Remember when you were just starting out, maybe in your early 20s, and a more experienced engineer took you under their wing, helped you navigate those first few years of your career, and always had from-the-field words of wisdom to share? I bet now, looking back, you can really appreciate all that they did for you, even though it was basic stuff like showing you how to properly solder or request design resources in a corporate environment or letting you shadow them at an event. These people, be they formally or informally, are mentors, and those of us who have had them in our lives are lucky. Or maybe you are a young engineer, looking for such career guidance.
Mentoring seems to be almost a natural instinct for engineers. Engineers see someone in need of a helping hand and step in, just like they would if a design needed help.
But, still, it's a time consuming act that, if done long term, can require significant commitment. And let's be honest, not every person out there is looking to learn (or is worth your time). So how do you find these folks to pass your own words of wisdom onto and how do you find the time? Or, if you are looking for a mentor, how do you locate someone willing to help?
At previous events managed by EDN's parent company, UBM, including Embedded Systems Conferences and DesignCon, EDN, and its sister brand EE Times has held what we call "Mentor Meet-ups," where we open the door to young engineers and experienced engineers with an invitation to casually network, ask each other questions, and possibly form working relationships.
This time around we are taking a more structured approach. We're keeping the event small and following a more "speed networking" approach. Our younger participants will spends a few minutes with each more practiced engineer, chatting, asking questions, and discussing careers, then move from seat A to seat B, and so on, giving everyone a direct opportunity to meet. That will be followed by an open breakfast where more casual networking can take place.
We're reaching out to local universities and young professionals in the Santa Clara area as attendees, and we're looking for more experienced engineers, as well, who want to share their smarts and get an idea of who will be sitting in your chair in 10, 20, or 30 years.
While we are keeping this event small and registration is required, no one is obligated to be a mentor or mentee after this speed mentoring session. What we are doing is opening a space to allow connections to be made. You can take it from there.
If you are a more practiced engineer who wants to participate, post a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a young gun, visit this page to register for DesignCon Next-Generation Day, which will host the speed mentoring session and also includes a mid-day Next generation Engineering panel with some under 25-year-old engineering rock stars, a closing-day networking session, and some goodies to take home.
Hope to see you there.
DesignCon Speed Mentoring session
Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.
Young engineers register for the networking event and Next Gen day here. Experienced engineers email or comment below.
To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EDN.