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Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

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How Can We Mentor New Coders Without Overwhelming Them?

Starting out in the world of coding can be overwhelming. So, how can we provide effective guidance and support to budding programmers without stifling their independence? Share your thoughts and experiences on what you've found to be successful strategies for mentoring new coders without overwhelming them. Let's learn from each other and empower the next generation of developers!

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Top comments (8)

ryencode profile image
Ryan Brown

Foster the notion of Play in code.

Try out small projects (hyper-small!) to figure something out,
Notice some weird behaviour? Replicate it in the tiniest way possible and learn the ins and outs of it!

Make something cool with it... floating point inaccuracy? plot it to the screen and observe the pattern.

Play leads to learning, :D

bbutlerfrog profile image
Ben Butler

200% this! Let/help new developers find tools that they enjoy using and that produce "results" quickly. Show off step debugging tools for your stack that give new developers data from a few lines of code. It's exciting to see a big response from a few lines of code! If you're at an organization, contribute to a development environment that gets everyone up and running really quickly with as versatile a set of tools you can muster.

giuliano1993 profile image

This is a dilemma I face almost every day, being a tutor in a coding academy. You've got to mentor them, teach them, let them notice when they're making mistakes or encourage the curious ones; all this without giving too many information to have them safe from the risk of being overwhelmed.
I think that basically it depends on the individual, some people get lost with really few informations, other don't ever have enough and can handle a scary amount of informations. When you mentor someone I think the first and most important thing is to get to know the person behind the dev. That way you can make yourself an idea of the amount of information and "stress" that person can handle, then you can focus on the amount of teachings you can give and, maybe, on some way to increase his/her overwhelming-resistance :)

darkterminal profile image
Imam Ali Mustofa

As a Software Freestyle Engineer that have Character-driven Code approach to learn new things, mentoring new coders can be approached in a way that balances guidance and support while empowering their independence. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  1. Establish a supportive environment: Create a safe and encouraging space where new coders feel comfortable asking questions and seeking assistance. Foster a culture of collaboration, where they can freely share their ideas and challenges without fear of judgment. Emphasize that mistakes are part of the learning process and provide constructive feedback to help them improve.

  2. Set clear expectations and goals: Clearly define the expectations and goals for the mentoring relationship. Discuss what the new coder hopes to achieve and what areas they would like guidance in. This helps to align both parties and ensures that the mentoring process is focused and purposeful, without overwhelming them with an excessive amount of information.

  3. Break down complex concepts: Start with simple, foundational concepts and gradually build upon them. Avoid diving into complex topics right away, as it can be overwhelming for beginners. Break down complex concepts into smaller, more manageable parts and explain them in a clear and concise manner. Use analogies or real-life examples to make the concepts more relatable and easier to grasp.

  4. Provide hands-on projects and challenges: Engage new coders in practical coding exercises and projects that align with their interests and skill level. Hands-on experience is crucial for learning and retaining knowledge. Assign small projects that gradually increase in complexity, allowing them to apply what they've learned and gain confidence. Be available to offer guidance and support as they work through these projects.

  5. Encourage independent problem-solving: Foster independent problem-solving skills by encouraging new coders to explore and find solutions on their own. Guide them towards relevant resources such as documentation, online tutorials, or coding forums. Teach them how to effectively search for answers and troubleshoot issues, which promotes self-reliance and critical thinking.

  6. Offer regular check-ins and feedback: Schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress and provide feedback. This helps to ensure that new coders stay on track and receive timely guidance. Offer constructive feedback that highlights their strengths and areas for improvement. Celebrate their accomplishments and provide encouragement to boost their motivation.

  7. Be a role model and share experiences: Share your own coding experiences, including challenges you faced and how you overcame them. This helps new coders realize that setbacks are normal and part of the learning process. By sharing your own journey, you inspire them and provide valuable insights that can guide their own growth.

Remember, every new coder is unique, and mentoring approaches may need to be adjusted based on their individual needs. By fostering a supportive environment, breaking down complex concepts, providing hands-on experience, and promoting independent problem-solving, we can mentor new coders without overwhelming them, empowering them to become confident and skilled developers.

luciacenetiempo profile image
Lucia Cenetiempo

Mentoring new coders should be seen as a guiding role rather than an imposition. It's important to create a supportive environment where they feel empowered to explore and learn at their own pace. Encourage autonomy by providing resources and allowing room for experimentation. Foster open communication and actively listen to their needs and concerns. Together, we can help new coders thrive and grow in the coding world. Do you agree?

vsaulis profile image
Vladas Saulis • Edited

A lot to read and try, try, try... Teach them to learn themselves.

manchicken profile image
Mike Stemle

Self direction is how I achieve this. If the mentee is directing their own path, they then have the tools to manage their own mental load.

yet_anotherdev profile image
Lucas Barret

The things ,that helps me the most, is to accept failure.
At first, you do not understand anything and it is normal. Just keep trying and trying it will become natural at some point !