What Are Guardians and Who Are They?

Feb 26, 2024 7:42:38 AM / by Kristen Capuzzo

Qwasar uses a program called Guardians of the Galaxy to help facilitate peer to peer learning and peer mentoring - more advanced students helping new students.

Being a Guardian is a great opportunity to develop your leadership skills, give back to the community, widen your network, and learn from managers.

Guardians are senior students at Qwasar who have shown determination and drive to help others. They are chosen to lead and guide students on their coding journey. These students act as the mentors for newer students in the Qwasar community who are just beginning their journey into programming. When starting something new or switching careers, it can be overwhelming, so we give students the opportunity to engage and connect with one another for help on their assignments.

Let’s dive into what it means to be a Guardian and why the program exists.

What Are Guardians and Who Are They?

Guardians are Mentors - and Employers Love It!

Guardians embody lots of skills that employers look for and value in candidates and employees. Through their demonstrated experience as a successful leader within the Qwasar community, they are valuable to hiring managers. They lead and guide students and small groups through problems and exercises so that others can gain the knowledge and understanding of key software fundamentals. They have put the time in to develop the necessary soft skills of communicating and listening to peers. Mid- and Senior level engineers are expected to mentor more junior-level engineers, and the Guardian program is an opportunity to practice these skills.

Being a Guardian is also an opportunity to develop and refine time management skills through balancing individual workload and the responsibilities of assisting other students.

Guardians do a lot of work helping other students who are stuck on projects or exercises that Guardians have already passed - realistically, this means they spend a lot of time trying to solve coding problems. Their problem-solving skills are fine-tuned from working on problems consistently and achieving solutions in a variety of languages and tools. There’s nothing like learning to read others’ code and get better at debugging but constantly being presented with opportunities to do both!

Guardians also work within the cohort and develop a sense of community among their peers that make them comfortable to approach them with any project concerns or other life/job advice concerns they may have. They are true examples of successful learning workers within the program and it shows when they apply to jobs. 

What Are Guardians and Who Are They?

Small Group Sessions

An important role of the Guardians is to host small group sessions for students to catch up on projects or get through difficult concepts. The software engineering fundamentals are crucial to understand in the beginning of the curriculum especially as it hinders progress on later progress. Guardians are there for students who need help on their projects. Students can ask questions or get hints on specific topics related to their track each day of the week from a peer who is knowledgeable on the subject and recently completed that part of the curriculum.

These sessions are a great way to build connections with one another in the community and network for the long-term. Students are able to learn more about one another, build friendships, and find partners to work on later projects with. It’s a great one on one time that is available in a smaller setting than stand up or coding collaboration.

Technical Experience

Qwasar has a built-in ‘help request’ system on our Discord server where students can ask Guardians for help on a particular issue. When students submit help tickets with bugs they are facing, Guardians claim a ticket and guide students to a resolution. This is very much like a ticket system on an engineering team in the real world.

Learning is reinforced by teaching topics already covered previously in the curriculum. Being a Guardian is a great way to deepen understanding towards mastery. Guardians will surpass the technical experience preferred and oftentimes required for most entry-level jobs in industry.

What Are Guardians and Who Are They?

How are Guardians Chosen?

Guardians are invited to become part of the guardian program after completion of certain projects and time passed in the program. They are selected by program managers based on their experience within the Qwasar community and willingness to commit to the program. Guardians are not necessarily the best coders - because the role of mentoring is also about developing personal, professional, and people skills.

Being a Guardian is an additional responsibility so it’s important that they are chosen as students who are willing and able to mentor and guide peers in their learning journey while still able to commit and dedicate time to their own studies through excellence in time management.

Kristen Capuzzo

Written by Kristen Capuzzo