A few months ago I decided I wanted to make a little bit of extra money on the side of my main job. I thought it would be nice to have a source of income that I could use to buy things like skis or bikes or other cool gear for my hobbies. I decided to start tutoring, teaching people about software engineering and how to build applications. Man did I meet a LOT of different people, from startup execs to doctors transitioning into the field to people who haven’t used a computer beyond facebook.
It has really helped influence my perspective to tutor these people. I have to constantly change my perspective, look at things differently and evaluate where the person is coming from and how can I explain this technical thing in a way that helps them understand.
To be a good mentor, you need a few things:
- You have to have the expertise in the field. You need to understand how software works, how to design software and how to build things.
- You need to be comfortable to think on your feet and quickly explain things in many different ways.
- You need to listen, then communicate. You have to understand where the person is coming from, you need to understand how they learn and translate the complex concepts into concrete examples, being specific and guide them to the answer.
Being a tutor has really helped shape my own perspective and it has helped me to discover that I really love guiding people in this path. I think that professional training is really cool, its a lot of fun to help people learn and develop themselves.