Whether you’re taking on a new role or switching careers entirely, feeling like a newbie in the workplace can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. One way to combat these feelings and advance your tech career is with mentors and sponsors.
Leveraging others around you and those within your network is not only extremely beneficial but increasingly common nowadays as well; a Stanford survey even found that a vast majority, 80% to be exact, of CEOs have had some mentorship during their careers. The importance of networking and “who you know” in the professional realm is never going to change, so seeking outside advice and mentorship opportunities are important steps to take to further your career.
What’s the difference between a mentor and a sponsor?
Mentors provide guidance, advice, and support. Regardless of what stage you may be at in your career, there will always be room to advance and learn more. When finding a mentor, individuals typically look for someone with the exact experience and knowledge that will help guide their own career. Mentors can help foster growth internally, challenging and teaching their mentees, and vice versa. For example, a senior software engineer may act as a mentor to an aspiring developer, showing them the ropes of day-to-day life, how they got into the field, etc., while the aspiring developer could in turn keep the senior developer up to date on any new languages down the road.
Sponsors, on the other hand, can directly streamline your career growth. In the tech space, sponsors can act as financial support, help expand your network, and advocate for you as a candidate when job searching. When finding a sponsor, you want to highlight your abilities, skillset, and work ethic while proving why this individual should vouch for you. For example, an executive for a software company may act as a sponsor for a student in a coding school, helping to pay for their tuition and securing them a job for after graduation.
Benefits of Mentors and Sponsors
Both mentors and sponsors create unique opportunities while fostering confidence and career growth. Mentors provide advice, support, and guidance, help you highlight and attain your career goals, and contribute relevant expertise and experience. Above all, mentors promote accountability and feedback in an encouraging and empowering environment. Sponsors provide high-level insight into the industry while helping you expand your skillset, contact list, and network – they also act as an advocate for you, promoting you as a desirable and must-have candidate.
Doing What’s Best for You
If you’re feeling stagnant in the workplace or eager to advance your career growth, consider finding a mentor or sponsor. Leveraging those around you or in your industry can be a beneficial way to expand your knowledge, network with others in the field, and receive invaluable industry guidance. If you may be interested in a career change, reach out to a mentor or sponsor, or connect with our team here at Momentum today.
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