A Professional Mentor Helped Me Launch My Tech Career. Here’s Why It Was Essential For Me

I’m not a savant. My journey into tech didn’t start with phreaking or breaking into the Pentagon’s mainframe. I learned to type by messaging friends on AOL Instant Messenger. I learned Windows administration by locking my grandmother out of her new XP.

My early career brushed up against tech in many ways, but it never fully immersed me in it. I troubleshot computer issues for my coworkers. I administered a cloud server with educational and administrative programming. I never quite classified myself as a super user, but I was often the guy who set up computer systems. I enjoyed using them.

But I wanted a long-term, lucrative tech career. Many people told me, “You’re good at languages and you’re good at computers. Why not become a developer?” The idea resonated, but I couldn’t seem to crack it on my own. Every code-learning website didn’t quite grab me. I tried and I tried, but I couldn’t connect deeper concepts to real-world examples.