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Senior Developers/Architects should be teachers

Oct 27

Written by:
Monday, October 27, 2008 10:17 PM  RssIcon

Have you ever asked a senior developer for help?  What did they do?  Were they actually helpful or did they just talk over your head? 

I think to climb the corporate ladder, "teaching" should be a mandatory skill!  Unfortunately not too many companies value teaching as an asset.

Have you ever asked a senior developer for help?  What did they do?  Were they actually helpful or did they just talk over your head? 

I think to climb the corporate ladder, "teaching" should be a mandatory skill!  Unfortunately not too many companies value teaching as an asset.

You should be able to drive from afar to help solve someone’s problem.  What's that mean?  You should not have to commandeer their keyboard to flip through menus and type out commands at lightning speed.  You should be able to patiently guide them to where you want them to go.

This does five things

  • Respects their computer/space/person
  • Leaves them in control of the situation
  • Helps to build their confidence in solving similar problems in the future
  • Helps to build team moral
  • Doesn’t spread germs

In my past, I’ve seen sr devs do just that, even push the developer aside, exercising their authority over more jr devs fixing their issue in seconds but having LASTING negative impressions.  Not only does it degrade moral it’s just disrespectful.

So if you want to practice being a senior developer, try guiding someone to the solution without touching the computer.  Point on the screen but don’t touch (oily finger prints are nasty for high resolution monitors).  Tell them the menus to select, the commands to type out and be patient as they find them on the screen.  You know what to look for, heck, you even know WHERE to look for it, maybe tell them after a pause if they’re still not able to locate the Tools menu option in a sea of fifteen open browser windows.

Good luck!

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