Access to technological knowledge is now easier than ever. Books and industry press, but above all, countless online sources of knowledge make it possible to acquire specific expertise in your selected field of interest, and to do so at home, on your own. Is there still room for more classic mentoring in terms of developing employees’ technological skills, i.e., teaching through cooperation with more experienced specialists?
In my opinion, definitely yes. Even the best online course will not provide the opportunity to observe the thinking patterns of experience technologists, while they complete real projects. Solving the problem is important, but knowing how to reach the solution is what constitutes the foundation of employee development. How to approach error analysis? How to develop an appropriate design for the created functionality? The answers to these and many other questions are learnt with time and experience, and they require making many mistakes – however, it is better to learn not only from your own experiences, but also from those of others. The flood of online knowledge can also make it difficult to choose the best and most optimal source of knowledge, especially for beginners. Independently selecting the elements to focus on at a given stage of your development is not easy, without having someone by your side, who, from their experience and based on an evaluation of your work and knowledge, can direct you to the right path. Working with a mentor with appropriate awareness and technical expertise allows for a much faster development of the proper line of thinking and of the good practices needed to become a valuable and independent member of the project team. It also helps in the harmonious and effective development of one’s technical knowledge. Moreover, mentoring brings measurable benefits to the mentor, who, in the process of teaching others, can deepen their own knowledge and often even identify shortcomings in their technical abilities. Every IT professional has at some point, taken things “at face value” and there is no better way to verify if we truly understand something than to have to explain it in an understandable way to someone less aware of the given subject.
At Clocklike Minds, we never leave colleagues on their own. We openly share knowledge and experience and help each other overcome technical challenges, both within project teams and the entire organization. Employees who are just beginning their adventure with the technology used by us, have access to appropriate training, but above all to people who have “cut their teeth” on this technology and can explain any issue to them and advise which elements of the training are the most important in real projects. I think this value cannot be overestimated, and I am glad I can co-create such a working environment in our organization.