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How does mentorship work and where to find mentors?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

Everything is available online. What to do, what not to, everything is there. But still, why do we need mentors and how can that actually help our career to grow? Lastly, where can you find good mentors?

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(3 comments)
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    Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon
    2 months ago

    Pasted from my linkedin post. Big companies might have some internal mentorship site to match people. Amazon has one. If not, I would reach out to people on your team and other people that know you in the company. Find a mentor that is 0 - 2 levels above you so that they are still connected to the requirements at your level. The technical stuff is online, but there is a lot more than that to getting promoted such as relationships, how to pick a team and making sure your work is visible.

    There are mentors online but many things are org and company specific. General mentorship is helpful but having someone that has worked at the same company and understands how promotions works can be really valuable. Videos can only go so far. Being able to get feedback on a specific problem is much better than an online video.

    Also you can checkout Taro networking.

    Here is an obvious secret about mentorship in corporate, that can boost your career as a software engineer.

    Software engineers need to mentor others to get promoted. They want you to get promoted, so that they can list their mentorship on their own promotion app. Many engineers simply enjoy helping others even if it doesn't help them get promoted. It's a nice break from coding, meetings and design docs. It's not hard to get advice and mentorship. You just need to have the drive to look for it and implement the feedback.

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    Senior Software Engineer at Intuit
    2 months ago

    This video appears to be a valuable resource for those looking to find effective mentees: Taro's Case Study on Mentoring Junior Software Engineers. It offers insights into what constitutes a good mentee.

    For a senior engineer who is approachable, mentoring junior or mid-level engineers can be beneficial. You're correct that a lot of information is available online, and platforms like Taro are excellent for this purpose.

    While seeking a mentor can be helpful, especially in understanding what a company values for promotion, focusing your efforts on finding a sponsor who is willing to support your career can be more impactful.

    Indeed, general advice from online resources may not always apply directly to your specific situation. Given that everyone is busy, finding a high-quality mentor can be challenging.

    However, in my 11 years of experience, I have found that Taro was the first place where I felt like I had mentors who provided judgment-free and genuinely helpful advice. This makes seeking a mentor outside less necessary.

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    Founder of Expanded Skills • Former Head of Engineering
    2 months ago

    I have a very strong take on this, so here goes.

    The matchmaking experience to get good advice and coaching is one of the biggest crapshoots out there. The low barrier to putting content out there is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes "free and widely accessible" is one of the most expensive things if it's bad advice (e.g. if it changes your trajectory).

    You can probably find 90% of what you need out there if you have infinite time digging or know exactly where to look based on your unique situation. However, there's probably less than 10% that is actually helpful advice for your specific situation, plus your situation and personal preferences evolve so what was good advice yesterday may not be today.

    The volume of content online is rapidly increasing, but the signal-to-noise ratio doesn't follow suit. Some days, I think it may actually be decreasing.

    In practical terms, you need to rely on "filters" you can trust. As others have mentioned, carefully managed communities are one way and another through people (i.e. mentors).

    I believe the truly complex problems need some level of interaction to solve properly, where consuming an offline piece of content simply won't cut it. Static, offline content is best when the problem solution is deterministic and the variance is minimal or even zero (analogous to a math equation).

    P.S. These are some of the primary reasons why I started Expanded Skills -- to make the matchmaking experience better and improve the content signal-to-noise ratio. I could go on for hours about this topic, DM me if you wanna chat more.