Whether you’re kick-starting your career as a software developer, or perhaps you’ve already established yourself as one and are looking to level up, a mentor could add significant value to your career, no matter where you are in your journey. Seeking out a mentor (or even multiple mentors) should be seen as an essential step on your road to success. A good mentor can provide you with both the personal and professional guidance to help you realize your full potential!
There are numerous benefits to getting a mentor, such as learning from more experienced industry professionals in the industry of your choice. A mentor can also help you identify your career goals, they can be a cheerleader in your corner, they make great accountability partners, and finally a mentor is great at giving you honest feedback.
1. Learning From More Experienced Industry Professionals 🧠
Mentors are often more senior in their industry. As such, they have already traveled the path that you’re about to venture into. For this reason, a mentor is in a perfect position to provide you with real life insight into the career path you’ve chosen. They can share their experiences, and provide you with ‘cheat codes’ that’ll help you navigate your own career path.
By virtue of having been in the industry for many years, your mentor will also have likely encountered various challenges along the way. Experiencing problems or issues in your career is inevitable, but leveraging an experienced mentor that has taken a similar journey can provide you with valuable insights that will help you avoid potential mistakes or pitfalls in your own career!
Learning from your mentors' experience may help you fast track your way to success. 🚀
2. Mentors Can Help Identify your Goals 🧐
Setting professional goals on your own can be quite a challenging thing to do. When it comes to setting professional goals, it’s important to first identify your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your current reality and the opportunities and limitations that accompany it will help you set more realistic goals. Using your mentor as a thought partner as you conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis can be a great starting point! A mentor will often be able to provide you with valuable feedback regarding your strengths and weaknesses, as well as help you identify any opportunities or threats that you may have overlooked. Because your mentor has been where you are now, they may also be able to guide you on how you could capitalize on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses!
Once you’ve taken stock of your current situation by using the personal SWOT analysis, your mentor can be a valuable thinking partner as you work through the GROW Goal Setting Model. A mentor can help you establish workable goals that make sense in your context using this model. You can also start the work yourself to figure out what you need to do, and where you need external input and guidance. Once you’ve set your goal, mentors can also help you identify the smaller milestones that you’ll need to achieve in order to bring you closer to achieving the main goal.
3. A Mentor is a Cheerleader 📣
Starting a new position at a new company, or even getting a promotion within your current company, although exciting, can also be daunting. A lot of software developers experience imposter syndrome, which can cause a lot of anxiety, especially when starting out in a new role position. Having a mentor in your corner to encourage you and let you know when you’re on the right track is invaluable! Mentors can also help you identify the strengths that you can take advantage of as you take on this new challenge - sometimes it just takes a little validation to build your self-confidence! Having a strong sense of confidence as a developer and having a supporter in your corner can be the motivation you need to tackle any opportunities or challenges that come your way.
4. A Mentor Is an Accountability Partner 🤠
Once you’ve set your goal, your mentor can help you keep track of your efforts and progress towards your goal each week. No one enjoys letting another person down. It’s one thing making a promise to yourself and not keeping it, but it’s an entirely different thing to disappoint someone else who has given you their time and support in order to help you succeed. In short, you’re more likely to stay on track with your goals when you’re not the only person tracking your progress against them.
5. Receiving Honest Feedback 😇
Mentor and mentee relationships, specifically when they are built on trust and mutual respect, can provide a safe space for receiving honest feedback. In the workplace, often there are power dynamics at play between leaders and their employees. Understandably, this makes it difficult for employees to show vulnerability when it comes to their work. In the mentoring relationship, because the mentor is dedicating their time and energy to the mentee to upskill and is not ultimately accountable for their mentee at work, this power dynamic shifts somewhat. As such, a mentor can provide no-strings-attached feedback on improvement. They can also help you identify and refine specific professional soft skills needed to thrive in the workplace.
Having the motivation, guidance, and support of an experienced mentor in your industry can place a mentee in a position of tremendous advantage, putting you on a growth pedestal. 🤩