Teaching New Programmers/Offseason Training
I'm the head programmer from team 1339, and the past few years, we have been struggling with managing our programming team, especially new programmers. Three years ago, when I was a freshman and new to the team, there were no veteran programmers. Two other freshman and I learned command based Java and programmed the robot that year (with the help of an excellent mentor).
In the years since, we have had groups of noobs interested in learning programming, but we didn't really know how to teach and manage them effectively during the offseason. Each year we ended up with only one new person really contributing during build season/competition, out of groups of five to ten who wanted to learn. And they were the ones that were driven enough to learn on their own, to make up for our lack of real teaching. Mostly only veterans, me included, wrote the code for our robots.
I want to know, how do you guys handle new programmers? What resources do your teams use to train them (PowerPoints, websites, etc)? What do you teach them first, generic Java or go straight to WPILib robot code? And how do you manage people of different skill levels and what they contribute during build season/competition?
Thanks for any help!