Supporting the next generation of developers through volunteering

JC Hiatt
JC HiattThursday, May 16, 2019
Man presenting at a conference

Mississippi Coding Academies is a non-profit that operates tuition-free, 11-month courses on full-stack web development to recent high school graduates. Yesterday, it just concluded its second cohort!

I’ve been volunteering there — helping out with student evaluations and offering positioning/growth advice for the past couple of years. In the time I’ve spent there, I’ve come to see just how important it is that we support the next generation of developers. Most of the students I meet there have no technical background, but they are very eager to learn. The academy has done a good job creating a culture where learning new things and being open to changing your ideas is standard.

Mentorship has hands-down been my #1 mechanism of growth as an engineer, and I never want to forget how impactful it can be to offer up my time to help the next wave of developers.

At Echobind, we strongly value mentorship. We believe constantly learning from others and paying it forward by teaching others is the best way to both grow as an engineer and help shape the tech community in a positive way.

It’s an expected part of your role as an engineer here, and it must be something you regularly practice in order to level up in the company. But we also value mentorship externally, through volunteering at places like Mississippi Coding Academies.

A Challenge

We have a challenge for you. If you’re an individual, find one person who wants to know about something you know about. Offer to teach them for free.

If you’re a company, find ways to create a culture of mentorship and volunteering in your organization. This can be in the form of pair programming, mock interviews, volunteering at bootcamps — there’s many ways to give back to the community!

We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants — don’t pretend for one second that everything you’ve learned and built has just been because of your work alone.

Thanks again to my team for sponsoring my time yesterday! I love getting to serve these students in my community.

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