Early Start in Software Coaching

Thomas Vikberg, Arto Vihavainen, Matti Luukkainen, and Jaakko Kurhila

Research Paper


Demand for software coaching and coaches is increasing. As our programming courses are organized according to the Extreme Apprenticeship method, it is relatively safe and straightforward to allow students to participate as coaches in our CS1 course even as early as during their second semester. Safety is ensured by the hierarchical structure of CS1 course personnel that ensures enough peer and faculty support for students undertaking the task of coaching. We briefly describe the Extreme Apprenticeship method as well as the organization and the learning objectives in our coaching environment. Results acquired from student coaches (N=46) indicate that the learning experience of coaching is highly valued and deemed especially educational.



Matti Luukkainen has completed his Computer Science PhD on formal verification at University of Helsinki 2003. Most of his industrial experience originates from a major Finnish telecommunications company, where he worked during the waterfall era. To redeem his past, he has gathered hands-on agile software development experience by cleaning toilets and emptying trash cans in a bleeding-edge startup company focusing on bringing the best of cloud services to mobile applications. He currently evangelizes programming and agile software engineering best practices at the University of Helsinki, and is actively involved in researching and developing Computer Science Education, with a focus on people-oriented teaching approaches such as the Extreme Apprenticeship method.

Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Finland, mluukkai@cs.helsinki.fi, http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/rage

Further Authors

Thomas Vikberg, Arto Vihavainen, and Jaakko Kurhila, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Finland, {tvikberg, avihavai, kurhila}@cs.helsinki.fi, WWW home page: http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/rage