Novice software developers, all over again

Andrew Begel, Beth Simon
2008 Proceeding of the fourth international workshop on Computing education research - ICER '08  
Transitions from novice to expert often cause stress and anxiety and require specialized instruction and support to enact efficiently. While many studies have looked at novice computer science students, very little research has been conducted on professional novices. We conducted a two-month in-situ qualitative case study of new software developers in their first six months working at Microsoft. We shadowed them in all aspects of their jobs: coding, debugging, designing, and engaging with their
more » ... engaging with their team, and analyzed the types of tasks in which they engage. We can explain many of the behaviors revealed by our analyses if viewed through the lens of newcomer socialization from the field of organizational management. This new perspective also enables us to better understand how current computer science pedagogy prepares students for jobs in the software industry. We consider the implications of this data and analysis for developing new processes for learning in both university and industrial settings to help accelerate the transition from novice to expert software developer. 978-1-60558-216-0/08/09...$5.00. experience in these areas would serve students well when they begin their first software development job. As an example, university pedagogy promotes teamwork to engage students in working in pairs or larger groups in order to learn how to work with others. However, these groups are typically egalitarianall members are equal in knowledge, experience, and power. This is not the case in industrial settingsco-workers have more knowledge and experience, and managers have more power. Likewise, corporations contain multiple teams of people working togethergetting to know people on other teams gives employees opportunities to learn, move laterally to improve their persongroup or person-organization fit, and gain opportunities by increasing the number of people and the connectedness of their social network [2] [25] . In contrast, social networking is often left completely up to the students in academia. Not only is it rarely structured within the context of a course, it is rarely structured within the context of the curriculum and most often is stigmatized through strong policies on cheating, collaboration, and the like.
doi:10.1145/1404520.1404522 dblp:conf/icer/BegelS08 fatcat:xdzyqlu4kneolb4viktfwf2b3m