A few weeks back I showed up as a mentor on a local RailsGirls event.
I was excited about it. A bit surprisingly for me, I got several questions in the sense of ‘why do you do this actually?’. My favorite one was ‘do you try to prove something to your wife?’. 🤦
For me, it was quite obvious. I work as a software developer for the good part of a decade now. I don’t do open source, but I use open source. I read blog posts like this and learn from them. All these tools and knowledge shared - for free! So I felt the need to give back to the community. The same community I turn towards when I have a problem I can’t solve and made me who I am today.
Good karma aside, there are quite a few things one can learn while teaching.
- Explaining a concept shows how good you understand it and where your weak spots lay - too much confidence is intimidating
- Being able to handle two non-tech ladies’ questions in parallel is challenging - probably as challenging as leading several junior devs, juggling between more experienced devs, stakeholders and PMs at the same time
- Most importantly - patience to know when to repeat the same for the 14th time, when to cut some corners and when to dive deeper You don’t need to be a rock-star, nor an exciting extroverted storyteller to do fine with mentoring. I’m neither, but I did well. You need to feel the urge to give back to the community. That’s pretty much it. So yeah, I’m doing it again next time. If you haven’t tried it yet I advise you do it. Find a local workshop in your area of expertise and sign up as a mentor now. It won’t change your life, but it might just change someone else’s.