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I am 26 years old, working as a software developer. After I left college I worked as a trainee software engineer in a medium-size software firm, and gained good exposure to the software development process and life cycle.

3 months back I joined a new organization. They didn't have an IT department until now, and were using other company services for their IT needs. Now, for the first time, they've decided to start an IT department in their organization, and they hired me. They are planning to develop a new application and support the existing applications.

For the first 2 months, they have assigned requirement analysis and analyzing the current applications work. Now they are involving me meeting with their IT vendors and asking my opinion on their products and services they are offering. Added to this, recently for their new application, they started hiring one more person and they asked me to participate interview process.

I honestly feel I am junior in level and I can do a pretty good job in development work, but the following tasks should be done by a senior person who has decent experience and maturity in the IT field:

  • Participating in the discussions with IT vendors & vendors' technical staff
  • Assessing vendor products
  • interviewing people

I feel I am not mature enough to perform these senior tasks. How can I convey this and convince management I am junior, and I need at least some guidance and mentoring to perform these tasks?

  • You mention not having a problem with the given tasks, despite feeling that it should be done by someone with more experience. Being seen as a senior-level employee does come with its perks - have you considered just saying the course? (I'm definitely not saying you should if you think you're giving bad (or not good) advice or it involves lying) – Dukeling Apr 12 '14 at 19:18
  • If you successfully persuaded management that they needed a more senior IT person, do you think they would hire them as well as you? Or do you think they would hire a more senior person to replace you? Seems to me that they're a small enough company that the latter is more likely. – Carson63000 Apr 12 '14 at 23:55
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As far as your employer is concerned, you are the expert!

I think the problem is that you know your weaknesses (or at least you think you do, you're not entirely sure). What you seem to have trouble with is knowing your worth, and how much your opinion is valued.

So - I think you're in an environment where you're definitely appreciated. Although you're being stretched, you have no-one to tell you where you're going wrong, or how you could improve your approach, and that's why you think you need a mentor - feedback is crucial, right?

Even after 20 years on in my career, I have felt the need for a mentor, mainly because I have needed to get up to speed with a particular company's environment - technical, political, managerial, etc. How else can you become your best quickly?

So - without a mentor at hand, the best advice I can give you is to always ask questions. Never assume anything. Don't be afraid to say you don't understand or you don't know. And always share what you know.

Also, changing jobs a few times will force you to learn how to get up to speed. You'll learn quickly what works, what doesn't, and, more importantly, you'll learn something from everyone you work with. Every colleague you work with will unwittingly become your mentor.

Just do what you think is right, and make sure your manager knows what you're up to... if your manager is cool, you'll grow very well.

Also, don't be shy to look for courses, etc. and ask for training!

Check this out... see if this applies to you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

  • 1
    You'll note that I posted a comment on the question with a similar idea. The reason I didn't post an answer is because the question asks "How to convince management that I need a guidance and ask for mentor", not whether this should actually be done, only how, so saying, in essence, "No, you probably don't need a mentor" doesn't answer the question and probably shouldn't really be posted as an answer. – Dukeling Apr 12 '14 at 21:59
  • Okay - didn't catch that. However, given the context of the question, it seemed like the organisation would not be capable of fulfilling the question, so my answer was in the spirit of making the best of what was available. – user924272 Apr 12 '14 at 22:01
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    @Dukeling, disagree, sometime the crrect answer is the one that solves the problme not the specific qquestion asked.This person should be made aware that asking for a mentor is a poor idea and mnot likely to get a good result. Learning to deal without a mantor is amuch better strategy. – HLGEM Apr 13 '14 at 18:49
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I think the way you have put things already sounds like you are reasonably mature and thoughtful about the way you work. That said - what have you tried so far?

Assuming you've not really expressed your reservations, I'd suggest that you book a meeting with your line manager. Make sure you have enough time to properly talk things through, in private, with just the person (or people) who are relevant.

Clearly define what you do want: You might want to get a few ideas about what your ideal team structure would be like, an ideal job description, and what your ideal job title would be.

Sell the benefits: Explain why it will benefit the company to hire a technical lead or project manager. Make it clear that with so much time spent liaising with clients, you feel like you can't give your best to actually develop good software. Since your company is hiring, it sounds like a great opportunity to suggest that this person can fill the new, senior role you're proposing.

A word of warning: If you ask to be removed from responsibility, it may be a long time before you're able to get it back (if you ever want it back). Next time something comes up in the future (at least with this company) they may think "s/he's a quiet person, we can't offer position x to him/her, as s/he expressed unhappiness with it last time."

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