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Learning to Code with a Mentor is All About the 1:1 Interaction

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This article was written by Mark Webster from ShipyardNYC. Mark and his two other co-founders, Vipin and Minesh, are participating in Codementor’s Featured Stars Program, where they will work with a dedicated mentor to bolster their understanding of programming concepts and become better entrepreneurs. Read about the start of their journey here.

After launching a startup that was ultimately acquired, my co-founders, Vipin and Minesh, and I are working on some new projects. This time around, the three of us have decided to learn to  code.

We are nearly halfway through the 8-weeks of working with our CodeMentor. Up until now, the three of us have been meeting as a group with our mentor for a one-hour session, twice a week. We’ve then had “homework” to complete between sessions.

In the beginning, all three of us were getting a lot out of the sessions. But as I’ve written about before, we don’t all share the same level of technical expertise. At the start, while I couldn’t program, having spent my career working on web products in one way or another, I’m somewhat technical. I can also code front-end (XHTML/CSS). While having different baseline levels of knowledge didn’t make much of a difference in the beginning, it became apparent we were definitely moving forward at different speeds. There were two mentoring sessions recently where I didn’t really learn anything new. And the questions I was asking and topics I wanted to cover weren’t that useful for Vipin and Minesh.

After discussing this as a group, everyone agreed it made sense to break apart the sessions. Our mentor was gracious enough to find some additional time in his schedule to double-up his commitment to helping us learn. So now, I meet with our mentor twice a week for one hour each time, and Vipin and Minesh do the same. We’ve done this for about a week now, and it’s been amazing. All three of us have been getting a ton of usefulness out of each and every session.

It’s also been great to have one of my co-founders sit-in on my sessions so far. Vipin has been soaking up coding like a sponge, and had a fairly active role in helping me figure out the schema for my new project. I’ve also been helping them out as they have questions along the way. So while we may have parted ways a bit with our actual mentoring sessions, it still feels like we’re on this journey together.

It’s actually rare that a group works with a CodeMentor.

Unlike classes or pre-recorded screencasts, CodeMentoring is all about one-on-one live interaction.

It was our idea to try and do this together as a group. But when learning something new, everyone has a different starting point. And everyone learns at a different pace. I’ve actually never enjoyed class learning, as I always felt you just end up being taught at an average level based on the people in the class. Having to split up our sessions is, to me, a sign that there is a ton of value in one-on-one learning.

So, with my learning back in the fast lane, I’m excited to be making progress again. In my next post, I’ll share more details about the actual project we’re working on and how it’s moving forward.

Also in this series:

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