Reflecting on Mentoring
I have now been mentoring aspiring developers for close to a year. I started off just trying to help a few friends who wanted to emulate my move into development from another career. I have learnt a bunch about myself, helping others, programming and the industry as a whole along the way. I has been a great journey so far and I hope it will continue throughout my career.
Most people want to know why. There are numerous reasons.
- I aspire to move into leadership/management positions myself one day and being able to mentor others is pretty much required.
- It feels really good to be able to help people. The majority of aspiring developers feel pretty hopeless at the start, convince themselves they don't know anything and being there when they realise that they know a bunch of valuable skills and start building their first decent side projects is a pretty great experience.
- I always heard/read that teaching is the best way to solidify your own knowledge and this is definitely true. Working with others has helped me learn lots of new things and consolidate the stuff I already did know. Most people being mentored assume it is a one way street and that they are the only ones benefiting from the arrangement - that is just simply not the case.
- I absolutely would not be where I am today without the help of a few then mentors now friends. Seems only fair that I pay that forward.
- Meeting new people and making life long friends is great!
As I mentioned, I started out just helping a few personal friends, nothing structures, just a few pointers here and there, highlighting some good resources and being on hand to help out with any questions. Turns out these are the least successful mentoring stories I have. I think a lot of these friends just liked the idea of being a developer after I talked with them about it, so they were never driven or committed enough. One friend booked the trend though and has worked hard over the past year and has now landed his first job in the industry which is great.
After working with a few friends, despite not so great results I knew that I enjoyed helping others and believed that I could bring something value to people, so I decided to offer my services through the amazing coding coach platform. I felt a little nervous at first as they are a lot of fantastic developers there with much more experience than me. However mentoring is not all about that, there are many other aspects of offering career advice. The particular area I believe I can help most with is helping people really hone in on developing the skills to be hired.
Step one should not be to understand everything there is to know about programming. It should be getting a job. When you have a job you will learn so much quicker and build a string network of people around you. So, it makes no sense to spend years trying to master your craft before getting a job.
A much better route is a solid base, so you can provide value to a company and get into the industry asap. then you can focus on the skills that make you better at your job and on the side polish up any other skills you want.
I Want MOAR
Every relationship is different, some people ask/require/want very little input, but appreciate the occasional check in and advice on things. Others are almost wanting to work daily and then there is everything in the middle. This kinda works out well and allows working with a fair amount of people at a time.
Also people drop in and out a lot, some people get jobs and then require a lot less time.
I guess what I am trying to say is I am looking forward to learning with many more people, so if you want to chat anything development (or anything else really. Meeting people is always great - even virtually) then hit me up!