Editorial Rss

Be a Mentor

A tweet from Scott Hanselman pointed me to a blog, and a series of tweets targeted on mean behavior to immature commitments of code to open source projects. A blog was posted regarding mean responses to newbie commit requests, where the person in charge would accuse the individual of doing a bad job, and wasting their time.
I reminded that this isn’t a problem only in Open Source software. As Scott said, there are lot more amateurs learning to write software than there are seasoned individuals. I’ve been writing software since 1985. Just this week I learned new techniques for working with Entity Framework. My point is, we never stop learning. Every day I learn a lot. What I learn is how much I don’t know. 

For me, it feels like anyone coming down on another professional for their lack of skill, is probably coming down on themselves as well. There are going to be areas where they have no expertise.

What I think is important is to learn re-usable techniques. Version Control, software patterns, software design principles are all things transferable for your entire career. Learn to estimate, manage your projects, and collaborate with others. The better you become at these things, the more you are able to extend your skills in areas where you are not a power professional.

With rare exceptions, you learned from others, directly, or indirectly. Be the mentor. The only exception I can find in this logic is, when working with people who have no desire to do excellent work. Someone who does sloppy work, not out of ignorance, but by being lazy, is not worth your effort. Don’t waste your time.

I can be wrong, or off track. Tell me how. Leave a comment, or drop an email to