E-mentoring for Software Engineering: A Socio-technical Perspective

Erik Trainer, Arun Kalyanasundaram, James D. Herbsleb
2016 Figshare  
Mentoring is one of the most effective pedagogical tools, holding great promise for software engineering education. When done badly, however, it can lead to dysfunctional inter- personal relationships and may turn off mentees from careers in software engineering. In this qualitative interview-based study we examine how socio-technical dimensions of software impact the formation of social ties important for satisfying two goals of mentorship, building technical skill and interpersonal
more » ... personal development. We find that mentees working on user facing, interdependent software form a balance of ties that facilitate both goals, while mentees working on non-user facing software mostly form ties important for building technical skill. Work practices that create opportunities for unstructured contact between mentees and community members, such as code review in a mentee cohort, can help to overcome this imbalance. Our findings have important implications for task definition in software engineering e-mentoring program schemes.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.4203156.v1 fatcat:hrgvnsrtcrbmlh7riviaypcgfu