It seems fitting to discuss the Find Mentors apprenticeship pattern this week. I recently finished up a successful refactoring of the AMPATH online-tracker. My pull request was accepted by their development team, and is officially part of the ng2-amrs repository. I am adamant the end result was possible only after receiving the help from a mentor of sorts. I consider Felix from AMPATH a mentor in the sense that he helped clarify many questions I had concerning the online-tracker refactoring, the overall project, and Angular in general. One of the objectives when applying the Find Mentors pattern is to seek someone with knowledge in an area of interest that far exceeds your own. Since Felix’s knowledge of the AMPATH application is leaps and bounds ahead of mine, I think I’ve made a considerable effort to begin applying this pattern.
I have come to the realization I am going to need mentors to gain any sort of momentum in my professional career. My greatest struggles that have been preventing me from reaching out to mentors are intimidation and fear of rejection. But as those describing this pattern point out, the potential payoffs reaching out to mentors far outweigh the risks.
I need to remind myself that the vast majority of open-source communities are very knowledgeable and friendly people, more than willing to help others. I can cite the AMPATH development community as an example here. When I first learned that we would be working on an actual open-source project with seasoned developers, sure it was intimidating to say the least. It took a little while for me to gain the courage to ask for help from them. But honestly, it was certainly worth it. Not only did I get a pull request accepted, we now have a online tracker service to work with for our offline module implementation. I also gained a whole lot of priceless knowledge concerning the functionality of the overall project.
One of the suggested actions given by those describing the Find Mentors pattern is to actively observe open-source communities. The intention is to, over time, find one or more communities that seem especially helpful and inviting to newcomers. The aspiring apprentice should then reach out to potential mentors from those communities. After I graduate, I plan on finding such a mentor to help me get through the whole job interviewing process. I know I am going to need a lot of help and support for this.