I am now nearly two months into my first full-time job, working as a software engineer at Delphix in San Francisco. I've been spending quite a bit of time thinking about what I'm learning, and I've decided to start a blog to help me better formulate my thoughts in this area.
So far, I've learned why people from California don't enjoy Chipotle (the burritos out here truly do put their East Coast counterparts to shame), why these same people do enjoy bagels from Starbucks (they haven't spent enough time in New York), and a whole bunch of things about working at a tech company. I'll be focusing mostly on the last category here.
Sadly, it seems that San Francisco has little to offer in this category. Stated more explicitly, the first goal of this blog is to examine my own personal, professional and technical growth as I embark on a new career. My other goal is to write about topics which interest me and bear some relationship to my work or the technology I use, and which I think may be interesting to others. If all goes well, I'll accomplish my first goal by pursuing my second.
My first post is about mentorship, which I've quickly learned is something that Delphix culture strongly emphasizes. This became clear to me through my interactions with my technical mentor, Basil. Basil is not my boss or manager, but rather, an experienced software engineer who is helping me gain the technical knowledge about Delphix that I need to succeed.
I have learned that Basil has a superpower. He is able to speak extemporaneously and purposefully for extremely long amounts of time. So far, there have been at least three instances where, upon sitting down to talk about something with me, he's spoken for over an hour straight. There is generally no need for me to do anything other than listen in amazement and nod as extremely useful information comes out of his mouth in a non-repetitive and very well structured form.
Although at the beginning of these talks I often find myself confused or lost with respect to whatever problem I'm trying to solve, I'm invariably prepared to continue my work after we're done speaking (at least, so long as I remember what he's said. This is why I've begun taking extensive notes when we talk). While Basil's skill for elocution is impressive in its own right, what stands out to me is the fact that Delphix encourages Basil to spend so much time helping me.
It's clear that his job as my mentor is to ensure that I have the assistance I need to grow and thrive at Delphix in the long run, not simply to give me the information I need to accomplish the task in front of me. I'm not simply being taught about important Java classes and how to run tests. I'm also learning about things like how to solve short-term technical problems while setting myself up for long-term success, the best ways to give constructive feedback in code reviews, and even proper etiquette when scheduling meetings.
While all of this requires a large time investment on Basil's part, I believe that as a result of these efforts, I'm progressing through my onboarding much more quickly than I have in any of my previous work environments. Not only am I quickly gaining the technical knowledge I need to accomplish my current tasks, but I'm also growing as a software engineer and as an employee thanks to my mentor's focus on my success.