Finding A Mentor

As you work day-after-day in the software industry, you’ll start to feel a bit plateaued, even stuck at times. After all, you’re giving it your 100%, but what if 100% just doesn’t cut it? Maybe you are looking to be promoted, take more responsibilities, or even consider a different role altogether.

Here’s the shortcut, find a mentor. Having a good mentor in your life and the day-to-day can bring enlightenment that would take months, if not years to come to naturally. If you want to fully realize your true potential as a developer, you need to have somebody who can help guide you along the way.

You might be asking…well that’s easier said than done, finding a mentor is not exactly a cakewalk. It’s not always that easy, nor will the daunting task of being vulernable enough to tell somebody you believe they would be an ideal mentor for you be either.

One thing to keep in mind is that your mentors are not going to be perfect. What I mean by this is that each mentor may be proficient in a certain skillset, and lack in the others. There’s no such thing as a perfect mentor. Instead, you can take on multiple mentors and sharpen your mind by understanding each mentor’s contribution they bring to the table, and how you can fully apply yourself with it.

What’s in a good mentor? If you know of somebody who:

  • Understands the big picture
  • Actively listens
  • Encourages where needs be
  • Acts like your biggest fan
  • Inspires you to do better
  • Keeps you on track

Because these skills exist in people regardless of skill, it can be beneficial to seek comfort in finding these people in your life early on in your career rather than later. You can always repay the favor later by providing mentorship for others.

Mentors don’t have to be people you consider your heroes, they can be as simple as a peer who might be struggling with the same problems as you, but they act like your biggest fan and encourage you to do better. You might even find yourself as one of your mentors. As crazy as it sounds, you are your biggest fan, you make sure you understand the big picture, and you keep yourself on track everyday.

Start small, first by asking somebody you admire their work, work ethic, or even their personality and ask them if they would mentor you once a month over a lunch. Most importantly, make sure that you do the work of identifying where you think you can improve, so that your mentor has an idea of the areas you’re struggling with today while they get to know you.