This week I read the pattern “Find mentors”. In life, we all need a mentor who will train, and teach us what will become our knowledge tomorrow. Some examples: in schools, universities, at home, our mentors are our teachers, professors, and parents because they teach us and train us to become great people in the future and whatever we know today, it’s thanks to them and their sacrifice. But we have to keep in mind that tomorrow, we will also be someone’s mentor or leader.
In this pattern, the author is talking about seeking out those who have gone ahead of us and striving to learn from them. Everyone at some point has been an apprentice. Teachers, before becoming who they are, were students like us too and had mentors (teachers, professors) who made them who they are. Parents, yesterday were children too and had their parents who were their mentors/leaders and examples for them to follow. It’s a rule of life, which is we can only give what we receive.
To become great software developers, we need to surround ourselves with software developers who already have the knowledge and are willing to teach us and help us understand. Seeking help and knowledge from someone isn’t a sign of weakness, on contrary. That is something that a lot of software developers, even people in general don’t understand.
What I get from this pattern, is that in the computer science field, if we want to be the best or become better at what we’re aspiring for, we need to surround ourselves with people who have more skills than us in the domain that we want to master. Also, we need to keep in mind that we’re walking “The Long Road” and that no one knows everything. Even our mentors learn something new every day. The fact that they know more than us does not mean they know everything.
Our apprenticeship is unlikely to happen in isolation, and just as there will be people ahead of us, there will also be apprentices who have not yet reached our skill level. The other side of our search for mentors is that we must be willing to provide mentoring to those who seek it from us. Passing along what we have learned from our mentors is one way in which we can begin the transition to journeyman status.
From the blog CS@Worcester – Gracia's Blog (Computer Science Major) by gkitenge and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.