools more e
    ff
    ectively


    • Healthy working habits

    16

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  17. Presenting skills
    •Writing a good PR
    description


    •Self-review


    •How small is too small and
    how big is too big


    •Commenting etiquette

    17

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  18. Things to keep in mind
    • Delivering constant feedback


    • Celebrating successes


    • Guiding but not telling them what to do


    • Adapting the pace of the mentorship as you go

    18

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  19. Zusammenfassung

    19

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  20. Conclusion
    •Creating a safe environment
    where the mentee can grow


    •Pairing is the best tool you
    have at your disposal


    •Always keep an eye open on
    what can be improved /
    what has been improved

    20

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  21. We’re hiring!

    https://traderepublic.com/careers

    21

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  22. Questions?

    22
    @
    fl
    orianmski

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