How to Mentor Yourself as a Mobile Developer

You can’t expect a colleague to do it all

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Photo by Pietra Schwarzler on Unsplash

One of the best predictors of success in your development career is having a mentor to help you through the rough and the smooth of your programming journey.

Ideally you have that senior colleague to talk through your latest bug or issue, and to give you an idea of how you might produce code that is better quality than any code you have created before.

A Mentor is difficult, if you work on your own

The world of mobile development can be rather isolating if you are working as a freelancer or are the only such employee at your company. What can you do in this case?

Programmers are a social bunch, and doubly so when online. Look, if you’ve got an issue hit me up on Twitter. You can look through who I’m following to find other developers. Look at GitHub repos and see who is making those commits to open source projects. Type “Swift” into your Podcasts App (although watch out for Taylor).

There’s plenty of support out there (even on Reddit), tap into it and be prepared to ask for help. One word of warning though, Stack Overflow can be an intimidating place so if you’re going to ask questions don’t get discouraged!

There are plenty of face-to-face ways to meet people in the same industry. Evenbrite allows you to see what’s going on in your area in terms of mobile meetups and get involved! Organisers are often happy for you to speak even if you are a beginner in the field.

Making friends, offering (and accepting) help is a great way to spread knowledge throughout the community. Get involved and join in!

If you work on your own you might not have access to another programmer. You might try stack overflow and find the environment to be…less than welcoming. You might despair.

To prevent this rather upsetting situation you can use an inanimate object — for many this is the classic rubber duck but for others it can be any object — to talk through a problem line-by-line or even at a higher level of abstraction.

When you explain a problem, you find holes in your knowledge. These holes are filled as you talk through the code line-by-line, giving you clarity around not just the problem but a potential solution.

Talking through a problem gives you the opportunity to clarify your thinking and see a way forwards and to progress through the problem

The action of creating the explanation is what is important, and crucially does not necessarily need the feedback of colleagues and co workers.

You develop yourself and your thinking, while not disturbing your colleagues.

This is what is known in the business as a win-win situation.

So why wouldn’t you?

Having a mentor really is one of the best ways to work and to learn quickly. If, for whatever reason, this isn’t possible in your context don’t despair! You have the powerful resource of yourself and the power of the Internet at your disposal.

Your success is in your own hands — using the advantages that you have propertly and to the maximum effect will see you get there and help build your grit and determination. If you can do it on your own, imagine how powerful you will be when someone is in a position to mentor you!

Make the most of your situation!

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