Kristijan Pušić | January 24th, 2024
Mentoring is a timeless teaching method, it has been with us since the beginning of time. Mentorship is defined by Google as the patronage, influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. Mentorship is changing with the rapid advancement of the IT industry. A big change we can see recently in the aftermath of covid is a greater amount of remoteness and how it has changed the way mentorship is provided. The impact of AI assistants and GenZ entering the workforce as full-time employees on the tech floor has changed mentoring forever. The use of video calls and various solutions that offer different types of online learning materials have played a positive role. Remote mentoring has become the norm.
The way the IT industry measures the speed and quality of software developers’ work has changed dramatically in recent years. Specialized software for tracking various engineering metrics, starting with Dora metrics, is on the market. The Devops transformation that followed Agile is already behind us and ingrained in the culture of IT companies. Engineering metrics software is making a big difference in the way developers’ work is valued. Such software solutions connect project code repositories and their events with task tracking solutions and display them in unified UI statistics dashboards. Topics that mentors and developers talk about are now linked to specific points in their project pipelines. It is easy to identify business needs and ways to accelerate the development process at different levels of the organization. Mentoring and business are working together to achieve the same goals. Business is happy! Performance management and related software solutions also make life easier for mentors. Combined with engineering metrics solutions, it makes a powerful duo in maximizing the speed and quality of software development and software developers’ careers.
The need for comprehensive and measurable competency matrices is nothing new in the IT world. The idea was that software, as mentioned above, would ideally remove the need for additional developer assessment. The inability of software to track a range of soft skills metrics proved to be a key reason for failure in this area. Code churn or code rework is a big step forward in maximizing code quality by measuring how often a piece of code is edited, but it does not solve not understanding coding patterns or breaking architectural guidelines by the developer. The need to measure and develop the soft skills of software developers has never been greater, nor has the need to know how and where to apply soft skills in real business situations. The need for the good old skills matrix and a human mentor to help.
The impact of emerging AI technologies has been big, Artificial Intelligence(AI) is a gamechanger for IT workers, but the need for a human mentor is still very much there. Chatgpt, Claude, Watson or Bart can all generate code snippets or even entire functions based on predefined rules and patterns. This can significantly speed up the development process, especially for repetitive or boilerplate code. It has definitely reduced the amount of time it takes a developer to develop some features, but it can’t replace the developer’s overall reasoning behind the project’s overall solution.
AI has become an extra tool for developers to use and an extra topic for mentors to praise. It is a lot of work for any company to organize that all developers equally use AI-consulted code in their solutions. Organizing valid AI workshops for developers makes the work of companies and mentors much harder these days. For a mentor to be on topic with the content he shares and really teach developers and make an AI change in their minds is a prerogative for himself.The merging of psychometrics and AI assistants is also a great help in dealing with software developers on a daily basis. We have already mentioned how tracking the soft skills of software developers is a must these days. The importance of a healthy HR department also plays a role in creating an inclusive working environment on the tech floor.
GenZ has entered developer tech offices, and the need to use comprehensive competency matrices to grade them has become a must when dealing with new, younger development teams. The need for gradual upskilling of developers has never been greater due to generational differences. Skills and competencies are what this generation expects from their organizations.
Gen Z employees want to be motivated by regular formal recognition of their efforts and achievements. As a mentor, you need to motivate your Gen Z employees by providing regular feedback and praise for their work. More importantly, mentors need to provide opportunities for growth and advancement. Without a comprehensive skills matrix and specialized software, this is unlikely to happen on a regular basis. HR departments are stretched to the limit to keep IT floors happy and satisfied.
The need to have internal mentors is a thing of the past. This is where Setronica sees an opportunity to offer mentoring as a service to companies or individual developers in need. The experience Setronica gained over the last quarter of a century is invaluable in today’s rapidly changing IT environment. Mentoring is all about experience and how to pass it on to mentees. Setronica’s longevity in the IT world and the opportunities to work with larger enterprise companies, coupled with the few emerging unicorns, has pushed us to gather the knowledge and pass on the skills we have learned to our own developers over and over again. Technical skills, together with a set of universal corporate culture values, is what we offer. This is what makes the Setronica Mentorship as a service programme a valuable offer to you.
Mentorship is always a challenge. The changes brought about by covid and the normal advances in the IT industry in the form of AI assistants and developer tracking systems make the life of a mentor easier and a little more complex. Far from being a bad thing, IT companies that use modern, effective mentoring will be ready for the new, different generations of developers and the expected advances in AI technology in the coming years. This is undoubtedly a good thing!
IT consultant and Business developer
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