Mentors are amazing. They are like living examples of the paths that you want to take and a lot of times that’s the best way to learn, from experience. When beginning your tech journey, and even later on, you’ll have a lot of questions and you can’t figure everything out. It is much easier to grow under the mentorship of someone who’s already experienced in that field. They might not be available to guide you 24/7 but you would have the privilege of time-to-time conversations with them and that matters a lot. You’ll get the encouragement you need to boost your confidence, constructive criticism, etc.
How do you find the right mentor in your field? The chances that a random genius will walk up to you and say “Hey! Let me be your mentor”, is almost zero except of course you’re already standing out at what you do. Here are a couple of things you could do to find mentors to support you in your journey in tech.
Network at Tech Events
The idea is to position yourself in places where you can interact with prospective mentors and get them to connect with you. Look out for tech events such as seminars/webinars, career fairs, workshops and conferences. These are great opportunities to get to meet people and interact with them. Do not be a passive participant. Engage in intellectual conversations with people, and make contributions during presentations. You can approach successful people in your area of interest and share your achievements and experience so far, ask questions, and request contacts.
Join a Community
Joining a tech community is an amazing way to get to meet people. Whenever you have the opportunity, you could showcase your projects or make contributions to attract the attention of your mentors. Pay attention to presentations and look out for opportunities to follow up with speakers who could mentor you in your field. Participate in community projects as this will show off your skills and abilities. However, don’t stress so much about recognition. Instead, focus on giving and receiving value.
You do not have to wait until you have an opportunity to meet people personally before you ask them to be your mentors. Search through the profiles of successful people in your niche and engage with them regularly on any social media platform. You could make a list of people who you admire in your field and reach them through cold messaging. Chances are that one or more would respond and you could get a conversation started. If your messages are ignored, don’t give up. Send follow-up messages. Work on the content of your messages and seek to get better each time.
Look out for Mentoring Programs
Some people have volunteered their time to mentor others in their field. They’ve created mentoring programs where experts are assigned to groups of mentees and then they commit to guiding them through their journey. You could look out for virtual and physical mentoring programs. A mentor can make themselves available but you have to be willing to make it worth it by putting in the work.
When you find your mentor(s), stay proactive. Be at the forefront of initiating meetings, presenting ideas etc. Take corrective actions and report an updated version of your projects each time. Commit to impressing your mentor and making his/her efforts worthwhile. Your mentors are not gods and may make mistakes so you have to magnify the benefits of working with them and ignore their faults. You’re on the right track towards learning and yes, you’ve got this.
Do you have a mentor? Tell us how it started