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Dynamics of 1-on-1 Mentorship

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Data Engineer at Financial Companya year ago

I'm wondering about the dynamics (plusses and minuses) of having a personal mentor. Taro is fantastic in that it gives me access to the best software engineers to answer all the tech-related questions I can think of.

Still, I'm wondering if there are advantages to having a specific mentor, someone a few years senior to me who's in the position I want to be in. The idea would be that they could show me what to focus on to develop my career in a way that is more individualized. I write this as I've just been matched with Orbiit which I'm super excited about, but not sure if that's mentorship so much as peer-to-peer.

I got the mentorship idea from a company called SharpestMinds, which focuses on project-focused mentorship for career switchers for Data and SWE roles.

This question isn't about them, but the idea of personal mentorship more generally.

So to summarize, I have 3 questions:

  1. Why should I get a designated mentor?
  2. How do I get a personal mentor?
  3. What should I do as a mentee in a mentor-mentee relationship?


  • 3
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a year ago

    Why should I get a designated mentor?

    It's just really nice having a dedicated person who really cares about you and your growth. The hard part is finding one and maintaining the relationship as this dynamic is inherently very one-sided.

    How do I get a personal mentor?

    I recommend these 2 resources:

    As mentioned before, the default state for a mentor <-> mentee is one-sided with the mentor providing a lot of value for the mentee with the mentee providing little in return. Your overall goal with your mentor is to correct that and bring balance to the value exchange.

    • When you have a mentor in the workplace, you generally return the favor by offloading their work. They delegate their lower-complexity work to you (it's low complexity for them but medium to high for you), which gives you scope while allowing them to scale themselves. This is a healthy mutually beneficial relationship.
    • When you have a mentor outside of the workplace (or even within the workplace but outside of your immediate organization), things become a lot harder. Be creative and proactive around how you can provide value to them. It can be something outside of work: Maybe they're really into League of Legends and it turns out that you're incredible at the game and have been playing since you were in high school.

    What should I do as a mentee in a mentor-mentee relationship?

    On top of the aforementioned return of value, I recommend this Q&A: "How do you get the most out of mentorship?"

  • 3
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    Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google
    a year ago

    Agree with Alex, if you can find someone who is able to dedicate their time to be your mentor, that's awesome.

    That being said, I wouldn't underestimate relationships with peers or leads who are not officially your mentor (see this Taro post for more context).