Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Mentorship, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
(upbeat music) - So I've had a lot of mentors in tech, non-tech, but the one thing I wanna talk about is my dad. He was my best mentor for the rest of my life. So I'll give you an example where, real life example where, we're 14 years old, there's a flood in town, and people lost their houses. These were people who actually owed him money and they came to him saying, hey, we're willing to be slaves for the rest of the lives and you could keep us in your orchards and we'll work for you for the rest of the lives.
And quite interestingly, he does exactly the opposite. He takes all the cash he has and gives it away to these people and said, go build your houses, start your businesses again, and pay me back later, any given point of time, no contract whatsoever. That, in itself, was so altruistic, that I ended up creating software that would help him, which he later gives it away for free to a lot of people. Imagine 1995 creating your own Open Source version of this software, and that's when I ended up in business. So he taught me one very important thing, it's all about people, it's all about, whatever we do today is about making mankind better.
- I tend to take on a mentoring and training role whether you ask me to or not, in just about any project I've ever been on. I really latch on to the newer developers or the more junior developers on the team and I'll just, on my own, come up with ways to train them, I'll come up with material, or just talking to them, nothing formal, no PowerPoints needed, especially when I know they're junior.
'Cause they don't even know what questions to ask at that stage, so just really being observant and taking on kind of that mothering role, it's very like a maternal thing that I tend to do a lot, and it probably also comes from the fact that my mom's a teacher, so I kinda have that teacher gene in me, I just need to teach people, especially when I can see or suspect that someone might be struggling because they're junior at something, and I step in and I'm just offering help, just being human as I like to say often.
I don't see enough of that in my field of people just being human. - Especially public speaking is kind of scary. Most of the people that I talk to, first thing they will say, well I have nothing to say, why would I do that? And then they may say, oh why would anyone want to listen to me? But I strongly believe that everyone has a unique experience, and has something to share and to say. So I will sit down with them and ask them kind of silly questions, like what do you do all day at work? And then when they explain to me kind of a typical day, I kind of extract information, I say, hey, that was interesting, why don't you either write a blog post about it, or write a short five minute talk, and I have mentored a lot of people into just sharing what they know and showing the world that hey, you know what, I'm good.
And I would like to think that that has helped a lot of other developers. - Let's say I have a mentor and when I know that that mentor has helped me improve on every weak point that I had before, and now I have come at a stage where I'm able to go and approach a problem in a way better manner than I probably used to, I think then that mentor has probably changed my entire life. So it's both ways as if you're on the other side, if you are being mentored, or if you are a mentor, in both the perspectives, it changes your life and it has got such a positive influence on your life that you really feel good from within.
- The same kind of goes towards mentorship, it's like finding the people that you really connect with and then goin' out there and sayin', hey I really appreciate what you've done for our industry, or I really appreciate your insight or your wisdom, and I'd really love to spend some time with you. Could we do once a month a meetup, or a call, or something like that? And kind of crossing those boundaries, and yeah sure, it can be a little nerve wracking, but I guarantee anybody that you ask and you come to them willingly and say, hey can you mentor me, most people are gonna say yes to that 'cause they wanna help.