Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I have always had a strong desire to share my knowledge with others. Whether mentoring undergraduates as an early side job or delivering training sessions as a consultant to clients across Europe, I have always been driven to impart my skills and expertise to those eager to learn. Initially, I thought of pursuing a PhD and becoming a professor, but I realised I preferred writing software over research and teaching. Only years later, I learned I didn't have to choose between the two. I am now proud to mentor junior developers at my current job, inspiring the next generation of learners to achieve their full potential.
How did you get your career start?
My career began with a six-month mentorship in France, during which I gained valuable experience in academic research and an international work environment. It was my first time leaving my home country of Italy to work abroad, and it turned out to be the best decision of my life as I never returned. My professional career, in terms of paid employment, began a few years later when I worked as a backend engineer for a small startup. This was over 10 years ago. In the years since, I have held various job titles, including Software Engineer, DevOps, Consultant, and Trainer. I've worked for small startups that grew exponentially and for large corporations such as Sony Playstation and more recently, Elasticsearch.
What do mentees usually come to you for?
In my initial meeting, I focus on understanding the mentee's motivation and goals for the mentorship while also identifying their strengths and areas for development. This step ensures a personalised and effective mentorship journey tailored to their needs. In our subsequent meetings, I create a customised plan that includes regular check-ins and discussions on Discord, complemented by home assignments such as readings, courses, or personal projects. I then review these assignments and provide constructive feedback, always keeping their personal growth at the forefront of our mentorship journey. My mentorship approach goes beyond just technical skill development and encompasses emotional and motivational support, recognising these as crucial elements for your personal and professional growth.
What's been your favourite mentorship success story so far?
I have a success story about mentoring a small team of young software engineers almost eight years ago during my daily job. I mentored them in the best practices of software development even before my professional mentoring had started. One of them is now a successful engineer in a FAANG company, and I believe that I had an impact on his professional growth. Recently, I have started a long-term mentorship program with someone who wants to change jobs to improve their financial situation. This has motivated me to invest more time in helping this person grow professionally.
What are you getting out of being a mentor?
Becoming a mentor has had a significant impact on both my personal and professional career. As a young boy, I never thought I would be doing any public speaking as I was quite shy. However, early on in my career, consulting and delivering training courses changed everything. Since then, I have always believed that I learn as much from mentoring as my mentees learn from me, if not more. Having to teach someone has always been a great motivation for me to go a step further and improve my own skills.