Why mentoring is good for the mentor

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
Why mentoring is good for the mentor

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This week we’re focused on…

Why being a mentor has benefits not just for the mentee, but for the person doing the mentoring too. 


Because we asked Paulino Calderon (Co-Founder at Websec) what he gains from serving as a mentor for cybersecurity students, and he said: 

“I learn something from everyone. We all have different backgrounds and sets of skills. I firmly believe we all have different perspectives and strategies for tackling problems, especially in a field where creativity pays off.”

Being a mentor offers an opportunity for self-reflection

Work is work – and it’s often pretty fast-paced. It’s hard to take a minute to stop and look at where you are, what you’ve achieved, and where you’d like to go next. Because there’s always more to do, isn’t there? 

But mentoring gives you that opportunity to pause. It requires that you take a close look at yourself and acknowledge the steps you’ve taken to get where you are today. You might reconnect with why you love working in cybersecurity, or remember a dream you had that has fallen by the wayside while you’ve been focused on day-to-day tasks. 

When you offer your experience to others as a mentor, there’s a good chance you’ll come up with lessons that are useful for you as well as your mentee. That’s why we never see mentorship as a chore – it’s a valuable opportunity for everyone involved. 

It gives you the chance to consolidate your knowledge and experience

Everyone knows that teaching information or skills to someone else is a brilliant way to embed it in your own brain. But the process of figuring out how to articulate your experience – the intangible wisdom you’ve collected over time – can also help you develop new ideas for the future. 

You get to look at the experience you’ve gathered and connect the dots between seemingly disparate events. You begin to notice patterns; you identify a path that you’ve travelled. You couldn’t have planned to travel along that path, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense. 

When you look at your own experience from different angles like this, it’s not unusual to realise that your own next step is actually very clear. There’s a decision you need to make about what you’ll do next, and you have the capacity to make that decision. Whether it’s a company move or a business you want to start; a problem that you are perfectly qualified to solve, or a product that only you can bring into the world; everything you’ve done has led you towards this point. 

And it allows you to look at old problems in a new way

Calderon said:

“You often find the most innovative solutions from people new to the field that bring fresh eyes and, more importantly, an open mindset.”

When you’ve been working in cybersecurity (or in any sector) for a while, you’re at risk of getting stuck in your ways. You see problems through the lens of your experience – and while that’s incredibly valuable, it also has the potential to obscure new possible solutions from view. 

Learning from less experienced people is powerful. They don’t have years of experience and rules to work with, so they look at problems with creativity and a sense that anything is possible. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to refresh your own working practices – and drive innovation. 

💡 We’d love to know…

How have mentors helped you throughout your career?

1. They’ve helped shape my decision-making at every turn. vote

2. They’ve helped me build confidence and believe in myself. vote

3. They’ve enabled me to understand the industry and diverted me away from silly mistakes. vote

4. They’ve introduced me to people and businesses that have enabled me to grow. vote

5. All of the above! vote

Join the conversation

Are you a mentor? We’d love to know what impact it has on your work – and your perspective on cybersecurity.

Read our full interview with Paulino Calderon: The power of collective experience

Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts. Our next newsletter is scheduled for 08 May 2024.

Catch you next week,
Steve Durning
Exhibition Director

Join us at Black Hat MEA 2024 to grow your network, expand your knowledge, and build your business.

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