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Meet a Mentor: Tom Sherman

Written by James Adams

Tom Sherman

Once more, we are delighted to discuss how as we continue to grow with more students learning software development with our Full Stack Coding Bootcamp, we continue to require mentors to step forward and support the transition from the coding bootcamp, to a career in tech.

We are delighted to welcome Tom, a friend to the local tech community and supporter of many of the regions tech support networks, to our mentoring team.

We caught up with Tom to talk a bit about mentoring, where he feels he can help and other support networks within the region.

Tom, you’ve decided to give your own time to support the future of tech talent in the region. Why have you decided to support the mentoring program?

A few reasons really. I really believe in the Norwich tech scene and think there's still massive potential for it to grow. The other main one is that, being a self-taught computer science degree dropout, I would have loved for Tech Educators to exist when I was learning. University is not for everybody.

Agreed, and that’s a really good point and one of the reasons behind Tech Educators. It’s not about better on-ramps to tech, it’s about diversified on-ramps. Finding the right path to empower fair access to education for all.

You talked about self-learning, and that’s certainly a way into learning tech, what do you think having a mentor, and an instructor brings to the learning experience, why shouldn’t everyone just do Treehouse or CodeCademy on their own?

I was lucky enough to be in roles at the start of my career that are, "developer adjacent", physically and conceptually. Without that support around me I would have never made the jump to actually being a professional developer. Tutorial hell is real and I think one of the leading causes of frustration when self-teaching.

Being in environments with developers before being one really helped me understand what was needed to make that step, there is no better way of assessing your own technical gaps than speaking to and observing an expert.

There's a lot to be said about spending time with others and learning from them, like anything, a lifelong career in code is a continual learning experience. What advice would you give as the fundamentals to someone just starting out?

I think people learn and grow the most when they're on the edge of their comfort zone. Try to find or create environments that encourage being in that space.

But also get good at identifying when something is way outside your wheelhouse - finding collaborators that round out your own rough edges is so valuable.

I completely agree, and there's a real value in understanding that most people have things they aren't comfortable with, but over time, of doing something again and again, makes those things just part of what is comfortable. It's all about continuing to grow.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to Tech Ed about your upcoming mentoring. One thing I always say is it is as important to take down time as it is to continue to grow. As someone who shares a love of Norwich, can you give us one good thing to do in Norwich or Norfolk to make sure you take time out of just "being busy coding".

For sure join the Norfolk Developers, their awesome Discord and come along to some events. We meet up for wanders around Norwich parks on a semi-regular basis as well as meeting for food and beverages. Loads of friendly faces from the local tech scene.

Once again, we would like to thank Tom for giving up his time to support developers of tomorrow, with real-world experience and support as they transition into roles in tech. If you want to find out if a career in tech is for you, please sign up for our free introduction to software development coding bootcamp.

About the Author

James has 8 years with Fortune 200 US firm ITW, experience of managing projects in China, USA, and throughout Europe. James has worked with companies such as Tesco, Vauxhall, ITW, Serco, McDonalds. James has experience in supporting start-up and scale up companies such as Readingmate, Gorilla Juice and Harvest London. James completed his MBA at the University of East Anglia in 2018.

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