N-iX mentorship: Freedom to learn what you want and become your best self at work

Myroslava applied for mentorship to try her hand at automated testing. Tetiana, a test automation engineer at N-iX with 12 years’ experience in QA, helped Myroslava follow her interest and succeed. How can you use N-iX mentorship as an independent internal service to achieve your own professional goals? Discover the insights in the frank Q&A with Tetiana and Myroslava.

Why did you decide to apply for a mentorship program at N-iX? 

Myroslava: I felt quite confident on the project I was working on. But I wanted to grow professionally and learn something new. I really liked my job, but I desperately needed changes. So I told my manager I felt stuck in my career and a new project with opportunities for automated testing could be a breath of fresh air for me. And when my HR Business Partner offered to take part in the mentorship program, it didn’t take me long to say “yes”. I realized that it would bring me one step closer to my goal.

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How did you know what exactly you wanted to learn?

Myroslava: You never know if you never try, right? I had the opportunity to try automated testing before a mentorship program on my previous project. At that time, I knew nothing about it, but I was excited to give it a try. It was really hard for me. I was drowning in the pool of data available on the Internet and couldn’t find the way out. And Tania was assigned to me to help me figure out what it was all about. I set myself on developing my skills in automated testing ever since. I like it because it challenges me and makes me rack my brain. 

Managers are inclined to encourage their employees to develop the skills that bring value to the project. And they are not always ready to invest in developing skills that go beyond the project needs. What was your manager’s position? What was his or her role in your mentorship experience?  

Myroslava: I was lucky to have a great manager. I knew that I didn’t need his permission to apply for a mentorship program, but I wanted to keep on good terms with both my team and my manager. I honestly said that I wanted to develop my skills in automated testing. My manager understood it and supported me. He always supported people in their desire to do what they really wanted. So I wasn’t afraid to tell him that I had set new goals for myself because I knew he would help me pursue them. I really hope that I will have a chance to work with my manager on one of the N-iX projects once again.

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Sometimes people are skeptical about mentorship because they have doubts about the final results. They are not sure whether they will be able to apply the acquired knowledge before they forget it. How did you feel at the time?

Myroslava: I wasn’t skeptical, but I was quite uncertain about the future. However, when the mentorship program started, I realized I needed to invest maximum effort and take the most from this program. If successful, I would be able to apply for another project where I could further develop my new skills. So, I started learning following the references Tetiana gave me and asking thousands of questions each time we met. I was happy that in terms of my mentorship program I had the opportunity to work individually with a professional on the skills I always wanted to develop.

What helped Myroslava succeed? What makes a good mentee? 

Tetiana: If you have a clear goal and a true desire to learn, you will always succeed. This is what helped Myroslava get started with automated testing. Anyone can successfully complete a mentorship program if they know the answers to these simple questions: “Why do I need this?”, “What is my final goal?”, and “What value can it bring to me?”. Very often, people can’t answer these questions. They just have a desire which is not backed by any motivation. This is a huge mistake that holds them back from success.

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Why did you decide to recommend Myroslava for the QA automation position on your project?

Tetiana: Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about it at all. We were concentrated on our program and moved step by step according to the plan. Each time we met, Myroslava showed great enthusiasm and persistence. I was really impressed by her results. 

When our mentorship program was about to finish, we were looking for a QA engineer with some background in automated testing for the project I was working on. We interviewed a number of applicants and couldn’t find the one that met our requirements. Then, I suddenly realized that Myroslava was more tech-savvy than the majority of external applicants we interviewed. Plus, I understood that it would be easier to onboard her, because she already knew a lot. So I was happy to recommend Myroslava for the QA automation position on my project. But Myroslava had a long way to go to get this job. She had to pass 2 technical interviews with my colleagues and a final job interview with a client. And I was so proud that she rocked it.

Would you like to mentor someone else once again and why? 

Tetiana: It was a great experience. Although I mentored employees before as a part of my job within different projects, I never took part in the mentorship program. And this is something really different because you need to get out of your comfort zone and be ready to answer a number of tricky questions. I like it because it gives you the possibility to solve different puzzles that you would never face within your project. It helps to keep you on your toes as you need to be abreast of all the trends in your field. Moreover, it is great to see that your work is meaningful. I meet Myroslava every day at work and you know I’m happy to see that she is really excited about her job.