It’s important that this mentor is not the boss, or someone they report to, because that will be a “conflict of interest” if the person you ask honest, sometimes embarrassing, questions to is the same person who hired you and who's also setting your salary. Preferably a mentor is a senior developer in your team with a genuine interest in helping junior developers early in their new career.
During the last decade I’ve been mentoring a lot of developers and also lead several development teams. I’ve been part of mentoring programs working on how to improve the onboarding experience for new developers as well as lecturing on Universities for aspiring developers and during these years I’ve come across a few lessons on how to be a better mentor.
Now I’m not saying that I have perfected the art of mentoring, which is why this article is called ‘How to become a better mentor’, not “the best”. I believe mentoring is one of those skills you never fully master and god knows I’ve made mistakes along the way (some of which I’ll share with you in this article). These are just some of the things I’ve picked up and thought I would share with you today. Enough chit chat, let’s get started!