Untraditional Engineering Backgrounds and Mentorship
October 26, 2021
I was speaking with a colleague about a particular aspect of engineering culture at Ro that I treasure: mentorship.
I am headed into my third year leading Ro’s Engineering Fellowship program and am astounded not just by how fast the program has grown (we started off with one fellow and are now looking to hire a dozen) but by how willing more senior members of the engineering team are to act as mentors to these fellows.
While marveling at this observation with my colleague and wondering at how is came to pass they suggested an interesting reason: that a non-significant number of our fellow engineers come from non-traditional backgrounds - the two of us included.
By “non-traditional” I mean anyone who came to the field of software development through a method other than higher-education - think self-taught, boot camps, or trade schools.
This is by no means a certainty, but the reasoning here is that when coming from a non-traditional background, much of your education comes from mentors, both official and unofficial. The hypothesis is that those who relied heavily on mentors to learn will want to ensure the same opportunity for others.