A month ago, I received an award from OutSystems for the social impact my mentoring of women has had on the community. This led to more women seeking my mentorship in this specific area, but at the same time, it got me thinking that I wasn’t doing enough. Yes, I went from mentoring a few people occasionally to a group of dozens on a regular basis, but it should be hundreds. We need to scale the model, and therefore, I’m here to explain what mentoring is so that more mentors and mentees join the cause.
The technology industry is constantly evolving and often described as the engine of innovation and opportunity. However, for many women, entering and progressing in this industry is an impossible challenge. This is where mentoring plays a crucial role. In this article, I will explain how mentoring can bring more women into technology, highlighting the importance of this relationship, the benefits it brings, and how everyone can get involved.
The Power of Mentoring
It’s important to know that mentoring is a collaborative relationship. Traditionally, it’s a relationship between someone with more experience (mentor) who provides guidance, advice, and support, and someone with less experience (mentee) who receives all of this to accelerate their development. In the context of technology, mentoring is even more valuable because the industry is constantly changing. Without guidance from someone who has witnessed the evolution and knows how everything works, there’s an information overload that can be confusing for juniors.
However, what nobody mentions is that mentors can also learn a lot by listening to someone who brings a fresh perspective to something that may seem obvious. Someone who wants to know the whys and asks disruptive questions. It’s also an opportunity for different generations and backgrounds to communicate and have personal development beyond professional development.
Traditional mentoring has three major advantages:
- Learning: Mentors share knowledge and experiences, speeding up the development of technical, professional, and personal skills of mentees.
- Confidence: Having a mentor who believes in your potential can significantly boost confidence, which is essential for success in any career.
- Contacts: Mentors with established careers have networks in the industry, which can open doors and opportunities for mentees.
How Can I Become a Mentor?
Being a mentor in the technology industry involves much more than just sharing technical knowledge. A mentor plays various vital roles in the professional and personal growth of mentees.
- Guiding and Advising: A mentor acts as a guide, helping the mentee navigate the challenges of a tech career. This may involve advising on project choices, identifying growth opportunities, and setting clear goals.
- Sharing Experience: A mentor shares personal experience in the tech industry, including the challenges faced and how they overcame them. This helps the mentee learn from past mistakes and successes.
- Developing Skills: Mentors help develop essential technical and professional skills by offering practical guidance, recommending courses, and ideally providing opportunities to work on joint projects.
- Advising on Decision-Making: Making crucial career decisions can be intimidating. A mentor provides valuable insights to help the mentee make informed decisions, from job choices to training and development opportunities.
- Building Confidence: A mentor supports the mentee’s confidence development, encouraging belief in their abilities and resilience in facing challenges.
- Expanding Networks: Mentors often have well-established industry networks. They can introduce the mentee to influential people, providing valuable networking opportunities and identifying the best job openings.
- Providing Constructive Feedback: A mentor offers honest and constructive feedback on the mentee’s performance, helping them improve their skills and grow professionally.
- Empowering: A mentor inspires the mentee to empower themselves, set and pursue their own goals, and overcome obstacles.