This week I caught up with another of our Meet a Mentor Mentees, Chris Sewell. We discussed Chris’ experiences as a new Mentee, his advice for aspiring Java Developers and his hopes for the industry as a whole.
After graduating from the University of the West of England, Chris worked across several technologies ranging from mobile apps to enterprise applications. He’s now a Software Developer and Co- Founder at BigAvocado, a Technology Consulting start-up where he helps other start-ups use technology to grow.
• What was your first impression of the Meet a Mentor programme?
It was great, everyone was really friendly. The introduction process has been well thought out and it attracts some brilliant professionals.
• How well did the team match you to a Mentor or Mentors that meet your needs?
I think they’ve done a really good job; they’ve really understood what I’m looking for and helped me to narrow down my options.
• Can you tell me specifically how the programme has helped you so far?
It’s already connected me with a fantastic CTO mentor who has shown me how varied the role of CTO can be under different circumstances. He’s helped me understand what options and different paths I could take with my career. To pace myself and a few things to avoid. I’m really interested to see where his business goes and what great things come out of it. Potentially it’s something that my own company could become in the future, so being able to see his journey and learn from it is a huge gain.
• What do you wish other people knew about the Meet a Mentor Programme?
How rich the pool of members is and also, how motivated and organised RecWorks are at ensuring people can get value from the group. For me this really sets the group apart from others, the connections I’ve made given how little time I’ve really had to put in is amazing.
• What’s been your proudest moment to date as a mentee?
I think it’s being told to keep doing what I’m doing and receiving encouragement from people with much richer experiences than me.
• Is there an error you’ve made in your career to date that you’d be willing to share?
I’ve made plenty of mistakes, no one thing springs to mind. It’s a bit cliché, but I think the important thing is that you grow from it and try not to let it happen again. Careers are long, often I think you have a lot more margin for error/pivoting than it seems. A few people I’ve met from the Meet a Mentor group have bravely come into Software Development as a career change from something else which shows how it’s possible to change and grow at all stages in life.
• What are your top tips for people looking to get into Java Development as a career?
Java is a popular language but there are many others too. I would say try and learn as much as you can of other languages, it will make you a better Java programmer.
• What are your hopes for your industry?
I really value education; I’d like to see more tools and initiatives in this area. I think things like CodeClub, STEM ambassadors and Amal Africa are great for this. I’d love to see more individuals get involved in teaching technology.
And finally, just for fun…
• Which 3 words best describe you?
Outgoing, independent and a bit geeky.
• Do you have a favourite quotation?
This is a difficult one! Probably… “You only get out of life what you put in”.
Chris has enjoyed his experience as a Mentee so much, he’s now signed up to be a Mentor. If you’d like to get involved in the programme and get the support of Chris, or one of our other amazing Mentors, it’s really easy – you can sign up here http://meetamentor.co.uk