Re: Mentoring a Coworker



Be careful. You cannot mentor a person that is not eager to lean and put
all his/her energy into that. Furthermore there is a possibility that a
person is not
cut out for a job. For example I could never be a programmer.. I hate it.

You have to be VERY wise though, to distinguish between an person that is
not cut out for a task and a person that just has some obstacles. A good
mentor knows.

This person may be losing his time in programming.. he might make a fortune
in something else.. by having him around when he cannot produce, makes him
unhappy first and you cannot function as a company.

A mentor is not always polite. He uses various techniques to further a
persons development, and some of them are not comfortable at all for the
person learning.




"raisenero" <iveymi@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
news:1139566864.954388.159530@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Lately I've had a problem trying to mentor a co-worker. Strictly
speaking, it's not my job to mentor them. But if he doesn't get
better, the rest of us can't get real work done. I'm hoping someone
has some suggestions to approach this in as friendly a way as possible.
I don't want to have to approach our manager if there's some way we
can fix it. So far it's been a problem for about 2 months.

He lacks some of the most basic programming skills. He won't do things
like incremental compilation, design an algorithm, and in many ways
it's like he barely has basic computer skills (he routinely has no idea
where he just saved a file or what he named it so you can't even search
for it). I don't mean to insult him, casually speaking, he sounds like
a smart guy, but his job performance doesn't at all reflect his
portfolio or his stories about programming in his spare time.

The biggest problem is that he doesn't learn. We all constantly harp
on "incremental compilation", I mean constantly, two to three times a
day. Yesterday I told him multiple times that he should compile and
fix every single error after every function he writes. Another
co-worker asked him every half an hour or so "Did you compile?" and he
kept responding "Yes. No errors." After a 3 hour block goes by, he
asks for help because he has 100+ errors. There are errors as far back
in the file as the very first line (an import statement). 90% of the
errors are simple typos (missing braces, parentheses, etc.), things I
think any competent programmer can fix on their own, and aside from
that, our IDE highlights such errors as you type. Before, I thought
the problem might have been that I wasn't being clear about how
frequently to compile, so I thought saying "after every function" was a
concrete enough guideline but it didn't change.

A couple of us were thinking maybe we should make up a series of
notecard tips or something, give him a few books (like The Pragmatic
Programmer), and get him over to one of our houses on the weekend to
help him out. Do you think we're putting too much effort into helping
him? It's a hard choice, he's a nice guy, I don't want to just tell
the manager "You need to fire him." Thankfully we're in a low-pressure
job, we do research, we don't really have much in the way of time
limits and deadlines in our department so he's not really setting us
back very far. It's more like silent pressure. No one is 'saying'
anything about our recent lack of productivity, but the anxiety is
there just the same that any day now someone is going to be asking
questions about why we haven't produced anything lately.

I don't mean to sound like an elitist. When I first started here, I
know I made mistakes too. But I like to think I learned faster, that I
didn't need to be told dozens of times about the same thing. I'm just
uncertain, is this par for the course? It's my first programming job,
and the first time working with someone new (up until he came I was the
new guy). Is this just what it's like breaking in a new programmer?



.



Relevant Pages

  • Re: Software maintenance
    ... "I do not understand why this code doesn't compile". ... programmer WITHOUT having to go to the compiler to get a definitive ... ANY type can be thrown to a template and it is very difficult to test ... You are so full of shit Naiva, shame that since the death of Richard ...
    (comp.lang.c)
  • Re: Software maintenance
    ... "I do not understand why this code doesn't compile". ... In the C discussion group this kind of "reasoning" is seldom used because C is much more transparent and can be read by a seasoned programmer WITHOUT having to go to the compiler to get a definitive answer. ... and the cases where that can NEVER work aren't discovered by the developer but by the maintenance programmer that must figure out WHY the program took a completely unexpected path and crashed... ... ANY type can be thrown to a template and it is very difficult to test within the template if the given type is acceptable. ...
    (comp.lang.c)
  • Re: C-programmer needs Forth advice
    ... I have no idea what your "guarantee compile order" ... the clueless programmer would scratch their head and actually *read* the code and understand the conventions being used. ... top of each of the functions that is called, set a breakpoint, and set one at the end. ... Your comment about not having source code and third-party functions also doesn't make sense. ...
    (comp.lang.forth)
  • Re: Best way to implement default parameters
    ... The examples Dmitry posted for Ada would have the programmer explicitly ... E.g. is the caller required to mention the keywords, ... You recognize that "explicit values in the caller" has value, ... Which, then, could be either be bound to a specific look-and-feel at compile ...
    (comp.lang.misc)
  • Re: Cobol: Maximum number of FD Statements
    ... Subject: Cobol: Maximum number of FD Statements ... Programmer Analyst | Programmeur-analyste ... Human Resources and Skills Development Canada | Ressources humaines et ... Sounds more like a compiler problem than a compile problem. ...
    (bit.listserv.ibm-main)