If you’re a self-taught programmer, you need to invest more time and energy in identifying mistakes and solving problems on your own. Having a professional mentor by your side can ease the burden and help you become a better software engineer.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Programming is a practical field. Expertise doesn’t come from learning, but from doing. Often, that isn’t enough either. If you’re a self-taught programmer, you need to invest more time and energy in identifying mistakes and solving problems on your own. This can get much more challenging when you’re stuck.
Imagine having an expert professional, who has walked the walk before you, guiding you throughout your journey. In short, imagine having a mentor: a senior professional solving some of the toughest business challenges in the industry today, taking time out of their week regularly to get you unstuck.
The benefits of learning software engineering with a mentor are endless. Springboard knows this: we match all our software engineering students with a personal mentor. Mentors act as a guide, coach, and sounding board while you complete your course; they're always there to help, listen, and impart valuable knowledge garnered over decades of experience.
There are many ways to learn software engineering. Here's why learning with a mentor might just be the most valuable.
There’s a wealth of information online. Some of it is legitimate; some not. In navigating this sea of information, many students studying software engineering don’t have a compass to guide them. Not everyone learns the same way—so, even with a structured curriculum or college degree, it's easy to feel lost. Students can’t tell what success means and when to stop studying and start doing.
A personal mentor can help clear all these obstacles and more.
A mentor can eliminate the fluff and distractions, and keep you focused on what you need to do to become a software engineer.
Making a piece of code work isn’t necessarily the same as writing good quality code. For instance, Python might be one of the easier languages to learn and work with. Yet, being 'Pythonic' requires you to adhere to standards and follow best practices that are held in high regard among the Python programmers community.
While you’re learning on your own, you might miss out on the finer aspects of production-ready code. A mentor can fix that.
Transitioning from learning to a career in software engineering requires more knowledge than what you can find in a curriculum. A mentor will ensure you have access to this knowledge is, and will show you how to benefit from it.
It’s not easy to hold yourself accountable when you learn software engineering. However, with a mentor, you have a robust feedback loop as well as an accountability partnership that keeps you pushing forward in your journey.
Long-term assignments are tougher than we want to believe. A mentor will help you stay on track.
Your mentor can be a source of inspiration when a problem is particularly difficult to solve and the coding process becomes a little repetitive.
A mentor is someone who is already in the future that you want to create for yourself. They are proof that it’s achievable and an inspiration to keep going.
Careers in software engineering need a lot more than just technical skills. Interpersonal skills and culture fit are important expectations employers have from their teams. Mentors can help you understand the professional world and gain these skills too.
You don’t need to lose your uniqueness in this process. You can identify characteristics of your mentor you want to emulate, and thoughtfully add them to your arsenal of skills.
Your mentor might be the first contact in your expanding professional network. They’re an expert who is working with others like them. They are also a valuable resource whose abilities and connections.
Your mentorship is a lifelong relationship that will help you progress in your career by setting the right goals, regularly upskilling, building leadership qualities, and exceeding your goals.
"I want to empower people—especially women—in developing technical capabilities that will allow them to go after better opportunities," says Leslie Chen, a product marketing manager at Stripe and a Springboard mentor.
A mentor can mean the difference between simply learning software engineering—and becoming an excellent software engineer.
Ready to switch careers to software engineering?
Springboard offers a comprehensive software engineering bootcamp. You’ll work with a one-on-one mentor to learn key aspects of front-end web development, back-end web development, databases, and data structures and algorithms. Modules include learning resources, practice exercises, projects, and career-related coursework.
Check out Springboard's Software Engineering Career Track to see if you qualify.
Not quite ready to dive into a software engineering bootcamp?
Download our software engineering salary guide
This 21-page guide breaks down the software engineering career path and how to optimize salary figures.
Ready to learn more?
Browse our Career Tracks and find the perfect fit