Mentorship can have a big impact on individuals, workplaces, and communities. With so many different types available, there are many opportunities to try it, and it’s really easy to start participating. We hope you’re feeling inspired to make mentorship part of your career!
Mentorship is one of the best ways to learn about a craft, advance skills, and achieve personal goals. It is especially important to the UX field, where methods and best practices are constantly evolving and professionals must actively continue to learn. The field is also growing, and mentorship is a great way for new UX professionals to learn foundational concepts.
When thinking of mentorship, one may tend to think of a scenario where there is someone teaching and there is someone learning. However, both people in the relationship are actually learning. The proverb “by teaching we learn” is attributed to Western philosopher Seneca the Younger almost 2000 years ago. Recent studies have proven this. A study in 2007 suggested that first-born children are more intelligent because of the time they spend teaching their younger siblings. Other research shows that students who teach others scored higher on tests than students that only learned by themselves. This is known as The Protege Effect.
Learning is a key way to stay motivated. In a 2014 article, Donna Spencer wrote that if we don’t learn, we stagnate and become unhappy UX designers. Donna said, “Teaching will force you to examine your knowledge and become a better designer as a result.”
As volunteers in the Triangle UXPA (North Carolina Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Chapter of UXPA), we wanted to help members of our chapter realize the importance of mentorship, too. We helped create and shape a mentorship program that has brought value to our community and to us personally. In this article, we will discuss how to get started as a mentee or mentor and how to build a program of your own. We hope this website inspires you to try mentorship.