Archive for January, 2010

Why I <3 Being A Bootcamp Mentor

January 7, 2010

Most mentors serve 2 rounds of duty before moving on. I think I’m on my 5th round now.

It’s so enjoyable helping someone that really wants to be helped. I’m always happy if I can leverage 5 minutes of my time to save a bootcamper several hours of frustration.

Fielding n00bs’ questions, working with them on their tasks, and coordinating with them to choose a team keeps me up to date on what’s changing across the org and what challenges other teams are tackling.

Dealing with bootcampers inspires me to reflect on facebook as on organization as well as on my own contributions. I always find that I gain clarity over an issue when forced to explain it to others. Repeatedly introducing n00bs to our company and fielding their myriad questions often provides surprising and unexpected personal insight. The exercise of trying to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a n00b and their performance also helps me examine my own strengths and weaknesses and how my actions may be perceived by others.

I also love how many more engineers I manage to meet. When they move on to other teams it’s invaluable to maintain those connections so I can communicate across silos. When I do it right I cultivate reciprocal good will from my bootcampers, and having the right working relationships with future experts across the code base is incredibly useful in a company that moves as fast as ours and leaves very little documentation in its wake.

I notice that oftentimes when eating lunch or dinner my current/former bootcampers will feel free to come and join me and I love that I’ve established that level of ongoing familiarity and friendship with so many additional fellow coworkers.

As someone who loves Facebook, I, of course, want more ownership and control over steering our product, codebase, and culture in the “right” direction (as I see it). Bootcamp empowers me to give a lot of the “first impressions” about facebook and how we operate and I enjoy working on the nuance of that opportunity and refining my message so that our engineers leave bootcamp thrilled and energized to be working here.

Finally, bootcamp has given me a greater glimpse into some of the motivations, priorities, and concerns of management which, as an employee, is highly interesting, at the very least.