Why We Mentor at SEP

February 22, 2016

We started a Formal Mentorship Program in 2013 with a really simple vision statement:

Become awesome(r) faster. – Raman

This statement was accompanied by a graph that looks something like this:

Slope of Awesomeness

Right now, we have 8 new SEPeers in process (3 fresh-outs, and 5 fresh-ins), but the mentor group still has a monthly get together to make sure we’re keeping it fresh.

A common theme during our monthly get togethers is “How do we know if we’re helping our mentees become awesomer faster?”

So, being the engineers that we are, we broke this down into 3 axes that we can help our mentees exploit, and that will help us know if we (as mentors) are on the right track.

Our current implementation looks something like this:

We will navigate our mentees toward:

  1. Technical Excellence
  2. Cultural Fitness
  3. Professional Intelligence (think IQ, EQ, etc.)


Our mentorship program is designed to help steward our noobs into a successful career in Software Engineering. We want our SEPeers to be successful and prosperous engineers. Achieving the above mentoring goals is how we help to ensure that happens.

Finding a niche at SEP can be difficult since we’re all mostly introverts and aren’t necessarily great at inviting new folks into our existing social circles. We focus on cultural fitness in our mentoring program to intentionally help new folks become integrated and find their place at SEP.

All of our projects require customer interaction (and customer service), quality code, interacting on a team, following process, making decisions, lively debate, spending time in the office, etc. Coming from University this can be a bit of a shock. We try to instill and sharpen a sense of professionalism (no, not let me straighten my tie professionalism, more of a pride in my work type of professionalism) in our new employees.

Now what?

We’ve been iterating on this program for several years. Now, nearly 25% of our engineers have gone through this program. As with everything else at SEP, we can’t leave it alone:

  • We’re still figuring out how to find new mentors (we’re hiring! All of those new-hires need mentors!).
  • We’ve rebranded to the Guide Program (in lieu of the Mentorship Program).
  • We’re constantly recognizing that different people need different things from their mentor.

Did I mention we are hiring?