Technical Onboarding, Training, and Mentoring

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Technical Onboarding, Training, and Mentoring
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With the increase of code academies training new engineers there is an increase in junior engineers on the market. A lot of companies are hesitant to hire too many young engineers because they lack sufficient resources to train them.
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and I don't know and and and and and and the thing is yes so for those of you who were at the last stop thank you for your loyalty if all yeah I talk about technical ongoing training and mentoring outside and I can be quite as funny it's a linear talk on my god choose your own adventure story last time and this was originally a joint torque that was given a pipeline I'm keen Huddleston that's my Twitter handles you can you Tweet thought that me and a software engineer at run scope we make these 3 church that everything is going to be 200 OK and if you want 1 of them you can combine the afterwards and in the cost common was originally my co-presenter she's a software engineer and EventBrite and I forgot which 1
of these 2 people is higher but basically gold Nicola came together to create this topic because we had similar experiences that separate companies nuclear all all went to happen Academy and went to that right right afterwards I went to a small set of out of college and about the most active companies we there wasn't any onboarding I I'm mostly worked accompanies the smaller than 12 people wanna join so I'm going is not a huge priority about a year later I had gained some confidence many skills like real real-world skills and what happened I thought this and things that we can do even a small start-ups to make the onboarding experience Better to make to make it easier for people to get up to speed at your company without having a huge overhead without having to build these massive ongoing programs that they have a large companies but so what
is on boarding for the purposes of this talk on learning as a definition is going to be the act of taking someone from outside of the
company the team whatever group of people it is and making them a productive independent and confident member of your team this on the site like if all employees were productive and confident independently that some like a really great engineering environment eventually that is the case a lot of times I mention a blog posts with me the other day with their thoughts and onboarding news like card company is trying to change onboarding so that it's not so much about letting someone on fire and then telling them define rather than slow the more welcoming so that's good so that through these 3 things for productivity independence in confidence productivity is pretty simple as about creating efficient employees this has to do with giving them the tools to write code deployed code understand how features get built basically get their jobs done independence metonymy is actually huge a tiny I have been autonomous agents is really important to people the greatest motivations in fact come through things that we choose for ourselves the and that have for this is in prisons they discovered that the time is really important so when people are in prison environment a lot of their rights and abilities to do things are removed this leads to riots dissatisfaction many things that you would think would happen so what they do and prisoners is they give them the right to choose the channel and the given the right to move the furniture around and this little bit of autonomy and visibility to choose for themselves what they get to do even though it's very small reduce prison riots significantly so basically you introduce ride accompanied by giving people the ability to choose the TV channel confidence confidence is about creating employees who believe that they are valuable and the 1 belief is actually really really important so that people think they might think arrogance enabling confidence they I think a lot of things but this belief in your value to the company is paramount in this is very much a human thing this doesn't really have to do with computers this just has to do with creating an environment for companies feel so they can enact change and that they are capable of enacting change the so this probably is really important also they did a study so how many of you have heard of the concept of stereotype effect this the stereotypes I see no OK so this is effect works like this the that's stereotypes in the world visions that map women about computers and what they found is that before the tests test something things like physics or math but they do as they reminded 1 group of the stereotype of women are bad at math men about the mass is in the better at math than all those groups and what they found was when they reminded people of the stereotypes people performed to the stereotype if they didn't tell anyone at all people performed in a controlled setting and then the 3rd but they did as if they told people that their ability to do on the test came from these in sort of intrinsic motivators like if you work hard you'll be good at math if you think about like your own personal qualities that's helpful what happened was they saw everyone's performance improved and there is actually no difference across these different lines so the side effect is really important this belief that you're good at something or not in and what's funny is just being told that you are good this might actually change a performance had many of I'm
not all by the here so you probably care about technical onboarding in training at your company maybe you have to hire a bunch of new engineers of college maybe you have a bunch of interns coming on board and you're like terrified because what are you gonna do with all those in terms
this is they should care about when thinking about onboarding there's the individual orders the company there's the team and then there's also a banner section on diversity on line is really important for the individual the cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1 . 