In our latest catch up with members of the MaM community, we spoke to Miguel Rodriguez who is both a mentee and a mentor. We discussed Miguel’s career journey, his experience to date with MaM and his advice for those new to programming.
Miguel is passionate about technology and is a lifelong programmer. Starting out at the age of 13, his early interest in technology led him initially into a career in Artificial Intelligence and Web Development, and later into Fintech.
Miguel first met his own mentor about 18 months ago; he was already a member of the London Java Community but was keen to get involved in the MaM group to see if his career could benefit.
So far, Miguel has gained both long and short-term benefits from the community. Long term, the group has opened his eyes to different career paths and in the immediate, Miguel’s mentor has supported him through his current challenges; in particular, how he can improve as a leader and how to develop his speaking career.
Thanks to his own positive experience, Miguel has now moved on to become a mentor. By taking this step, Miguel is now able to pass on the advice and encouragement that he’s received to his own mentees.
‘If my experience helps others, as other’s experiences are helping me – then I’m more than happy to provide a helping hand. It is actually a pleasure.’
We moved on to discuss the challenges facing new entrants to programming in today’s market. What stands out particularly as an issue is the constant and fast-paced evolution of technology. Frameworks rise and fall in the same breath, so keeping up can be a challenge.
‘Passion is the key to keep recycling your skills, especially for technical roles, but also for management.’
Another stand out challenge is the age-old dilemma – ‘No experience, No job. No job, No experience.’ But, there are ways around this for people looking to get into programming, and Miguel gave us some great advice;
‘Getting involved in open source, or a freelance project can give useful insights and valuable experience in the sector, since you will face similar challenges in the commercial environment. On the other hand, and as somebody involved in the recruitment process, professionals with side projects are more attractive because they show passion and initiative. Being pro-active and passionate are two things I value a lot in a professional. Sometimes, even more than experience, because technologies can be taught, but attitude is harder to encourage.’
If you like what you’ve read today, and you’d like to sign up to meet a knowledgeable and experienced mentor such as Miguel, whatever stage of your career you’re currently at, just visit the website at www.meetamentor.co.uk.
Ps. It’s all free!