Creating Early Career Software Engineering Learning Cohorts

Red Rocks Park, Colorado

A Super Senior Growth Machine

Reattaching the start of the career ladder

Whitefish, Montana

Hiring is only half the battle

  • Surprisingly, most of the junior engineers didn’t know there were so many other new engineers like them (we had spread the hires throughout the organization).
  • Our documentation could be described as “for seniors by seniors”: lots of assumed knowledge and acronym soup.
  • It was very hard to know where to ask their questions compounded by feeling intimidated speaking in a Slack room full of folks they may not know.
  • Universally, they longed for more structured learning opportunities.

1. Creating a community of peers

2. Providing structured, relevant, hands-on skill building sessions

  • Provide self-study material. This is a combination of internal documentation, source code, and external articles on the topic.
  • We also include a set of self assessment questions (“What are some of limitations of in-memory caches?”)
  • Give a “take home” exercise. This should apply what they learned in the reading material to a realistic scenario. Examples have been “Extend this application to use our internal caching library” and “Remove the security vulnerabilities from this sample application”.
  • Hold a discussion with the group reviewing the readings and the exercise. Have a few engineers show off their code (get them building those presentation skills!)

3. Hold talks on “what they don’t teach you in school”

Wrapping Up

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20+ years in software. I write about leadership and managing managers. I add in travel photos for fun.

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Andrew Sidesinger

Andrew Sidesinger

20+ years in software. I write about leadership and managing managers. I add in travel photos for fun.

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