Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Mentorship, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
(rhythmic music) - When I first started working in the WordPress space, I just, I blogged. If I learned how to do something, I went and wrote a tutorial about it, not necessarily so I could be this magnanimous giver of information back to the community but mostly just to cement it in my own mind. But what I found over time, as I grew this library of blog post was that I was helping other people and they were leaving comments on my site and they were thanking me.
So it's sort of this cycle of help provide information and it's gonna come back, it's gonna come back to you. - So very early on in my career, I was kind of mentored by someone, he took me under his wing in a way. I was just a new tester. I had just started at the company. I had gone to school for engineering, I really had no idea what this testing thing was about, and technology, and all that kind of stuff. And he took me under his wing and kinda helped me get going. He was a great tester, helped me learn a lot about testing.
He also hooked me up with a lotta resources, pointed me to speakers, pointed me to articles and ways of thinking about things that really have had a huge influence on who I am and what kind of approach I take to testing even today. I wouldn't be where I am today, I wouldn't be the tester that I am today if it wasn't for that mentorship relationship. And he also poured a lot into me personally as well. So it wasn't just a, here I'm putting some knowledge into your head from my head, but it was, hey, we're working on a relationship here.
We're working together on this. We're not just co-workers but we're friends. And to this day, we're still friends. We get together for lunch regularly. We spend a lotta time together. And it's one of those things that has been a great influence in my life both personally and professionally. - I can tell you right now 'cause at my current job, one of my best friends is my mentor. He's a few years older than me. He's very smart, he's very calm. And there are times where I'm a little too energetic (laughs) and a little bit too quick to judge and he's the kinda guy that goes, "No, no, no, take a step back.
"Now tell me again what happened, what'd he say, "what did you say? "Oh yeah, that's not even a problem, "why are you worried about that?" I'm like, oh really? And so it's good to have, always to have somebody in your life whether it's a family member, a friend, that can give you advice and speak to you as an older person kinda, you know, kinda coming down because it's good to have that and also to spread that love down to somebody else that, when somebody comes to you then says, hey, you know, can you help me with this? You know, just realize that you've needed help too, kinda pay it forward, and give them some help and, you know, advice if necessary or just listen to what they have to say.
- Personally, it's something that I intentionally do. So working in a large company I will, you know, seek out people who may need mentorship, it's a, you know. And really it's just about, hey, it's not even, hey I'm going to teach you things, it's more about, hey I'm a friend and, you know, you teach me things, I teach you things and so I think the most successful mentorships, people can learn from each other. Having mentors outside of my company and or outside of my comfort zone, so I do front-end design, and knowing people and talking with people that are maybe in back-end or DevOps is really, I think, key for me 'cause it helps me think of things in different ways.
It's so easy, you know. I emailed somebody randomly and he emailed back and now we chitchat all the time and it was pretty easy to get a mentor. And if, you know, somebody doesn't have the time or if they can't talk to you, that's fine. There's many more people to ask. So I think that was the number one thing is it's so beneficial, it's so easy to do, and so just do it. - You know my first mentor was in high school.
His name was Eric Weiss. And I remember that the one thing that he did was allow me to be super creative. I was moving around from different countries to different countries so I ended up going to a school in Chile. When I got to that particular country, Chile, I ended up joining a computer class but it was almost like at the end of the semester so I didn't have the opportunity to go with the class. And so the one thing that this teacher did that was very different is he, instead of giving me a book and saying, okay well now you have to read three quarters of the book because we're sort of at the end, he said, "I'm going to give "you a list of problems and I want you to read the book "and try to figure out a way of achieving these things "but I'm not necessarily gonna tell you everything "because I have to spend all this other time." The fact that he gave me problems to solve made it so much more fun than a structured class.
And if you look at the work that I do now, a lot of the classes that I teach are very much like project and practical-based because of his influence in showing me that solving problems is the most fun thing about being a developer. It's what you live for. When you figure a problem out, it just gives you personal joy. (rhythmic music)