Do you have a Mentor?

Do you have a Mentor?  I know some organizations have a formal Mentoring program.  I can see the value of the that in a large organization that has an established culture.  This would be a great way for people coming up through the ranks to learn the corporate process.  I have worked in mostly small and mid size companies that don’t have a formal mentor-ship program.  Although I would not say I have not had a mentor though.  As you work with people you can learn a lot from them and their experiences.

In my career I have worked with some great people that I have learned a lot from.  Sometimes I have learned a lot from a manager or perhaps a peer too.  I have worked with a few programmers that would ask interesting questions and look at things from a new perspective.  This can lead to a elegant solutions.  Or perhaps they just might break the rules.  When I was in college at Iowa State University I had numerous professors that would admonish us to never use the GOTO statement.  One of the first things you learn in the work world is some education theories get thrown out the door.  The wily veteran programmer and Database Administrator that I worked with said, “Sometimes a hack is the best solution.”

One mentor I had was very diligent and thorough in his development process.  This brought me to realize one of my weaknesses was to hurry to complete my tasks.  I needed to slow down and put a little polish on my code.  That can be looking over your unit tests to make sure you test all scenarios or testing some edge cases that you may have skipped.  Just looking at the “happy path” is not enough.

Have you had some good mentors?

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