When someone wants to grow as a professional, they sometimes run to the internet to search for knowledge and get desperate about how the IT area evolves at a speed that it is not possible to keep up with. The quality area resembles that. It has evolved in recent years, requiring professionals to adapt the way they work with the necessary knowledge. Mentoring becomes an opportunity to develop faster and more assertively than if it were done without anyone’s help. In this article, I will explain why you should have a mentor in your QA career.
You will understand what mentoring is and learn the benefits of having a QA mentor. In addition, you will learn what to consider when choosing a mentor, what kind of goals you can work on in a mentoring process, and what steps mentoring should take to be successful 🥇
If you want to professionally develop yourself, mentoring can be a very interesting path!
What is mentoring?
Many people still have doubts about what mentoring is. Therefore, I selected two very clear definitions of the meaning of mentoring:
- “Mentorship is the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. In an organizational setting, a mentor influences the personal and professional growth of a mentee. Most traditional mentorships involve having senior employees mentor more junior employees, but mentors do not necessarily have to be more senior than the people they mentor. What matters is that mentors have an experience that others can learn from.” – Wikipedia
- “The activity of giving a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, especially at work or school.” – Cambridge Dictionary
We can summarize by saying that mentorship (or mentoring) is a relationship in which a more experienced person guides a less experienced person in a specific topic.
Mentoring is not just a question-and-answer relationship, but it is a deep relationship of exchange, learning, and growth 🌱
Mentoring must be explicit, as both the mentor and mentee must agree to the mentoring. It must be a long relationship, as it is necessary that the relationship be constant and permanent until the objective is reached. It must be purposeful because it needs a purpose, a goal & a clear objective. And it must be meaningful, as growth is for both those involved, the mentor and the mentee.
Mentoring can be done individually or in a group. When happening in a group, it’s important that everyone has a common goal. However, even in a group, individual monitoring at a certain level is necessary. That is because each one has a different pace and can reach the goal at different times, due to the intensity that each one delivers for changing, and also due to the different levels of opportunity that each one can have in their work.
Benefits of having a mentor
“If everything is on the internet, why do I need a mentor?” this is the first thought that crosses anyone’s mind when it comes to mentoring. Yes, there is a lot of content on the internet. And that’s the problem! The overload of information and content available on the internet is huge so that a simple search generates hundreds of results, and you don’t know which of them to trust 🤷♂️
If you’re not from or just starting in the quality area, or if you’re starting in the automation area, you still won’t know the best and most reliable content that will bring you the best results. In addition, the time you would spend searching and filtering this content could take hours, days, or even weeks, and as we all know time is gold.
These are the main benefits of having a mentor:
- Count on the partnership of a person who has already gone through the challenge you need to go through.
- Get directions from a person with a higher level than you.
- Make use of a content curator focused on your goal and level.
- Have a professional guide you through a growth plan designed specifically for you.
- Have a professional who will not let you give up on your goals and will be side by side, encouraging you to achieve them.
- Rely on a professional who will help you reach your goals much faster than if you try alone.
How to choose a mentor?
One of the most important factors you will come across when searching for the mentoring process is how to find the ideal mentor. Many times, you are not from or you’re just starting in the area, and due to the difficulty, you have already built relationships that can become a mentor and mentee relationship.
It is important to highlight that you can have two types of mentors:
- A mentor appointed by the company you work for.
- A mentor you hire when you identify him as interesting for your goal.
Some companies use mentoring to develop their professionals quicker, and with the desired knowledge. In this case, you probably won’t have the opportunity to choose, but the most important thing is that it’s a person you feel comfortable sharing your doubts and experiences with.
The best way to get 100% out of a mentor is to hire one. You define your objective & where you want to go, and then you have a professional you can trust, who will be totally transparent with you and who has nothing that can influence them on the journey.
To choose a mentor, consider the following characteristics:
- They need to have a higher level of professional experience than yours in the quality area.
- They must already be experienced in the area you wish to learn, or have already gone through the journey you wish to make.
- You need to admire and trust the professional who will be by your side.
Mentoring in your QA career
A mentor can help you in many situations in your QA career 👩💻 This section lists several of the possible goals of mentoring:
There are many opportunities for development when you have a mentor. In this section, some of them will be presented. However, any goal that can be planned and carried out step-by-step can become a mentoring goal. Choose your goal and get started! 😎
If you want to have a mentor, you must first define what goal you want to develop, as shown in the examples in the previous section. Then, you must choose who will be your mentor, taking into account the criteria proposed in the “How to choose a mentor” section.
After starting a mentoring process, you should follow a few steps for better results:
Set a goal
Setting a goal is perhaps the most important part of mentoring. A goal needs to be specific (what you want), measurable (being able to determine that you have reached it), achievable (realistic), relevant (why it matters for you), and temporal (when do you want to reach it).
Set a deadline
A mentoring process needs to have a well-defined time frame to achieve the goal ⏰ Having a deadline will help you build and follow the plan and deliver more energy in the steps.
Define a plan
With a clear goal and a deadline, an action plan must be created. Knowing which steps to follow, in which order, and until when will be essential for the goal to be reached within the defined deadline.
Define how to measure
Finally, it’s important to know how to measure your evolution throughout the process. It will help you know that you have evolved from one mentoring section to another, and when you have reached the expected goal ⚽
In this article, you understand what mentoring is and the benefits of having a mentor in your QA career. Having a mentor will bring you more assertiveness, more speed, and consequently a better chance of successfully achieving your goal, whether it is in your professional life as a manual or automation tester, or in your personal development.
In addition, you learned what you need to consider when choosing a mentor, and mainly, you learned that the mentor needs to be a person with more experience than you in the area that you need to develop. This article has also introduced some topics that might be potential goals of a QA career mentoring process. Finally, you learned what steps a mentoring process must follow to be successful 🤩
There are several development opportunities you can pursue through mentoring. With well-established goals and deadlines, a well-defined plan containing the steps you should follow, and a permanent & frequent relationship with a mentor, you will get great opportunities in your QA career.