You’ve heard a lot about how important it is to have a mentor, especially in the IT field. But, you have questions about how mentorship applies for the various careers in technology.
- What does a mentor do?
- What does a mentee do?
- How will a mentoring relationship help your career?
Could a mentor help you decide which career in technology is right for you? There are so many career options it’s hard to know which career will be in demand in five or ten years. Even if you decide a mentor is important, how do you go about finding one?
What Are Careers in Technology?
Technology is a broad industry. It includes jobs ranging from software developers to web designers. Because of the different careers in IT industry, it’s hard to decide which one is right for you. According to U.S. News and World Report, these are a few of the best career choices in technology:
- Software developer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- IT Manager
- Computer Network Architect
- Information Security Analyst
- Computer Systems Administrator
- Database Administrators
- Computer Programmer
- Web Developer
- Computer Support Specialist
These are not the only options; however, they are the ones projected to grow through 2026. Learn more about career options at Woz U’s Career services and IT mentors.
Although the demand for a qualified workforce continues to be high, companies still evaluate applicants in terms of their skills and cultural fit. On average, every job listing receives 250 resumes with only four or five individuals getting an initial interview.
Why is Mentoring Important?
Mentoring consists of a long-term relationship between a mentor and mentee. The relationship is focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The nature of the relationship may change over time as the mentee’s needs change.
Among IT professionals, mentoring programs are seen as having the greatest potential impact on the industry. Mentoring programs can address the skills gap and encourage industry growth. Mentoring can be especially helpful when the path to an IT career is not always linear. Not everyone arrives in IT with a four-year degree.
Individuals in the IT field are more likely to take personal responsibility for their growth. With proper mentoring, they can be encouraged to pursue opportunities that benefit not only the individual but the industry itself. A structured program can instill a sense of professionalism and expand career opportunities
Mentoring programs help keep employees engaged. Numerous studies have found that between 50% and 70% of employees are not engaged at work. When they are not engaged, innovation does not happen. An active mentoring program helps ensure the industry continues to innovate.
What is the Role of Mentor?
Mentors are seasoned professionals who share information regarding their careers and experiences with mentees. A mentor’s role is to provide guidance, motivation, and support.
Mentors help mentees travel their professional landscape. Because a mentoring relationship is long-term, the focus of the relationship may change based on the needs of the mentee. Here are some of the things a mentor may do:
- Share knowledge
- Provide guidance and advice
- Listen and encourage
- Provide honest feedback
- Explore different careers
- Discuss goal setting
- Advise on professional development
- Identify career resources
- Develop leadership skills
- Provide insight into corporate culture
- Help with networking opportunities
- Review resume and interview skills
- Motivate and support
- Share contacts
Mentors can be an excellent resource for those pursuing a career in technology. Whether you are just starting out or have years of experience, a strong mentor and mentee relationship goes a long way to building confidence and opening doors.
How Can a Mentor Help Your IT Career?
Everyone pursuing a career in technology can benefit from a mentoring relationship. Mentors can present different perspectives on career choices. They can also help you see the bigger picture, especially when you are unsure of your next career step.
Their input is especially useful when those sticky work situations happen. Mentors can also help answer questions about where to go next with your career. If you’re thinking of making a change, a mentor can identify the training or skills you may need.
For example, you’ve been in database administration for a while, but you’ve been wondering about programming. Talking to your mentor can help direct you to the right languages to pursue. They may also suggest some management classes since managing projects is often a need skill for careers in technology.
A Mentee’s Role
Before you start looking for a mentor, keep in mind that this is a professional relationship. You will have set meeting times. The frequency will depend on you and your mentor. Whatever is agreed upon, be on time, and be prepared. If you had an assignment such as updating your resume, make sure it is done.
As the relationship matures, consider ways you can give back to your mentor. Offer to help with some research. Maybe, provide insights into an area that is outside his or her expertise. The more value you and your mentor get out of the relationship, the stronger the relationship will become.
How to Build a Career in IT
Mentor relationships are important for understanding how to get a career in information technology. An IT mentorship can be especially useful when trying to set a career path for yourself.
Mentors understand the industry, its resource needs and trends in technology. They can help outline where the industry is going and what skills or expertise have the greatest need. Just having someone to review your plans can make a big difference in career success.
A mentor who is also a senior person at your company can help open doors and guide you through difficult situations. Mentors who work at the same company can provide strategies for working with difficult co-workers, clients, or vendors. They can alert you to new opportunities or put in a good word when a position opens up.
From helping you select a career path to finding the right position for your skills, mentors are an invaluable resource for anyone contemplating a career in technology.
Mentors in Tech
Finding the right mentor can be difficult and time-consuming. That’s why Woz U offers a mentoring program for its students. The one-on-one mentorship helps guide you through the maze of careers in technology to find the right fit for your passion.
If you are interested in transforming your job into your passion, contact us. Let’s start your career transformation and begin a new you.
How to Help Your Managers Build Out, Not Burn Out. Retrieved from: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/249140/inspire-management-breakthrough-not-breakdown.aspx
Discover the Best Technology Careers. Retrieved from: https://money.usnews.com/money/careers/slideshows/discover-the-best-technology-jobs?slide=2