Developing geo-locational mobile apps and always having problems recruiting people with a solid understanding of GIS and development? Frustrated about badly designed GIS software because you think people aren’t properly taught? Want to give back by showing others how to code well with Open Source GIS? Interested in a knowledge exchange with a GIS specialist who wants to learn software development?
Enter Software Craftsmanship – a new way of long-term professional development. The mentor-apprentice setup plays a central part in the ‘community of professionals, that create well-honed software, receiving added value as it evolves, within the practices of Agile Development‘.
GIS mentoring doesn’t seem very widespread and few of us are blessed with the coding skill du jour, the moment we step onto the job market (especially those from a spatial analysis background). A lot of people mentor online and I know former apprentices who are still being mentored after they have moved halfway across the world and taken on apprentices themselves. In a company environment, budding Crafters might have a more formal arrangement with a full-time contract – but remember, your apprentice has to eat and needs somewhere to sleep as well, so be nice and offer at least minimum wage.
If you are a GIS developer who would like to mentor the next generation of coders in the skills that really matter, please get in touch with me by commenting with your Twitter link or any other page that will give me an idea about where and how you work. All nationalities welcome – let’s make this happen!
While I am still committed to Software Craftsmanship, things have moved on a bit and now many GIS professionals are learning to code. While GIS is still a niche market, there are now more opportunities for people at junior developer level to grow their skills, since I wrote this article in 2011. In my spare time I now mentor at codebar.io, an organisation that offers free coding workshops in several places around the UK.