Interview with a Tech Mentor — Should You Seek Mentorship?
I joined my firm back in July and feeling overwhelmed in regards to the amount of information that I have to absorb is an understatement. I felt lost and sometimes I don’t even know where to start learning.
Through LinkedIn, I stumbled upon a super kind Managing Director within the firm and she offered a coffee chat opportunity. We connected really well and she gave me advice for thriving in the corporate world. One such advice is to seek out mentorship.
Luckily, my firm has an internal system that connects mentors with mentees. Think of an old-school Tinder but for mentors and mentees. I virtually met my first mentor just last week and I felt so much positive energy throughout our intro session. We learned about each other’s career path and interests among other things. After the introductions and getting to know each other, I established what I wish to learn from her and she showed her interest in helping me grow as an engineer.
I’ve learned from other seniors in my firm that it is normal to have multiple mentors, so I decided to seek out a mentor to help me learn about the business side of tech. At the time of writing this article, I haven’t met him just yet because his schedule is quite full but I just wanted to make a point that it’s normal to have multiple mentors!
To further introduce the idea of mentorship, I thought it would be a informative to interview a mentor who is quite active on LinkedIn, Vincent Ng. He is a Senior Quality Engineer and an ally for women in tech. You might have seen him supporting engineers on LinkedIn!
What does a mentor do? How does a mentor/mentee relationship work?
A mentor is someone who is a subject matter expert in specific topics who can help another inspiring individual achieve his/her goals and answer his/her career questions. A mentor/mentee relationship works when the mentee finalizes a career roadmap with the mentor. With vast industry experience, the mentor will share his/her lessons learned so the mentee can learn from them. Making mistakes and learning from them is part of the journey to becoming a strong individual in that field.
Why and when should someone look for a mentor? Did/do you have one?
You should look for a mentor when you are struck and feel that you are not progressing quickly towards your career goals. A mentor can present different perspectives and resources in achieving your goals. During my time in college, my brother provided mentorship to me and shared problem solving techniques that I can use universally. Currently, I have two mentors who provide their insightful on how to level up my skills.
How does someone find a mentor? Where do they start?
You can look for mentors inside or outside your own network by reading or watching their content. If this mentor’s principles resonate to you, I recommend connecting with this mentor. For different online communities that you join, you can build rapport and chat with someone in your industry.
Below are some excellent communities that you can join where you can seek mentorship.
Coding Coach — It is a free platform that connects developers to mentors around the world.
MentorCruise — It is a paid platform that connects both mentees and mentors with personalized and ongoing sessions
Design Buddies — It is a free mentorship platform with a large community of designers.
WomenTech — It is a platform that connects women in tech
PlatoHQ — It is a paid platform that connects engineering and product managers.
The Muse — It is a paid platform that connects job seekers with various mentors knowledgeable with different industry experience.
What qualities should a mentee look for in a mentor? How about the qualities that a mentor looks for in a mentee?
A mentee should look for a mentor who is down to earth. He/she personally believes in the mentee’s goals and provides constructive feedback to help the mentee grow. The mentor communicates well both verbally and written. The mentor will listen actively to your conversations without any bias.
A mentor looks for mentees who have great potential to grow. A mentor works well with mentees that have strong communication skills and curious about the specific industry. With the mentor’s guidance, mentees can pick up new concepts.
How does a mentee get the most out of their relationship with their mentor?
A mentee wants to build a strong relationship with their mentor and continually learn new things from him/her daily. The mentee’s responsibility is to share his/her progress on both small and big goals. A good mentor cares about the mentee’s physical and mental health in their current journey.
So yes, if you believe that there are areas that you could improve, then it really doesn’t hurt to seek out mentors to help you.