5 2 2 x the salary if someone is after the wrong for your company if they're not happy if they never get up to speed if they never feel autonomous confident and productive at your company the probably gonna lose them and that's really expensive so having that I'm ongoing to just getting everyone off to a good start is really important for individuals get going upwards like this and it builds their skills their confidence the happiness the the next 1 is the company on is really important for the collective productive productivity of the company and the anecdote for this 1 is at LinkedIn for about linked and was actually losing productivity for every engineer that was added to the team and this was a huge crisis that actually to bring in some new executives some new managers and they're like we have to stop hiring like adding engineers to our team is actually decreasing their productivity this to the nightmare of what you really want something like this we want every new engineer reactivity to increase productivity so went and had to do this massive reorganization they had to do a whole bunch of getting rid of some things adding something's adding on onboarding and training and basically streamlining everything so the new engineers could come in and be productive so on learning and having unwitting early is went to stave off some of these problems that you may run into later team so we talk a lot about technical that how many people have talked about or heard about the term technical that now you want to build something really fast you can cut corners and then 6 months later you like 0 crap we have to rebuild this out we have a lot of blogs this is completely unattainable nobody knows how to change the system was similar the steam that if you are out of engineers really fast really thoughtlessly even at something like this happening everyone's running in a different direction and since people are the most important component for building software and this is really really detrimental you want something that's more like this obviously so this is my favorite equation that I've ever made up the story behind this equation and I have a lot of sports anecdotes because I sports for long time and a codes for a long time but in college when I was done playing I actually coach Javier go swimming in water polo so did you wanna go very new most of the rules can swim they confer about our continent very basic skills and playing for game with like all 7 players on the field was and others like you know anyone we soccer and all the kids come like chase the ball around and like that and so I need a man did was just basic skills but the other half was kind of the emotional team-building part granting them as as they look you're going to win games in your ability to do well at the sport even at this very introductory level is the sum of your talent multiplied by your ability to work together as a team of some of the people on the team do have a lot of natural talent there and to work really hard to build the skills but that's fine because of their focus a lot on working together they focus on getting things done as a cohesive unit big actually beat teams that had more collective talent but didn't work together quite as well actually see this in software engineering a lot of the most popular tools out there were built by teams of less than 10 gene for example was built by making of like 5 to 7 people it's maintained by like a team of over 400 engineers so you can get that done collectively as a small group in terms of productivity in terms of building really cool products without having super talented engineers say I work really well together a lot of mediocre engineers can do more than a few talented engineers repair nostrils by the bonus section diversity so that it also diversity as features of the story of features at a Doctor Seuss book there's the start of speech is a non-starter leads teachers and it's the story about the rift that's caused in the community of features based on those who would start bellies and those who did not have star bellies and I use it represent diverse because they were seeking a lot of things 1 is the classic ones there's gender and racial diversity is also things like introverts forces extroverts and communication styles are no philosophical backgrounds cultural backgrounds the don't have to do with race that have to do with how you were brought up so the mostly can mean a lot of things that companies and has iversity but critical and onboarding a really useful tool for increasing diversity when this happens is this if you have no onboarding the people coming into the company are going to rely on the existing social structures to get up to speed so that means whatever the original group of people as they probably have a way that they talk about things that probably have certain social and they do they probably look fairly similar and if someone comes and there was like that was able to communicate is able to go out with them was able to connect with this core group based on these existing social structures then do better than someone who's not like the original group because when you have we have no ongoing is not no 1 onboarding you have ongoing that relies on the social structures that you have in place so creating an onboarding program that's slightly more structured slightly more explicit will benefit people who are different people who don't naturally speak the way that people at your company RT speak that don't naturally wanna do the types of activities that people your company wanted to because not everyone wants to go out drinking at 10 PM on tuesday nite if you have a really young party oriented company so you need them on a fair chance because very talented people who look very different from each other
cooking on board anyone can onboard and this is
a team of people carrying a new this is not a group of agents carrying a top just so you know I jollies myself by the way not a very good artist and anyone can on board and in fact on should be a collective effort this distributes the load 1 person alone find on what everyone is gonna bring them out similarly as talking to someone about mentorship so as a 0 you have to have a lot of experience to mentor and depending on the type of mentoring you doing that's true but going from junior engineered a senior engineer is not a one-step process involves going from junior engineer to less junior engineer to last year engineered to making the double engineer deciding whether double engineer to pay or I I can think I get this now and so having someone who is very experienced who can guide the overall path is important but some of the best people to mental or in train your new junior engineers are ones who just it the Minister of empathy for what it's like to take that step they don't understand the problems that they're running into they're going to actually care about what this person is doing and the more senior you get in the further away from that you get the last and that the that you have for people and in fact we all know this year engineers are toll curmudgeons like everything's gonna break and then going to highlight underlie we care come into work everyday Eugenia's like another awful I'm so excited about what I'm doing it the 1 I'm insights as soon as offer is
accepted basically online is not just about teaching someone the skills they need to be successful at your company is about bringing another human being into a group of human beings so making someone feel welcome figuring out how to integrate them into the team must start as soon as as they decided to come on board I'm learning roughly ends when someone is reliably independent and this can mean different things to different companies my left a kind of vague on purpose but the idea of a junior engineer at least is that we bring them into the company and kind of a common problem is that when the reliably independent we can give them tasks and trust that they're going to come up with a semi reasonable solution in a semi reasonable amount of time and we can manage that effectively the so that
