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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

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Why Seek Mentors?

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash


Recently I had attended an event that talks about "Mentoring in Tech Space" by SG Innovate. It was a great event that the highlight of that event was a panel discussion.

Which involves multiple people from all walks of Singapore's tech startup ecosystem ranging from VCs, Tech Entrepreneur, Professor in Academic Institutions, Angel Investor to people who are running startup accelerators.

They offered a lot of insights into the mentoring of young people like you and me or people who are just starting their career in both tech & startup space.

I must say without veterans like them, I believe I would not be able to successfully break into the startup space as a developer in a startup.

Journey to Find a Startup Mentor

Despite I always had a keen interest in startup & technology space since university.

The problem is that I was really clueless about how I could be part of the startup ecosystem as a developer or a tech salesman.

It was only through a mentorship programme called "MentorsHub" that I signed up for during University.

Where I was matched to one of these veterans in the startup ecosystem in Singapore as my mentor called "Kenny".

Since he offered insights to me on what to look out for in assessing potential startups.

Drawing from the wealth of experience in being part of the ecosystem, involvement in coding boot camps and job placement of PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) professionals to startups who are interested in these PMET's experiences.

He had helped me to gain a better understanding of myself which I could apply it in my job search as a developer.

Who I will always be eternally grateful in helping me to be self-aware of myself through the questions that kick my butt & he acting as a sounding board for me.

Benefits of Mentors

There are tons of benefits of having a mentor to guide you on your journey to becoming what you envision yourself to be.

Here are some of the benefits that come to my mind when you have a mentor to help you on your journey to becoming who you envision yourself to be

North Star

Having a mentor helps to navigate your own life into becoming who you envision yourself to be.

But you most always keep in mind that you need to figure out your own north star.

As even the best mentors are not able to help guide you if you are not self-aware of where do you want to end up in life.

Sounding Board

Mentors can sometimes be your sounding board & your cheerleaders.

Whenever you are making your decisions by taking action or setbacks that you had encountered on your journey.

By asking questions to clarify your thought process and to uncover potential pitfalls of your plan before taking action.


Due to the mentor's experience and the hard knocks they had encountered in their journey.

They can provide insights that could be beneficial to you to shorten the time and hard knocks you encounter while you are moving towards who you want to be like.

For me, Kenny gave me a hard knock on my head to look for ways to gain technical skills so that I could be attractive to startups.

By either going for an intensive 3-month coding boot camps, heading to internships for startups or working temporarily in a company but focus on gaining the necessary skills to become a developer in a startup.

3 Cs of Being a Mentee

Since I had listed down the benefits of having mentors, you might consider in rushing out to find a mentor.

Before you start to find a mentor, I would recommend you to focus on these 3 Cs before getting yourself a mentor.

Which could greatly help you in forming an authentic & long-lasting relationship with your mentor.


Competence has many forms to me, it's about the preparation of yourself before you start chatting with your mentor.

It could be doing your homework by going to your mentor's LinkedIn profile to get a rough understanding of who they are.

Preparing a list of questions on what do you want to ask them or just spending the time to reflect about your north star for your reasons on embarking a mentorship relationship with your future mentor.


Being compassionate to your fellow human and giving back to help people is part of the reason why anyone wants to be a mentor.

So you need to be kind, friendly & considerate of your mentor. As they took out their precious time to mentor you.

So leave your attitude, pride and anything that is inconsiderate of a fellow human being out of the window whenever you are going to meet your mentor.


If you have commitment issues and following through till the end don't even start a mentorship relationship

Which goes back to number 2 that is being compassionate & considerate of your mentor's time & effort.

As you are just wasting your time and your mentor's time if you do not go for any mentorship session that you had arranged with your mentor.


I hope this article, might be useful for anyone wish to seek out a mentor to help you.

I had mentors that had helped me immensely in my journey as a developer.

I am forever indebted to them due to their keen insights, advice and experience that helped to shape me into who I am now.

Please pay it forward by becoming someone's mentor to help them on their own journey through life.

Which I will be starting to do next week as a mentor for multiple junior developers for Junior Developer SG in our first kickoff session of mentorship.

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This post was originally posted on max's blog at Why Seek Mentors? (Read Time: 5 Mins) and Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash


Top comments (4)

jamesmh profile image
James Hickey

Good stuff. Having some solid mentors is something I really lacked early in my career. I think not having mentors (even informally) can actually lead to having some really poor attitudes too!

Being able to have someone to correct you or just demonstrate how to be mature about people, conflicts, etc. is huge.

I love your point about a soundboard. Once I had people to have some in-depth convos about stuff (who also challenged me on my ideas) I really started to understand how tech is rarely about the "right" choice but the "best" choice in the given context.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Yes having a mentor can help immensely as especially they challenge you to test your reality or assumptions in the career of choice or the work you do.

I remember my mentor had me focus on building a board of advisors or mastermind popularize by Napolean Hill to throw them ideas and have them be your a devil's advocate before attempting anything.

helenanders26 profile image
Helen Anderson

Loved this post, thanks for sharing your experience and great resources :)

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Thanks for the complements, love your articles as well.

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