On Mentoring…

I’m at home today, thanks to this awful weather and my body not liking weather changes much. So being at home, I was twitter-surfing and came across the tweets of one of my favorite programming bloggers/authors. In one of his recent tweets, he mentions (in passing) that he has a mentor, which I find quite interesting.

I’ve been reading up on mentoring a lot lately. Being in a professional organization such as the Association for Computing Machinery, I’m exposed to some interesting benefits, including membership to MentorNet. So after receiving numerous emails on it, I figured I’d check it out. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading through the MentorNet site to get a better idea of the way they work.

In many past experiences, I’ve been shadowed by younger students and younger programmers and techies. I’ve enjoyed being able to share my experiences and knowledge with them, and I especially enjoyed being able to take the step of instructing labs in college and working with students then. I love programming; I love what I do. The passion for programming compels me to share my talents when I can.

Getting where I am today, oddly enough, I haven’t really had a mentor. Sure there were professors I looked up to while I was in college, and there were the guys along the way who encouraged me to keep it up. That’s just how I’ve gotten to where I am – getting lucky by meeting the right people and networking with them. But there were never any mentoring programs at the college level, at least not in the programs I had been in.

So I have to ask – for those of you who have/had mentors, how has the mentoring situation helped you? Have there been any problems that you’ve run into? Sure, I can read sites about mentoring, but I’m curious about personal experiences as well.

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