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Marc Nevin
Marc Nevin

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How Do You Support Remote Juniors?

With the recent news, a few of us are trying to encourage more remote working across the team and company, we've broad support and every day we're seeing more people moving remote!

A few of us have been reading up on some good practices, reading some people's experiences and a pretty good books on it!

But something we're trying to understand is how we best support Juniors. Our team is currently pretty junior; from apprentices to graduates, this can mean they need a fair degree of support, from advice and direction to whiteboarding out problems with them.

We want to make sure they continue to develop when we're not as easily accessible for just grabbing for 5 minutes while walking past.

What can we do to better support Juniors? Are there tools and techniques you have found that work well? What's your experience working with junior staff remotely?


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Discussion (13)

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bastianrob profile image
Robin

VSCode Live Share to the rescue!

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jeikabu profile image
jeikabu

I use this to teach my nephew python. The shared terminal is gold.

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m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin Author

Ohhh never thought about the Built in terminal that could make some problem solving a whole lot easier!

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m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin Author

Ohhhh cool - well that'd definitely make pairing easier!

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danieleframpton profile image
Daniel Frampton • Edited on

As a current bootcamp student, I appreciate that you asked the question, Marc!

I am a fan of apps that explicitly offer time slots and ease the process of scheduling paired programming sessions. At Turing School in Denver, students built an app called Paired that lets students earlier in the program book paired programming sessions with students further along. The opt-in time slots are built around common down-time (before class, over lunch, or after class) to reduce obstacles to arranging a meeting. While it was designed for in-person meetings, after the recent restrictions we simply shifted to using it to plan remote sessions.

I've also been helping students arrange "rock-and-pebble" peer mentoring relationships between students, which provides students early in the program someone they feel explicit permission to ask for help or advice from. We've seen this be helpful particularly for people who are uncertain about whether they're asking the "right questions" and struggle to open up to instructors or mentor figures.

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m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin Author

Ohhh thanks for sharing Daniel, this all sounds great!

Helping arrange slots with their mentors is a super idea, apprentices have mentors who are the year above them but I don't think they end up contacting each other that much, maybe encouraging them to take the time will help,

All this makes me think myself and some of the others could offer some "office hours" to the newest staff giving them the opportunity to ask whatever they want or even just have a chat like they could in the office!

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burkeholland profile image
Burke Holland

Another thing you can do is to help them get their environment configured correctly by utilizing Remote Development in VS Code; specifically the container-based one...

code.visualstudio.com/docs/remote/...

Sometimes "works on my machine" is half the battle.

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m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin Author

Ohh that's a very good shout, might be worth us even just using that for PoC's in future!

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thatonejakeb profile image
Jacob Baker

I work with juniors remotely almost all the time. Usually it is a case of chatting over Slack, then if something needs further explanation or discussion I'll switch to Skype and screenshare. Nothing particularly exciting and that tends to cover most issues!

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m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin Author

If it works, it works!

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ronsoak profile image
ronsoak

Be flexible with what you would normally do. We're all WFH and I have one new staff member and a grad to try and support (both in different cities). One of them made the comment that the test questions and test exercises we run them through in our induction program just felt extra boring when doing them from home and I 100% get that, when you're new you want to feel like your part of the team. If your learning in the office its one thing, but learning at home makes it worse. So we decided to mix in some actual work with the training exercises just to give them some work that has an impact.

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m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin Author

Good advice - we're looking at our training away currently!

We've a similar issue in some of the team are just finding it hard to focus on "not real work" when not in the office... problem is some asked to upskill in areas we don't have projects / content around - rattling my brain at some way to keep them engaged!

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123467945465 profile image
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123467945465

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