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What are the responsibilities of a programming mentor and what comes after being a senior developer?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

What would you say the responsibilities of a senior developer are when it comes to onboarding a junior developer? In your opinion, what comes after being a senior developer?

Paola Mata: I think mentorship is a really important part and it's expected, I think if you're a senior. At least it is at the companies where I've worked, that you have had some mentorship experience. As far as onboarding, I think it's something that ideally the entire team is contributing to. Even someone junior who comes in and says, "Hey, this particular piece was hard to understand." They're helping shape what the onboarding will look like for the next person. I think everyone should help onboard someone new. But as far as being a senior maybe... If it's been discussed with your manager before that you're going to be informally, basically mentoring, supervising somebody then yeah. It's definitely a responsibility to do so. Are there any specific questions related to that?

"As far as onboarding, I think it's something that ideally the entire team is contributing to. Even someone junior who comes in and says, "Hey, this particular piece was hard to understand." They're helping shape what the onboarding will look like for the next person."

Paul Hudson: Possibly we can move on though. Certainly what I like about onboarding folks is that it highlights again in my head, all the ugly corner cases in our built it app or whatever it is we're using. That you just take it for granted after three months, six months, nine months, "Oh yeah. That script fails every other time or whatever it is," or, "That machine has to be rebooted twice a week," whatever happens to be. You think you get used to over the years you were there perhaps. Whereas someone comes in, they say, "Why does that machine catch fire at two o'clock every day?" And it just brings it back to light again, these things you live with.

What do you think comes after senior developer and what do you think it takes to get there from senior developer?

"I worked with a lead who was mid level and who was leading more senior devs. So that's absolutely possible. I think for me, what I'm thinking is making more impact and making sure that I'm doing a good amount of mentorship."

Paola Mata: So this is the way I'm now where I'm deciding, do I want to go down the path of considering management? Or do I want to continue as more of an individual contributor? And the next role, there would be an engineer lead for my team, tech lead, whatever it's called. And that involves understanding what I'm gathering from our documentation and having spoken to a lot more people. Has to do with making some of the amount of impact you make, not just on your team, but across the org. So it involves a lot more like collaborating with other teams, maybe learning a little bit more about, for example, our platform scene, our shared libraries, our build system, and contributing to those in some way. Again, obviously there's some mentorship supervising going on there with the more junior devs. But I worked with a lead who was mid level and who was leading more senior devs. So that's absolutely possible. I think for me, what I'm thinking is making more impact and making sure that I'm doing a good amount of mentorship.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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