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Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

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Brilliant Programmer vs. Excellent Communicator: Which Coding Mentor Would You Choose?

Choosing a coding mentor is a crucial decision for any aspiring programmer. What if you had to make a trade-off between a mentor who possesses exceptional programming skills but struggles with communication and a mentor who excels in conveying ideas but has average programming abilities? It's a dilemma many experienced coders have faced.

Which type of mentor would you prefer and why?

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Top comments (10)

booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan

I'm of the opinion that a brilliant programmer may not necessarily be a great communicator. But the likelihood of a great tech communicator also being a brilliant programmer is much higher - because you wouldn't be able to communicate effectively if you don't know your subject well.

So I'd choose an excellent communicator.

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (double agent) • Edited

It's a sad myth that people believe only experts can teach.
Actually experts are often not good at teaching,

  • because they don't remember the problems they were facing when they were young.
  • and also because pedagogy is a skill in itself they probably haven't learned.

Being good as pedagogy is more important than being good at the technical skill.
If you are good at pedagogy, you only need to be maybe two years in advance to your mentee to be useful to her.

arndom profile image
Nabil Alamin

Having a good communicator as a mentor was an invaluable asset at my prior workplace, the way he explained concepts which I couldn't grasp helped a lot with me catching up on the codebase, I don't think I would have done as well in my first few weeks if it was someone that assumed I might have known the basis or was harder to approach.

At the end of the day, I think its all about what kind of dev you are and the whether you and the mentor are compatible.

phlash profile image
Phil Ashby

why not both

theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

Junior developers will often benefit more from the effective communicator.

More seasoned developers likely can handle the rougher edges that a brilliant programmer would bring to a mentor relationship.

ebuka1anthony profile image
ebuka anthony

excellent communicator, feelings boost logic.

audreyevergreene profile image
EverGreene • Edited

Excellent communicator. I've had mentors who weren't good at communication or connecting with where I'm at, and sometimes I couldn't tell if they were brilliant engineers or not... or if I knew they were brilliant, it was very difficult to help them help me.

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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rachelfazio profile image
Rachel Fazio

Communicator all the way!

philipjohnbasile profile image
Philip John Basile

Communicator 100000%.