September 12, 2012 | Manitoba
When students are gearing up for their information technology (IT) careers by enrolling in specialized college programs, they might quickly realize the value and importance of finding a good mentor. Having someone whom students can turn to with professional, academic or even personal questions can be a relief to those who are unsure of which direction their careers will take. Whether students meet their ideal mentors in the classroom, at a networking event or during their practicum placement, this type of relationship can ultimately help shape their futures in the IT industry.
While it may seem intimidating to contact the graphic designer of a major magazine out of the blue, the person's email is out there in the public for a reason. Students will never know what they are missing when they do not seize opportunities in their reach. The worst that could happen when they contact a stranger who inspires them is that they will not respond back. This result might discourage the individual for a short period of time, but it is nothing that a confident student cannot bounce back from - they should continue trying to form positive connections with motivated adults in their field.
Relationships Are a Two-Way Street
Just like any other kind of relationship between two people, a mentorship requires much attention and care. Aspiring IT professionals should make sure to schedule regular emails, phone calls, text messages or in-person meetings with their mentors to make sure that both individuals remain important parts of the other's life. Everyone has to worry about a hectic schedule at times, so claiming to be "too busy" to dedicate time to one's mentor is not a valid excuse to let the connection slip away.
Pay It Forward
Once adults have discovered that strong bond with a seasoned IT expert, started getting their career in gear and begun to feel confident with their professional lives, they can start thinking about who they can help in the same fashion. Students who know what it feels like to desire a bit of guidance in their lives can let younger or less-experienced individuals know that they are willing to help them find the right IT path, whether it is in computer support, database administration or networking. Not only will they feel good about reaching out to others, but it may turn into a learning experience for them as well.