Improve the world — help someone learn
We all have skills that other people lack. Whether it’s programming, knitting, writing, fixing bikes or cooking delicious food, you are better doing it than someone else.
And while everyone of us is good at something, we also crave to learn new skills to improve our lives.
I have a rule:— Stephanie Hurlburt (@sehurlburt) May 29, 2017
Whenever I travel for conferences or work, half my meetings must be with people new to the industry.
In May, I was fascinated by Stephanie Hurlburt’s tweet above. I engaged in a discussion with a couple of people on how to help others and was inspired to do something. Previously, I had organized workshops such as Rails Girls workshops for women and Boost Summer of Programming for non-technical co-founders but I always felt that it wasn’t enough. Few days or weeks worth of group teaching felt like I wasn’t quite able to provide enough value.
This summer, I decided to start a programming mentoring program Koodimentori (Finnish for Code Mentor) to provide targeted 1on1 help for beginners or junior-level developers. Ever since, few people have offered their help or asked if they could join the program as mentors. While I don’t want to start managing a group of mentors at this point, to you and to all others wondering, my advice is:
Just do it!
You don’t need fancy mentoring programs nor marketing stunts to get going. Find one individual who wants to learn and start by sitting down with them, helping them learn something. You don’t have to commit to a long-term plan nor taking X amount of people who you’ll help. Start with one person and one session and go from there.
Giving a few hours in a month of our time is possible for everyone. For finding people to help: just ask people around you. Post on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat that you want to help. And if you feel like you are not good enough to teach, you have my permission to start. You don’t have to be the world champion to help someone get started. All you have to be is sincere and willing to help.
What will you teach this month?