A Work in Progress


Being a mentor

My thoughts on being a mentor to more junior developers

I have always considered myself a good and willing mentor for younger engineers but I have never been a formal mentor for anyone. Recently I was offered the opporunity to formally mentor a promising younger engineer and I was happy to accept.

After I accepted my first thought was “ok, now what am I going to do?” I thought back to my earlier days as an engineer and what my mentors taught me as well as what I wished I had from a mentor. A few of the things I came up with were:

So the first time we met my goal was to get a better understanding of their career goals. Where did they want to be in a year? Where did they think they wanted to be in 3-5 years? Thinking this far out is challenging and I wouldn’t expect someone to necessarily know that at this point in their career but it is good to understand someone’s vision of the future. I myself have wavered throughout my career between taking a management position or continuing on a technical track. I ultimately landed on the latter but this took some time to figure out and I expect that it may be the same for my new mentee. They are currently leaning heavily on the technical track which is great for me because I feel like I can be a sherpa for them in this regard.

I don’t know yet if I will be a good direct mentor. It certainly requires more forethought than just being an “in the moment” mentor when the opportunity arises. I’ve already asked some of my mentors for their advice.

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