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Paras Shah – Meet the Mentor

I am a Software Engineering Leader with 20 years of experience. I have worked in various roles at companies such as Cisco, Riverbed and Coinbase.
Paras Shah

Engineering Manager, Coinbase

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

Mentorship is a gift that keeps on giving. In my early career, I had a mentor at work. This really shaped my career and put me on a path to success. To date, I exchange emails and notes with my mentor. Having decades of experience, I now want to pay-it-forward as a mentor and when I learned about MentorCruise, it was a no brainer. I take pride in mentoring and coaching students and help them in their careers.

How did you get your career start?

After I graduated from USC, I took a couple of Software Engineering jobs. I was learning a lot but I always felt that I missed that there is a lot of my own potential that I need to unlock. It is at this time, on my 3rd job, that I found a mentor. He was my team lead and was very instrumental in channeling my raw talent into focused and high impact projects and deliverables. After that there was no looking back. Mentorship helped me go up the career ladder, hone my soft and hard skills, become a team player and deliver high impact projects for my orgs.

What do mentees usually come to you for?

Mentees generally come to me for interview coaching specifically for Engineering / Tech interviews. These interviews, such as those at FAANG, are some of the toughest interviews in the industry. With my own experience, hearing from peers and other mentees, I have a developed a very structured approach to mentor and guide mentees to tackle these interviews and pass them with flying colors. Often, even after they get a job, the mentees retain me for ongoing mentorship such as career goals, promotion, negotiations and handling work and difficult conversations and feedback.

What's been your favourite mentorship success story so far?

I was coaching a mentor for a job at Karken, a crypto exchange. This mentee wanted coaching and guidance on the interviews and was skeptical and under confident. We worked together for about 2 months and solved several problems. We worked on coding problems, system designs and behavioral interviews. The mentorship was a combination of mock interviews and coaching sessions. Each time, we discussed the good and the bad of their solutions so that the mentee can learn from their mistakes. Finally, we felt that he was ready and I was delighted that he not only nailed the interviews and got a job offer, but also negotiated a 10% higher salary that the initial offer.

What are you getting out of being a mentor?

For me, it is paying it forward. I know, from my very own experience, that a good mentor can meaningfully shape your career in a positive manner. I take pride when my mentees get job offers or promoted or otherwise are thriving. It brings a smile to my face when I receive an email or a note about a mentee who achieved way beyond what they thought they could do. Mentorship also allows me to hone my coaching skills and understand the varied nature of issues and problems that people face in their career. This allows me to be a better leader at work and lead my team with empathy and a coaching mind-set. Mentoring is a big part that enables me to do a better job as an Engineering leader

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