Blog • 08.09.2020

How mentoring helped to refine learning goals

How mentoring helped to refine learning goals

Goforeans Teemu and Aapeli participated for the first time in our official mentoring program last spring. Together they helped each other in ways that Google could’ve not – for example by offering deeper insights about the topics, sharing personal experience, and opening up the reasons behind some modern tech solutions.  

At this blog post, Teemu and Aapeli share their mentoring path and experience. Get inspired!    

Teemu’s story   

I have been working at Gofore for over 5 years as a software engineer in various projects in both the public and private sectors. I have worked more on the backend side of projects and while I have some frontend experience as well, I wanted to have a better understanding of some modern web development framework. When I read about Gofore’s mentoring program, it felt like a good possibility for refining my learning goals and starting the learning process.   

“I have worked more on the backend side of projects and while I have some frontend experience as well, I wanted to have a better understanding of some modern web development framework.” – Teemu

I got paired with Aapeli, who has a strong experience with React and Node.js. Given their popularity, they felt like a good choice for me as well. We discussed my previous experience, goals, and ways to achieve them. We decided that I would start taking the Fullstack Open course by the University of Helsinki. The course gives a good overview of React and Node.js as well as many of the other tools and frameworks used with them. It is targeted for people who already have programming experience so it wouldn’t go too much into basics.  

I started taking the course on my own and we organized calls to discuss the new topics every 2-3 weeks. Of course, it would be possible to take the course completely independently as well, especially since it provides many links to extra material in case you want to do some further research on some specific topic. Still, I found the discussions with Aapeli helpful, since they gave me a possibility to reflect on the subjects and ask questions.  

“I am sure the new skills will be useful in my next projects!” – Teemu

I’m continuing to take the course, but so far, I’ve found it good. It gives a good overview of full-stack development using React and Node.js and all the topics have been explained well. I am sure the new skills will be useful in my next projects!  

Aapeli’s story:

Most of my developer career – meaning a bit more than 5 years – I’ve been working mostly with different frontend technologies and Node.js. React.js I have used since 2016. I feel like having a relatively wide understanding of them. I also like helping others and sharing my knowledge, so it felt natural to apply as a mentor when I saw an advert of the mentoring program.  

“I also like helping others and sharing my knowledge, so it felt natural to apply as a mentor when I saw an advert of the mentoring program” – Aapeli

I was a bit concerned about having paired up with Teemu, who had more experience in years as a developer than I do. I knew about peer and reverse mentoring but was still afraid that I wouldn’t have anything to offer for him. We had our first discussion and noticed that due to us having so different kinds of programming backgrounds, I could support him in this learning scope. We agreed that Teemu would start doing the course, and then we would have discussions about its topics and exercises.   

Like Teemu said, working with the course independently would’ve been 100 % possible for him as well. But I think that I still managed to help him in ways that Google could’ve not – for example by offering deeper insights about the topics, telling about a personal experience, or opening up the reasons behind some modern solution.  

“But I think that I still managed to help him in ways that Google could’ve not.” – Aapeli

I hope that Teemu now feels like he understands web technologies and Node.js and feels like he would feel like having a much better base for starting to learn them more deeply if he one day would end up working in a project where that would be needed. Who knows, maybe he ends up loving them as much as I do one day! 

Teemu Leivo
Aapeli Haanpuu  

Gofore Oyj

Gofore Oyj

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