Why Every Aspiring AI Engineer Should Get a Mentor

Trying to get things done alone is possible. But if you’re trying to do “great” things all by yourself, it becomes difficult.

Entering a new profession can be a daunting task, especially if it is related to the tech industry. Thus, finding a mentor who can offer guidance is invaluable. AI is everywhere. Everything we do in the present day has AI revolving around it. A great deal of job opportunity in AI is to be seen in 2021 and beyond. The technology is already transforming the global economy at large, impacting the lives of many.

As said by Dan Ayoub, General Manager of Mixed Reality Education at Microsoft,

“AI will be a great transformer, improving the efficiency of many sectors … and enabling the creation of higher-value services that can lead to overall economic growth.”

Also, a report by McKinsey Global Institute says, nearly one-third of the American workforce will need to make a switch in their occupation by 2030.

Therefore, getting skilled in AI and machine learning is required. Some of the core subjects you will need while building a career in AI include topics like deep learning, machine learning, reinforcement learning, natural language processing (NLP), image analysis, computer vision, and neural networks for machine learning, etc.

Once you enter the AI realm, you will need to find a good mentor. Mentorship is much needed to develop and cultivate great AI leaders. Even if you are privileged enough to become an AI engineer wherein learning takes place in a formal classroom; it can still get challenging for the individual to learn multiple things.

In real-time, things are different. Your theory knowledge won’t help, the projects you’ve worked upon have already been prepared for you to use without any hassle. Well, it is not the same case in a real-world scenario. Things are pretty rough out there. Every step you take, every decision you make hugely impacts the organization’s business and financial planning. The data you would be working with, won’t be pre-processed as you’ve received while doing your projects.

Which is why you need to get yourself a mentor.

If you count the benefits are many. Mentors boost your confidence, support your goals, and help you achieve them, and most of all, they guide you toward the right path.

Bill Gates had Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs had Bill Campbell, and Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs as their mentors. Despite the successful life, in reality, success is always a team effort.

Here are some biggest benefits why you need a mentor to become a successful AI engineer.

• Challenge you out of your comfort zone

As a mentor, it is their responsibility to prepare you with the better version of yourself. Every mentor expects their mentee to be the best version of what they were in the previous day. With the amount of expertise, experience, and knowledge the mentor has, they know when and where to push you and make you go the extra mile. They know what is best for you, anytime.

• Groom you for the bigger challenge

A mentor will relentlessly boost your self-esteem and confidence until you’re brave enough to face challenges. With years of experience gained from the industry, a mentor grooms you for the tough world outside. They show you the guiding light and lead you toward the path to success by teaching you the right and relevant things. Since they’ve come across challenges, shortcomings, and mistakes a mentor takes your professional skills to the next level.

• Reflect on the good and help avoid the unwanted problems

A mentor helps you reflect on your achievements by making you realize your strengths and weaknesses. Self-introspection is crucial, and mentors help you do that to build a successful future. They help you identify the good and the bad, and how you can best solve the problems or avoid if needed.

• Immediate access to better insights and experiences

As an AI engineer, you will always need to better findings and insights about the project you’re working with. A mentor can easily help analyze and give you an insider’s view on what to do next.

• Develop skills and learning within time

A mentor can suggest what steps to take next. If you’re planning to upskill, they can suggest the relevant AI certifications you can opt for and how it will benefit you. They can also refer you to the right certification program or perhaps refer you to others to clear your doubts.

• Offer different perspective to look at situations

“You have to learn from other people’s mistakes -you don’t have time to make them all yourself,” says Winston Churchill. Therefore, by offering different perspectives and giving additional information, a mentor can help change your opinion or action.

But before you find a mentor, you need to rethink what your expectations are from your mentor. Some people do not take criticisms well, and if you fall in the same category, it may be difficult to maintain a cordial relationship between you and your mentor. You need to be honest with yourself first and learn how to accept things when people tell you what you’re doing is not right.

Accepting feedback and giving feedback is one of the toughest jobs to do in a professional setting. Most of us find it difficult to give feedback in a way that is neither hurting nor patronizing. But if you look at the real scenario, most people exacerbate the problem and start reacting negatively toward the given feedback. Remember, you cannot do this with your mentor.

In conclusion

A mentor plays an incremental role to help you rise to the top, be it the professional life or personal life. As once said in an interview by Denzel Washington, “show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”

Why else do you think you should get a mentor? You can share your thoughts.

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