[erlang-questions] Onboarding programmers who are new to Erlang

Leonard Boyce leonard.boyce@REDACTED
Fri Aug 29 18:03:05 CEST 2014

On Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM, nx <nx@REDACTED> wrote:
> I've had good experience with bringing developers with no Erlang
> experience on to an Erlang project. In my case it was someone with a
> Ruby web application development background.
> I spent most of the time at first explaining Erlang concepts in a way
> a Ruby user could relate to. "Atoms are like symbols", "Processes are
> like instances of objects", etc. Other concepts like strings versus
> binaries, function clauses and pattern matching came as we were
> pairing on the task at hand.

This is actually some great advice.
Speaking of which, might be helpful for someone with more in-depth
knowledge than myself to spend a few minutes and add Erlang here:

> I also picked libraries that were similar to their Ruby counterparts.
> For example, her task was to implement an Erlang REST API. Rather than
> go with a webmachine-like REST library (i.e. webmachine, cowboy_rest),
> I picked axiom, which is reminiscent of Sinatra.
> After installing Erlang, setting up tools and a couple of days of
> pairing, she was pretty much moving along on her own and landing pull
> requests in Github.
> I think using Github really makes reviewing junior Erlang devs a lot
> smoother since you can have comments and discussions right on the
> lines of concern. For example, maybe you see something with nested
> case statements that could be solved with pattern matching. With
> Github you can just add an example in the comments. Now you've taught
> them that concept and they will use it in the future.

Very good suggestion, thank you. Definitely provides a more immediate
feedback loop than a scheduled code review

> The key is to just have a real world problem that you're solving using
> Erlang. Start working on it with the junior dev while finding ways to
> talk about Erlang concepts from their perspective. Then, when they're
> introduced, be available for guidance and review incoming code.
> On Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM, Leonard Boyce
> <leonard.boyce@REDACTED> wrote:
>> I'd like to tap the collective wisdom of the group for their
>> experiences in onboarding fresh-out-of-college programmers who are new
>> to Erlang. This is assuming the new programmer has mostly imperative
>> experience (C/C++/Java) and have had a fleeting glimpse of functional
>> through Haskell.
>> I'm of the mindset to have them work through a book or two over the
>> 1st couple of weeks with plenty of rubber ducking and/or pairing on
>> simple exercises.
>> After that maybe have them work on a simple feature or two in some
>> prototypical work we're doing on the side, and of course sending them
>> off to the first available 'bootcamp'/training session available.
>> What have you found is the best way to introduce them to the language
>> and bring them up to a level where they can start standing on their
>> own feet?
>> Are there any specific resources (books/sessions/tutorials etc) you've
>> found useful in the past?
>> Any other recommendations?
>> Thanks,
>> Leonard
>> ---
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