Posted on: July 12, 2022 Posted by: AKDSEO Comments: 0

According to statistics collected by mentorship software developer Guider, mentees are five times more likely to get promoted than those without a mentor. Mentorship is good for the mentor, too — they’re six times more likely to get promoted. On top of that, 87 percent of mentors and mentees reported an increase in confidence spurred on by the relationship.

Mentorships can take many forms, formal and informal. At digital experience insights platform ThousandEyes, for example, engineers are brought into their buddy program and assigned a formal mentor for their first month on the job.

“It’s a great opportunity to share our culture and introduce the new hire to other team members,” said Gabe Garcia, software engineering manager. On top of formal mentorship, Garcia makes time for one-on-one knowledge sharing with his team members, taking advantage of his position as one of the company’s original engineers.

On the other hand, Self Financial — a fintech company dedicated to helping credit-invisible people — has a less formal mentorship among its engineers, though it’s no less baked into the culture. Instead of assigning individual mentors, Self’s managers and team leads work together to help each of their team members shape and enact their desired career paths. This approach is no less successful — according to the SVP of Software Engineering Jim Mulkey, Self has a long history of promoting from within as a result of this guidance.

“We have examples of people who started as software engineers and were promoted to senior and then team lead, or someone who started as an engineer and is now managing one or multiple teams,” said Mulkey.

Built In Austin sat down with Mulkey and Garcia to learn more about the formal and informal mentorship programs ThousandEyes and Self Financial have in place for their engineers.

 

Gabe Garcia

ThousandEyes Software Engineering Manager

 

What’s a practice your team follows that encourages a culture of mentorship and knowledge-sharing among your team members?

Most of our projects are multidisciplinary in nature, and each team member brings different interests and areas of expertise. By making sure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the parts of the project they’re more interested in, the collaboration and knowledge-sharing process naturally appears. 

Additionally, we place a large emphasis on retrospectives and story time meetings, where team members share what went well and what didn’t, and learn from each other’s domain expertise. As a mostly remote team, we also look forward each week to our team social on Fridays, where we connect about non-work-related topics.

 

How do you, as a leader, serve as a mentor to members of your team?

Mentorship is a continuous process. As leaders, we must create a team culture where collaboration and knowledge sharing are encouraged, and we must lead by example. I have weekly one-on-ones with my team — I offer to dedicate some of those meetings each month to knowledge sharing and architecture review. Being one of the original engineers that designed the backend pipeline for our dashboarding engine, I’m in a unique position to share that internal knowledge with my team. Offering your own time and encouraging team members to reserve time out of the sprints to collaborate — whether that is pair coding, conducting knowledge transfer sessions or making internal presentations — is one of the main foundations of our team’s culture.

As leaders, we must create a team culture where collaboration and knowledge sharing are encouraged, and we must lead by example.”

 

What formal mentorship programs does your company offer, and what does this program entail? 

Within the ThousandEyes engineering team, we have the buddy program where one of our engineers will pair with a new hire for their first month in the role. During that period, they meet several times to become acquainted and review onboarding and services. This initiative has been a huge success, providing very helpful assistance to new team members and fostering collaboration — which is especially important in a hybrid work environment.

 

 

Jim Mulkey

SVP, Software Engineering

 

What’s a practice your team follows that encourages a culture of mentorship and knowledge-sharing among your team members?

At Self Financial, we hire people into our engineering team with all levels of experience —  So it is important that we develop them, whether they are joining as an entry-level developer or a principal architect.  

We have a career ladder that allows engineers to choose whether they want to develop on an individual contributor track or a management path. As individual contributors, we have a strong lead culture where each team has a team lead who guides and mentors engineers on their team. The leads partner with the manager to support each person’s individual career goals — they work in tandem to find assignments and roles that allow software engineers to develop their technical and leadership skills.

We also encourage knowledge-sharing so everyone is aware of what is happening across the teams. For instance, our architecture team has a monthly forum where they review areas of the application, share how it works today and outline any designs or changes planned for the future. This allows everyone to stay informed and to learn about new technologies.

 

How do you, as a leader, serve as a mentor to members of your team?

As the leader of the engineering team, my approach is to provide vision and guidance — but to allow my leaders to define how we implement programs and initiatives. For example, we are planning on moving from Agile Kanban to Agile scrum methodology, and I have pulled together a small team of technical leaders, management team members and product management team members to help define and guide the rollout. In my experience, this approach yields a better result and also allows the tiger team to work on something that they are passionate about and demonstrate their leadership skills.

Team leads and managers work in tandem to find assignments and roles that allow software engineers to develop their technical and leadership skills.”

 

How has a mentorship culture helped your team grow?

Although we have hired a lot of people from outside the organization due to our growth over the last two years, we have a strong bias to promote from within when possible. Through mentorship of our engineers and managers, we have been able to fill many senior roles with people who joined our company within the last few years. We have numerous examples of people who have started as a software engineer, been promoted to senior and now are a team lead, or someone who started as an engineer and are now managing one or multiple teams.