re: I've Trained Programming Interns For 6+ Years, Ask Me Anything! VIEW POST

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re: How did you get into the role of a mentor? How do you build enough knowledge to be confident enough to mentor or teach? I find that I have a good...
 

I wound up in the role of a mentor somewhat unintentionally. I'd been planning to start an internship program through my company, but I was originally afraid I'd have nothing to offer. It was my computer science professor who assured me that I already knew plenty enough to mentor, and I'd learn the rest on the way.

I've learned that there are really only two rules about whether you're ready to be a mentor:

  1. You can only take people as far as you yourself have gone.

  2. If you keep learning more, you'll always be at least one step ahead.

Starting out, I knew how to write production-quality code and complete a project by a deadline, but that was about it. I learned a lot through mentoring...at least as much as my interns did!...and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. The trick was, I was willing to admit to my interns when I made a mistake, to listen to feedback, and to continually grow as a leader. As long as you learn from your mistakes, you can only grow in your leadership and mentoring skills.

I think Doctor Who (11th, if you're keeping track) unintentionally sums up the primary secret to leadership when he says to his companions...

Hang on tight and pretend there's a plan!

It works out surprisingly well.

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