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Mentorship is a Powerful Tool: Here Are The Lessons Learned from Being Mentors

We, at Wix Engineering, love telling the stories behind the challenges we face daily and how we solve them. We do it using our blog, newsletter, podcast, Medium, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Telegram and at our meetup community.


Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash



Lately, we introduced a new option to book 1-on-1 sessions with some of our top engineering minds. Enabling anyone to consult and talk about any engineering-related topics. From management, software development and scaling to engineering culture, architecture or anything in between.


These sessions are free of charge as a service to the community (visit the mentorship page for more info), and led by Aviva Starovolsky-Peisach, Asaf Yonay and Avi Perez that contribute their time back to the community.


The lessons learned


After having more than 30 mentorship meetings we think we have some interesting insights to share. Here’s what Aviva, Asaf and Avi have to share:



“Why was it important for you to be part of this project?”


Aviva: Mentorship and accompanying people in their growth journey is one of my passions. In this format, with ad hoc meetings we get exposed and share different experiences, challenges, organizational cultures, and points of view.


All in a condensed 30-minute session that can give new and different perspectives and thought directions which enriches both mentor and mentee.


Aviva Peisach


Asaf: I really think we learn a lot from people that are in different stages and environments than we are. So, personally, I was happy to take part and learn so much. I also had the pleasure of talking to people that were examining their own career decisions and even life decisions. I’m honored they gave me the option to help them with my insights.

Avi: Most of the decisions I made in my life can be attributed to my personal mentors who gave me fuel and wings to not be afraid and to take actions. When you think about that deeply, when we want to find mentors, in most cases, the people we choose reside in our environment or are very similar to us, or biased. This option opens an easy opportunity to get more angles of the problem and leverage mutual learning. And besides, it's always fun to meet new people and talk about technology, engineering and everything in between.



“What were the topics and the concerns that kept repeating in your 1-on-1 meetings?”


Aviva: A topic that kept repeating is how to create a healthy, engaging and scalable engineering culture, and creating synergies rather than conflict with management and product. Got to share how our Wix engineering guilds work and hear of similar attempts and challenges in other companies. You can read more about engineering culture and guilds at Wix here: Continually Growing Your Engineering Skills While Scaling the Organization - The Unique Wix Engineering Culture.


Asaf: Mostly, the macro-level questions of how to build an engineering organization that is both performing well but also fun to work in. And at the micro-level, personal questions about career path decisions, such as:

  • Should I focus on FED technology?

  • Should I go more full stack?

  • Should I aim for a big company as my first step or a smaller startup?


Avi: The topics were around 3 main focus areas:

  1. Questions and concerns regarding personal and professional growth paths.

  2. A repeated topic, which I personally really liked: How to lead, change and bring impact to my super complex organization (I found out how subjective the word “complex” is from different perspectives :))

  3. Technical discussions: Moving to a managed Kafka service - pros and cons, adopting event driven paradigms in my flows, how to crack technical interviews, and more.


Avi Perez


“OK, so what are the 3 main pieces of advice, based on your mentorship experience, that you can share with the reader?”


Aviva: With building an engineering culture - changing your engineering culture is not a copy-paste operation from other companies' models and practices to yours.


It's a long & iterative journey - make sure you first map the problems you're trying to solve, engage and get backing and partnership from key stakeholders. Only then start evolving the engineering practices, continually measuring and checking that you're in the right direction and adjust accordingly.


Asaf:

  1. Never stop learning and doing your craft - Keep a side project, get involved in a major release at work, whatever, but keep working on being the best at what you do.

  2. Don’t be an asshole - Achieving things at the expense of others is a short-term win and long-term loss.

  3. Don’t wait for external validation and praise - If you go to sleep at night knowing you brought value and did the right things, you’re on the right track.


Asaf Yonay


Avi:

  1. Remember that we will be sorry about the things we will not do rather than those we will do.

  2. Try to avoid the practice of endleslly learning and always seeking for mentorship without really taking action.

  3. Locus of control is a very important skill to master. Remember, you have much greater power than what you think you have and can impact. Get advice, master the domain and execute!



“Please share with us some of your mentors and how they helped you in your journey”


Aviva: The best mentors I had, taught me to seek the "mentor inside". Being able to pause and reflect on your decisions, choices, reactions and behavior, understand what worked well and what (and how) you can improve in future situations is the key to ongoing growth.


Asaf: I think I learned a lot at each place I’ve worked from a number of people - They taught me confidence, the value of integrity and personal relationships, and emotional intelligence in a world that is full of logical people. I think these skills can help anyone become a successful contributor and leader.


Avi: I have been blessed with two mentors who have helped me throughout most of my professional life. I urge each one of you reading this, to find a mentor, also. They have always pushed me to understand what the problem is that I am trying to solve, what’s in it for me, and not to forget to imagine what “success” will look like.



Want to take part and have Aviva, Asaf and Avi as your mentors?

Just book a 1-on-1 sessions with them.


 

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