Becoming a Software Testing Mentor for Per Scholas

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I’ve not regretted my move into testing; it’s been fun and challenging and continues to be so. I’ve also received a lot of advice and encouragement from the test community, both online and offline. So when the opportunity arose to give something back, I took it.

I recently became a mentor for Per Scholas, a non-profit that’s giving IT training to people in low-income communities and helping them find jobs.

Some people from the test community recently got involved with Per Scholas and set up the Software Testing Education Program (STEP). The first group of 20 students have just finished training, and now it’s time for them to find work. To help guide them on their way, Per Scholas has paired them with mentors.

When I saw the request for mentors go out, I volunteered, and now have a mentee under my wings. We’ve had our first contact, and I’ve already gotten something out of it — and not just because I feel I’m doing some good. My mentee asked me a couple of really good questions that got me thinking about my past experiences, what I learned from them, and how I could pass them on.

I’m thinking about what I should teach him next (though I’m also hanging back and letting him drive the process), which makes me reflect on what is important to know and what the best way to learn and teach this is.

If you’ve not considered being a mentor, I’d highly recommend it. If you are mentoring someone already, any tips you could share on making it work?

  • Keith Klain says:

    Thanks Phil, and I totally agree with your point about getting as much from the relationship than you are giving…I think the key is to having that open mind and realizing that this is a learning experience for everyone involved and not just an opportunity to impart some wisdom – although I’m sure you have loads of that as well :) Thanks for getting involved!

  • Allen J. Scott says:

    I would like to say thanks to Phil for being accessible and willing to part knowledge on a newbie. The Per Scholas experience has been amazing, and it’s exciting to see how much support we have from everyone in the profession. Thanks Phil!

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