Frame from "The Lord of the Rings" (2001) movie, featuring Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf
Who Is a Mentor?Neither a boss nor an experienced colleague, it’s a skilled person who can teach and guide you as you establish yourself as a developer. In other words, it’s a person who can give you useful suggestions, challenge you, and lift you beyond your limit. It’s the advisor who guides you through your “coding path” — What skills to acquire? Where? How to overcome challenges? Furthermore, a really good mentor can help you succeed in all aspects of your life, both professional and personal. There are multiple ways you can benefit from having a mentor, and below, we have narrowed them down to the Top 7.
Top 7 Reasons to Find a Mentor
1. An Experienced Mentor Can Teach You the Best PracticesNaturally, one of the most valuable things mentors can do for their trainees is passing on their knowledge and skills. With an experienced mentor by your side, you won’t waste time on the basics and will be able to focus on “what really matters”, depending on your end goal. Frankly speaking, mentors can drastically cut the learning curve, thus, saving your time but still keeping you on track. Needless to say, mentors can be extremely useful for complete newbies who have no idea where to begin and, consequently, may easily get lost in an ocean of technologies, practices, ideas, concepts, and tools. A qualified mentor can save you from falling into the trap of various tricky methods and techniques. With a mentor, you will definitely get only useful information, resources, and tools. Therefore, your head won’t ache, and your motivation will stay high. No frustration — no stress.
2. You Can Get Valuable Feedback from Your MentorEven senior developers can get stuck at some point, and it’s quite OK. But the mentorship can provide an ongoing exchange of ideas and opinions between you and your mentor, bringing a fresh eye to your projects and helping you out. It’s really cool to have someone who can honestly point out your weaknesses, and show you the things you need to improve, and how to improve them. By the way, mentors also constantly broaden their minds while interacting with their mentees. Often, mentees ask questions that make even professionals dig deeper and look at them from another angle. A win-win collaboration.
3. A Mentor Will choose the Best Resources for You to ProgressOf course, the most significant thing mentors can pass on to their mentees is their rich experience. So, your mentor will provide you with the right resources when you decide to learn a specific skill. In some cases, the mentors themselves can become these resources and share their knowledge. If not, they can push you towards suitable programs, tutorials, boot camps, etc.
4. Qualified Mentor Will Review Your CodeTwo heads are better than one. That’s why a code review is an essential part of mentorship. Just like any apprentice, any learner or even junior developer must be revised. Mentors typically review the code and offer suggestions to help you avoid mistakes and improve your skills. In reality, pair programming offers the fastest way to learn to code. One person (learner) “drives” and uses the keyboard to write the code, whereas the other person (mentor) is responsible for keeping the mentee on the right track. In other words, the professional coders help their proteges to “navigate”.
5. You Will Discover New OpportunitiesThe more experience you have, the more opportunities you get. Mentors already have a lot of experience, and they can share their path to success with you. Moreover, a mentor can customize the fastest path tailored to your personal goals. They will keep you on track and tell you when it’s time to refocus if you happen to deviate from what really matters. Simply put, a mentor can “course-correct” you very quickly. Therefore, you will save your time for developing the skills you really need. It’s also a nice idea to find a mentor not just for learning but for getting advice throughout your career. Why? Here comes the next point…
6. A Mentor Can Help You Skyrocket Your CareerA good mentor can do a lot for your professional and personal growth. Most likely, your mentor will challenge and guide you in all aspects of your progress. They can also help you build strong relationships with others, and improve your teamwork and communication skills. And by building team spirit, you’ll understand your boss and colleagues better whilst adjusting to the workflow and becoming a significant part of a project. By the way, a good relationship results in less time spent collaboratively on finding solutions to problems.
7. You Will Be Surrounded by LoveNot the key but very important perk — with a mentor, you will never feel alone. There will always be a person who will lend you a helping hand and surround you with support and motivation.
How to Find a MentorAll this is obviously great, but, in reality, finding a really good mentor is easier said than done. To find one, we recommend you stick to the following strategies:
Do your own research
Nowadays, there are plenty of websites, communities, and meetups where you can seek a mentor. Also, you can refer to our Online course with a mentor, "Java Fundamentals," where you can find useful practices for specialists of all levels.
Use your connections
If your friends are already involved in programming, you can ask them for help. If they lack the experience to do so, they can recommend someone skillful working in their team. By the way, many companies hire mentors for juniors, so, most likely, your programming peers will recommend someone. “I know a guy who knows a guy….” You’ve got the idea.
Believe it or not, cold calls and emails are still alive… You can try calling different small agencies that create websites/software/apps and ask whether there is someone experienced willing to lend a fellow learner a helping hand.
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