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Building confidence and foundational skills during a career change

Kyle first found a passion for web development when he had to set up a website for his online teaching business. To get the website up, he taught himself the basics of software engineering, leading to a new-found interest in the topic and a desire to transition into this career.
Hossam Mourad

Senior Software Engineer, Okta

A Bootcamp later, Kyle got his first position in software development at a digital marketing agency, caring for various WordPress projects. A good start, but not what Kyle was after.

With the ambition to transition into proper foundational software engineering at a tech startup, SaaS company, or similar, it was time for Kyle to make the next step as a developer and connect with a mentor. That’s when he connected with Hossam.

Supplementing formal education with industry experience

The goal for Kyle was to brush up on his foundational software engineering skills, to get direction for the next step in his career, and to get quality feedback to grow and figure out the steps to get there.

While online courses were good and helped Kyle to build some knowledge, he hit a ceiling with them fairly quickly – when he’d have needed some expert feedback to push to the next level. With Hossam, Kyle had a solution for that.

But not only that – Hossam also helped with setting up a strategy to lead Kyle towards the next step. The choice was between pushing for employable skills and getting an interview right away – or taking the extra step to brush up on the basics and go back to zero for long-term success. Kyle chose the long-term vision, went back to the basics, and with Hossam by his side, brushing up on many foundations that were cut short the first time around.

“Getting feedback during this process was essential”, says Kyle.

It wasn’t long until Kyle saw remarkable improvements in his work and the feedback he received. It only took a couple of weeks until things started to click.

A boost of confidence and skill during job interviews

Not before long, it was time for Kyle to go on the job hunt. Technical interviews are among the most daunting for junior engineers. Many companies have built long, stretched-out interview processes that check an engineer’s hard and soft skills from head to toe.

And not only that, but besides being able to handle interviews and selling your experience and capabilities, it wasn’t clear to Kyle which companies would be worth applying to. What are the factors to evaluate a company? What are the red flags to look out for? What are the usual perks and benefits? All that got a lot easier with an experienced mentor by the side.

In the end, just as many junior engineers experience it, Kyle had to go through many rounds of interviews and many rejections with it. With the support from a mentor, together with the grit and determination, Kyle has built as a self-taught engineer, he was able to push through the interview cycles and scored a great position as a software engineer.

Staying sharp and growing as a professional

Is that the end of the mentorship? No! Kyle is keeping the connection to Hossam and is already eyeing his next goal – to grow as an engineer in both soft and hard skills.

“It’s really helpful to get feedback from co-workers and more senior engineers. It helps me grow in my job. But it also helps to have out-of-job feedback. That helps me grow as an engineer and professional, and learn new skills. It’s great having someone follow you throughout your career, even when changing jobs”.

In the end, it’s Kyle’s personality to implement and act on feedback quickly and Hossam as a source of external feedback that has helped Kyle go from programming beginner to hired engineer in under a year.

“I see mentorship following me throughout my career. I’d like to stay at the receiving end for a long while, but can also see myself giving back as a mentor soon. MentorCruise has been great at facilitating that mentorship”, says Kyle.

Every month, hundreds of mentees seek mentorship to push forward as an engineer in their career, make job changes or learn a new skill. Kyle and Hossam have created a relationship that has brought confidence, feedback, and growth opportunities to this journey – which was rewarded in a new career with continued chances to grow.

If you are also looking to grow professionally, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mentor.

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