section that we're going to go through now it is a little bit philosophically about how to do this but also gonna go through some concrete examples and ideas for how you can build a onboarding program at your company the 1st thing to think about when onboarding people is to maximize the return on investment and this might seem somewhat callous but at the end of the day why would you wanna maximize the return on investment you don't put a ton of resources into something and get left out of it then you put in that doesn't even make sense it's a really really common pitfalls mentors especially 1st time and tossed so if you have people on board in junior engineers at your company and never on board it's someone we essentially have is you have a junior meant or mentoring a junior engineer that you have someone who's never done this before they don't know what's going on I lot talking to people were forced enters that I can be the best onboarding meant for ever we do everything together we take these courses were just going and it by the time done these 3 months the know everything I know and that's how realistic because people only absorb information certain rates also your expertise has to do with the number of issues that you've seen at 6 times over time you see more issues is all that we fix them so people are going to grow at the rate they're going to grow you can help me that better hope focus the path we are not going to make them into a senior engineer overnight In this sense of burnout mental so people do this they burn themselves out in 3 months was exhausting teaching someone and then the like I can or again for another year newcomers like will appear OK because we can't hire anymore junior engineers like we don't have anyone to train them instead of like to think of it as bumper bowling to 1 of the talent of expertise as they are able to set boundaries you know the landscape you know everything about this arena so you can set boundaries you can scope problems you can figure out exactly what needs to be done and exactly what doesn't need to be done June engineers by definition I'm not good at scoping they don't know what the boundaries are so what you need to do is set then for the junior engineers but billing is a good example you just use the numbers it's fine if they just had the bumper on each side going down they're still going in that direction and that's what we want to go beyond the handle them through the process you don't have to spend tons of time with them and then you can just create an environment where they can kind of messed up and learn on their own and you can come in and help them grow when that needs to happen so I'm learning plan this
3 major categories this technical knowledge company knowledge and process and personal development is about equal thirds for someone we tend to think that the technical knowledge is the most important thing in its people think it's like 80 per cent of what engineers do it's probably about a 3rd like another 3rd is the domain knowledge of that company how to build a feature at this company highlight ship code at this company had plane given deployment systems and personal about men like the confidence the autonomy all of those different things that's another 3rd people tend to think that skills are the confidence follow skills in fact it's usually the reverse people who were confident will gain skills in a much more rapid rate than people who lack confidence OK we want to make 1 should be pretty simple for new engineers that environment setup is really important thing that you can do to help new engineers just automate as many tools as possible the no animation the better 1 maintainability the better as engineers that is 1 of the best thing we can do for people process is make sure that a lot of these things are automated so shipping code as well as shipping code is really well automated it's super easy for you to ship code is getting easy to bring someone even someone who's junior onboard and get to a place where they can ship code it so for environments again automation have the last person who accepted that environment helped the new person they know the pitfalls they just didn't they just had to go through setting up the development environment you don't need a senior engineer you don't need someone who knows a lot about and of some other random thing this is that environment set up so the last person who joined does that environments have ships now changes as soon as possible if you can have someone deploy on the 1st day that ofthem that means you've really got automation tools then journaling in note taking have them start taking notes 3 things that he had they learn this week for junior engineers this is going to be really important and they're probably not in a lot of things in you're gonna be surprised at what they do and don't know so having them take notes that you can talk about once a week is really great and finally a social event and on actually a really good activity even for people who were not you a so so that is just we're gonna hang out and the learned everyone on my immediate teens name because how when ask a question really nice to know that person's name and and feel more comfortable talking to the other people in 19 is a huge amount of what you need when you're new regardless of level is just the ability to go talk to someone else annuity I need to meet even certainly more information at your new engineer of the 1st week is so overwhelming a lot of times that things just go in 1 ear and out the other so I recommend doing history of the company and map of 2nd week so this on the company where the
company come from why was it started for the founders was the reason that it got here with some of the pitfalls that happened along the way what we target the markers the targets entity map which seems really simple but just given giving them a map like this is bob bob sits over there but is really good at as he deals about our asynchronous task use and so go talk to him about that for like so and so is really good at building full fully fledged future products they have a great design sense but they're also good at building front features so knowing those things is super helpful the new engineers shadowing encode bands are good activities to get started the 2nd or 3rd week challenges with sounds like have them sit down with someone who's more senior the mid-level or senior but everyone a dual and watch with that other person does what kind of keyboard shortcuts to the use whatever batch commands to they use what is that past men do why are they doing all the things that they're doing they can learn and absorb a lot of information just by watching other people from our you know once a week or every day if you wanna be really aggressive collapse of something that was sort of an event by basically it's kind of like the new engineer AMA so it's the safe status emphasis on the word safe No judgment the questions are not stupid and it's totally fine if they wanna ask concepts that might