Becoming a mentor

In my current position I am a mentor. Which is confusing to most people because being a mentor can meet a lot of different things. In the context of my employment - I assist people with understanding coding coursework and motivate them to maintain their good grades in a coding bootcamp.

I became a mentor almost as soon as I graduated from my coding bootcamp. I was of course very worried about whether or not I was going to be successful. Most importantly I was worried if I whether or not I was even going to be valuable to the students I was supposed to mentor.

There’s a lot of silly sayings out there that remind us that everyone is human, but that is one of the most important things to remember as you are mentoring someone. That they are just as human as you are, and that anything you’ve experienced that you have found difficult, they’re probably going to experience the same thing at some point. When I started mentoring people I was only 22 years old. I was a little intimidated by the fact that the people I would mentor are probably going to be older then I am and therefore would not want to listen to what I have to say.

I’ve experienced the complete opposite of that, and being able to mentor all different kinds of people has taught me a lot about how to get better at coding myself. By constantly enforcing good habits in my students, I had to remind myself that I have to maintain those same standards if I want to not only help my students be successful but myself as well.

You are ready to mentor someone. I can promise you that when people consider teaching other people what they know, they feel overwhelmed with the same worries that I felt. Overcoming that fear involves leveling with people and understanding your worth. You’ve got valuable experience that can help someone somewhere. You just need to be willing to share it. One of the best parts of the developer community is how willing everyone is to share their wealth of knowledge. You always have something worth sharing.

Now, I have had issues at certain points in time where I had no idea what to do with some of my mentees, but what helped was figuring things out together. If I ran out of things to do I would begin helping them with something I also didn’t know about and we worked together. This also helps build a strong relationship with your community.

Take a chance, offer help where you think you can extend it. Try to mentor someone who you know that’s been trying to get into your field. It will go a long ways for both you and them.

Comments (2)

Chris Bongers's photo

Well said,

I've been mentoring people from early on, and it's not about telling them what to type, but about;

  • Helping them being motivated.
  • Open discussions about issues
  • Thinking out loud
  • etc

So thank you for writing this, and motivating people to become a mentor as well

Marco Chavez's photo

I couldn’t agree more! I get so many people asking me how they can become a mentor and why is it so easy to be too afraid to agree to mentor someone and I just have to remind them that we are all human that sometimes mentoring someone just means talking to them and motivating them to take their next steps. People know what they want, they just need help feeling comfortable with trying.