Pay It Forward, Mentor

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MainSpring consultants mentor as a way to connectIf you’re new to a profession or wear multiple hats at your company, one of the best ways to learn and improve your skills is to find a mentor. I had several mentors early in my career as a FileMaker application developer and now I’m experiencing the other side of the mentor-protégé relationship. It’s a great way to pay it forward and connect.

At MainSpring, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time mentoring quite a few developers while working on a wide variety of projects. Mentoring not only creates a trusting relationship between professionals, but career-wise it’s mutually beneficial. While the protégé looks to the mentor for knowledge and guidance, the mentor will often absorb a new perspective, develop a new skillset while experiencing the personal satisfaction of helping others. Here’s a quick look at the different mentoring opportunities we’ve experienced.

Private mentoring

Imagine you're a developer stuck on a problem and you can't figure out where to go next. This was a very real problem for a developer working on an inventory system with a shopping cart feature. I was paired up to mentor this developer, and it's turned into an ongoing mentoring relationship where I give advice and teach, while we both worked toward common goals.

It’s been extremely satisfying to work with a professional one-on-one, outside the nuances that exist when you both work for the same company, in the same department or between a boss and subordinate. While working together, protégés learn during the entire building process and have positive results to show for their work once their time is completed.

As a certified FileMaker developer, my students can count on me for high-level advice. Sessions are fast-paced and they always get a little bit of homework to complete between sessions to make sure they progress. I’ve been a witness to the rapid growth of developers through private mentoring and am always surprised by how quickly newer developers can start using advanced techniques.

Mutual mentoring

Mentoring is the core of MainSpring teamwork. We are constantly in touch with each other using collaboration tools like Slack to ask for advice and help with tricky work problems. Since we use team communication, every member of the team benefits from reading the advice that’s given. At the end of the day, our team improves together and we are more productive and knowledgeable as a result.

To develop efficient software solutions, the FileMaker community has proven to be a great place to experience mutual mentoring, where all types of interesting problems are solved.

Community mentoring

I take a great deal of personal satisfaction in my experience with community mentoring, especially with my local developer user group, the Central Ohio FileMaker User Group (COFMUG). Last year, I was proud to be recognized for my community contributions as well as having the opportunity to mentor an entire room full of developers at the FileMaker developer’s conference (DevCon). I’m looking forward to speaking again this year at DevCon 2015!

I always look forward to my mentoring sessions as I’ve experienced firsthand the benefits from creating such lasting relationships.