Find Mentors

While most of the Apprenticeship Patterns  I have read thus far are mainly focused on developing long term skills with an internal locus of control, as many of these patterns’ goal is to change our perspective to be more successful and adaptable to the software development industry. What I like most about this pattern, “find mentors”, is that the authors give good advice for branching out socially into the software development community by finding skilled individuals who can serve as mentors that can use their perspective and experience to catalyze the growth of our skills.

What spoke out most to me about this pattern and the reason I decided to write about it was their quote which seemed to me to encapsulate exactly the meaning of what they were going after; “Your apprenticeship is unlikely to happen in isolation”. While it is ultimately up to us as apprentices to take responsibility for our own development, there is an immense value in finding someone else who is worlds more experienced than you to show you the ropes and use the benefit of their experience to learn the best ways to do certain things or pitfalls to avoid.

The authors give a lot of good advice which I would not have thought about without reading this pattern. First, they highlight not only the importance of finding mentors but also the difficulties associated with finding something. Not only is there the risk that the individual is not interested in mentoring an apprentice, but it can also be difficult to find such a suitable person. The solution the authors provided is to start out by lurking at online forums related to the field and topics that we are going into. After lurking and getting a good sense of the community and their values, then it is good to start discussing on threads with people, and even asking for advice.

What I learned from this pattern is the importance of finding a skilled mentor to catalyze my professional development, as well as concrete strategies for finding people who might be willing to take on an apprentice. While the responsibility is on us as apprentices to gain the skills needed to succeed, finding a mentor is definitely a huge step forward in the journey to master the craft of software development.

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