seem really beginner but they can just ask 1 of the engineers at your company anything so you can rotate take the engineers people with different expertise can come in but really what you want 1st for the person running a code that is someone who makes people feel safe again if people are terrified of asking questions that I'm going to ask questions with 3 now I said to get into some of the higher level stuff 1 one's goal-setting feedback presentations 1 ones most companies have told about and the idea that you need to do these now but weekly 1 a really important emphasis on weekly having channels for feedback for easy communication is so important if someone runs into an issue the overhead for telling someone who's more senior about this problem that they run into is really high having to schedule a meeting to give someone bad news is 1 of the worst thing that anyone has to deal so creating these channels for constant feedback is really important even if every week they're like and doing great I really nothing to talk about that's totally fine this is still a really good thing to do sitting in the back in might seem really silly in simple and kind of like 2nd grade when your goals for this but I people are oriented may do really well if they said Goals in the next 3 months I would like to learn more about how to build features in Java scripts in the next 6 months I really like to learn how to build the API layer for the features that I built in JavaScript it presentations that effort on something is to teach at this has been proven over and over again so force to new engineers to 5 minute presentations on topics I we represent and regular expressions tells everything that you can figure out about regular expressions this representation on them teach us regular expressions and at the end of that presentation don't know how use regular expressions but way I give this talk at rails can't which is and told wouldn't even think about what I've written on the slide here but most people then came up and they're like you do know that that was in Python right like the gap I was after they noticed we for we can answer review concepts check regular regularly elected shadowing consider co-pilot compiling a larger project so basically now you just kind of silly getting set into like a rhythm you would be able to check in with them you want them to feel so they can talk to you shadowing can become elective hopefully they have enough confidence now to say I wanna show that personal and that thing and go set it up themselves combining a larger project is a little bit like drivers said that they can
use the someone is much more senior but the singer person really has an emergency brake on their side so they can give them tasks action that led to do it is if you put them with some of his more senior they do all but the ground tasks the senior person that I wanna do all these and grant tasks that are too trivial for them but just work that has to get done that is really valuable learning for someone his junior it never seen any of it before so it's exciting so MIT is really great pairings of some of its very senior and someone is very junior present run around in all the grunt work in super excited about it and seeing a person is thrilled they don't have to do the grunt work anymore it that beyond yeah that online is done well hopefully this comes in it's really easy you just check in on progress you Taylor projects encode labs to their needs you start doing informal apprenticeships and you start doing assessment and hope for those assessments are positive apprenticeships Macedo although if I talked about just being taken under someone's weighing the best way to learn is from imitating someone who's really good at something that they find the best you have athletes athletes were put under someone who's like really good and much more experience of the sport will learn it at a faster rate so just because some people who are good at this they can watch and imitate follow if you put them with someone who is has bad practices and I've seen this happen and it's a pet peeve of mine if you put them as someone who see here but who has really bad practices and their junior person picks up those bad practices and you punished the junior person for the bad practices that they picked up from the person that you pair them with that is a really bad experience so a lot of times you at senior engineers get away with behavior that we would like junior engineers get away with be cognizant of that so it's not that bad practices familiar engineers might be passing on to junior engineers and don't punish them for it just explain to them why that's bad put them as someone who has a really good practice in that area assessment is really important people's trajectories the wildly different some people like and you are and should say that some people are gonna plateau some people are going to be really up and down so I a plan for
assessment is important as we said before technical ability is not the only category to assess this competences code quality communication judgment technical knowledge judgment is 1 of the bigger ones it's slightly more difficult to assess but if you can hire people who have great judgment you can trust them to do things even if their religion here that are going to be good in the example of this is 1 of my friends at his is also the last company I was that she worked in support for a long time and she taught herself engineering on the side so when she 1st of engineering by every definition she which is very junior engineering but she knew the product inside and out to the customers inside and out and she knew exactly what needed to be built in any given situation knowledge had excellent judgment so the giver tasks tasks that I mean they're pretty simple but she may take a little bit longer on what she came back to me with a feature that she had built as I guess this exactly solves the problem that we want to solve this is often you say the all time conversely engineers a bad judgment will build terrible things very quickly for your site and like none of these domains that merely taking code out so judgment is something that's really really great if you can find someone and a time to assess but I recommend that is something to look for junior engineers yeah but the
main takeaways online aims to make new tech team members continent productive and independent if you focus on these 3 things and you really try to get people to that place you have successful engineers most of the time it benefits everyone in the long run the individual gain skills the company is more productive the team is more productive and diversity is better your company and finally anyone can be involved in onboarding so you don't have to be super senior getting everyone involved will spread out below it will make it easier on where new engineers and 1st order to don't have resources is going make it possible to hire junior engineers and instances to instigate great engineers at your company stealing them making them it's good to have channels for making engineers and you know in