IT mentoring as a service can go a long way in offering students guidance, resources and a few baby steps into the professional world of tech, outside of academia.
In previous articles, we’ve shared the success stories of our trainees whose first-hand accounts into slaying the dragon have already inspired a new class of tech students into taking the leap to jump-start their careers.
But, all too often the true heroes behind these stories are left unsung. Despite the tiny introvert rocking back and forth in the corner of our minds telling us so, it is impossible to succeed alone.
You need people. You need teachers.
In this article, I’ll be putting the role of Mentor under the microscope and shedding some light onto what can be equal parts a charitable and rewarding experience.
Pentalog is proud to play an active role in preparing the next generation of IT specialists. Given the increasing need for professional IT services and professionals, Pentalog invests yearly into technical training programs aimed at providing students a smooth learning path towards a successful IT career.
In 2018, Pentalog Cluj opened its doors to 3 PHP & 3 Python students, including 2 French nationals eager for an international experience. The students were assessed, carefully selected and paid for the time they devoted to the program. They received one-on-one professional mentorship from 6 senior developers, chosen based on their previous mentoring experience and programming skills.
PHP, MySQL, Symfony are well-established technologies chosen as the focus of PentaStagiu in Cluj-Napoca, whereas Python and Django represented novelties as the key study subjects.
Why should I become a Mentor?
If you’re one of the many thinking mentorship is a purely altruistic affair, think again. Here’s what you’ll get out of IT Mentoring:
- Fresh PerspectiveWhat is considered a relevant technology today can be rendered obsolete in the time it takes to blink. Who better to help you stay at the forefront than the leaders of tomorrow?
- Big Picture Acting as a mentor will give you the ability to take a step back and observe the way your company operates on a holistic level. This big picture perspective will allow you to make more informed professional decisions and no doubt make you look like a rock-star in the eyes of your boss.
- Possible PromotionThose who mentor have an 80% chance of being promoted. By contributing to your company in a manner that adds value, managers will make sure you’re happy. If that means offering you a more prestigious position, they won’t think twice!
“I’ve been involved into Pentalog’s PEP program for quite a while now and it’s a great feeling to see how people evolve and learn new stuff – and that most of them continue as full-time employees. Being in charge of the PHP internship has also helped me continuously improve my soft skills and improve the program’s content and presentation every year.” – Silviu, Chief Mentor, PentaStagiu Cluj
An Agile Mentorship Program
The training program had to be smoothly and successfully conducted by the mentors alongside their simultaneous commitments to other projects in different stages of development. Our Pentaguys became multi-tasking masters, dividing mentorship duties amongst themselves whenever necessary.
Teamwork. Flexibility. Agility.
Mentors not only adapted to students’ different learning styles, they were tasked with compressing a large range of theoretical knowledge into practical, hands-on exercises, which many universities lack. By applying what they learned in school, our students were able to test their knowledge while preparing for the workforce.
Catalin – “Being a mentor was one of my great experience. You face challenging situations and you always have to be prepared to answer any questions. You have to share your experience with the candidates and be the developer you want them to become. You have to provide guidance and clear feedback, as well as challenges that will help the candidates meet their goals. You get to know them well, you have to adapt yourself to their needs and support them to develop their knowledge and skills.”
Practice makes Passion (Not Perfection)
Based on our trainees’ individual schedules they set their own agendas, goals, outlined a strategy and started their tech journey. After project deliverables were defined, they moved on to the familiarization with the product and a better understanding of the flow. Following the epic’s analysis our mentees, closely guided by the P5 guys were assigned smaller tasks, outlined specs and decided on the best resolution. This entailed research, development and refactoring some old code.
In the end, our mentees made improvements on an internal app, created as a platform containing data related to Pentalog employees’ technical evolution which is used for individual assessment.
According to Calin, another mentor in charge of the Python module of PentaStagiu, our mentees performed impressively well, especially given the fact that this was their 1st hands-on use of Python outside of school.
Starting with a CSV file, they statistically analyzed, created a series of graphics and transposed the data into Excel & SQL. With some help during the configuration process in the form of workshops and code review, their teamwork made the project a great success. Based on the YouTube API wrapper and using the Django Framework, our trainees built a party song manager intended to play music off YouTube.
We’re ecstatic to report that upon completing the internship program, 5 out of 6 students chose to stay with us and are currently crafting their individual paths at the Pentalog Software Factory!
Want to join the Pentalog team? Pick a project that matches your profile and join us for a chat! Available job opportunities at Pentalog
Turning Mentees into Mentors
One shining example of how our traning program works to educate and inspire is Pentaguy Radu, who started out as a mentee himself.
“You’re still at university or you just graduated and you start your new internship with us at Pentalog. The first day comes and you have no idea what to expect, how difficult it will be or how high the expectations of your new mentors will be. That’s how our interns felt. I know this because that’s exactly how I felt when I was in their shoes and went through the same internship 5 years ago.
But, soon after those worries evaporated without them realizing it, when we started a journey together through the world of PHP, OOP programming, databases and the beautiful Symfony framework.No journey of this kind is without its difficulties; but we all understood that those difficulties are a sign that we’re building a solid knowledge foundation in this domain.”
Don’t you think you’re qualified enough? Have a knowledge gap? As a trainee, we’ve got your back! It is proven that the blend of generational skills leads to professional advancement and better educated, well-rounded employees. We’re sure there’s a project for you.
“The first big thing for us as interns was to create an API wrapper. We also learned how to build our own web applications using Django, develop them in virtual machines and finally deploy the app.” – Andrei
“When I first started the internship in 2018, I didn’t know anything about Python. Today, I can work with Python, Django, Django’s REST Framework, virtual machines and virtual environments inside Vagrant. Everyone here is really friendly and ready to help with any difficulties you encounter.” – Dragos
“I had the chance to meet a lot of great people who were very supportive and answered any questions I had during training. Also, the classes were structured so that even someone who wasn’t familiar with PHP could learn how to solve basic tasks using this technology, from the very first weeks. For me it wasn’t the case, but this did help me enhance my knowledge in PHP, MySQL and lay my foundation in Symfony, the framework I’m currently using on a daily basis. I would repeat this experience tomorrow.” – Delia
We value our growing network of talent as well as our quest to nurture the next generation of IT professionals. This is why we are currently working to build our relationships with universities in Cluj and excited to meet you!
Our Cluj team is growing. Apply now:
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