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What is mentorship and what the dev.to Membership program look like as a potential mentee and what could look like

Tiago Magalhães
Full Stack Developer.
・3 min read

We are all developers. We code, we make stuff happen with our machines, we help bring ideas to life. We work for others (and with others) or we work for ourselves. Sometimes both. And during the process of doing what we do, sometimes we scramble and we reach out to unscramble our problem, other times help others unscramble.

This social activity of helping / get helped can be defined as mentorship. This can be the simplest definition and, according to the dictionary in macOS mentorship is defined as:

the guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution: he is revered by his employees for his mentorship and problem-solving qualities.

  • a period of time during which a person receives guidance from a mentor: a two-year mentorship with an entrepreneur in a tech start-up.

The last part of the latter definition talks about duration. So it can be variable. So, we could fit in all those 1-minute bug-fix situations, those lengthy "tours" around a legacy app or a talk between frontend and backend developers to understand previously agreed API agreements about the frontend would talk to the backend two weeks ago. So mentorship could be different regarding complexity of the situation where the mentor will guide the mentee.

These situations can occur in an office environment or even when working remotely for a company. But what happens when we work as a freelancer or on our side-project or potential startup idea. We recur to the web. We look documentation, tutorials, QA community-based sites (I'm looking at you SO), Slack and discord rooms, Repo issues, etc.

These are all forms of mentorship that maybe more or less tight to that traditional definition. When we post a question on SO hoping for an answer, we are looking for someone comfortable on that technology to give some helpful guidance towards the solution of your scramble. Or you want to use another type of Database and look at the "Getting Started" guides.

But if we need guidance on something on a higher level that the last example, where do we look for?

We can look for offerings on Craiglist, or google for some platform that allows people to display themselves as mentors and other people to look for them. That can be tailored as mentors lists their areas of expertise or tech stacks they use which allows potential mentees to filter.

And regarding that, I'll be talking about dev.to Mentorship program as a potential mentee that didn't fill an application, and how it could be improved, if this beta program could/will get stable.

I have a couple of issues that fill my brain about my life as a developer, Ones about my capabilities, others may be about side projects as working on my own. I can look to consultants, or mentors in mentorship-oriented platforms. But dev.to also offers that service of matching a mentor with a mentee. And as I regard dev.to community as a welcoming and helpful one. I could list myself as a mentee.

When I reach that page right now. There are some forms, one to enrol myself as a mentor, other as mentee, and both forms have some helpful descriptions on what to fill in those forms. But after I read that, the subjects that I could use some guidance does not fit in those descriptions. It's not tool or technology related. If I still submit an application, is there someone that can offer guidance regarding my needs or may I be submitting blindly?

What I want to bring to discussion is to know how is the state of the nation towards dev.to membership program and how it could be improved to be more clear about what it can provide to the community because it could have an increase in mentors and mentees and visitors the dev.to.

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