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Mentoring Is for All Ages

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

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By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

While it could be said that the three things we look forward to most when it comes to the start of a New Year is optimism, hope, and an affordable gym membership, there is another reason to celebrate in 2023.

And that’s the influence or advice we’ve received from someone we consider a mentor. Of course, it’s the perfect time, as January is National Mentoring Month.

From my own experience, the guidance I’ve received – over the course of my life – from people who’ve influenced me, both at work and in my everyday life, is immeasurable. Mind you, some of what I heard along the way, at times, might not have been easy to take or something (in that moment) I might've found to be a challenge. But to be sure, what I gained from it all is something I value, to this day.

What’s more, it’s enabled me to use those experiences and serve as a mentor to others.  That’s important, but not for the reasons you might think. A survey by Olivet Nazarene University, published in in a 2019 article in Forbes, reported that 76 percent of people think mentors are important, but it also revealed that only 37 percent of those surveyed said they have one.  It also found that just 14 percent of mentor relationships started by asking someone to be their mentor. Sixty-one percent of those relationships developed naturally. highlights the case not only as to why someone should become a mentor, but also provides important data about the realities involving the impact of someone who grows up without a mentor. It also illustrates what happens with young adults who DO grow up with a mentor. You can even sign up to become a mentor.

All of this is important for two reasons. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing professions in the world and the opportunities, as it relates to hiring a diverse workforce, are truly unique. Because of that, there are some 750,000 available job positions in cyber in the U.S.; a figure that includes roughly 20,000 openings here in Indiana.

Secondly, the times have changed, and mentoring is not an activity that’s exclusive to someone who’s older providing their influence on a younger person, who is either in an entry-level position or, perhaps, is a high school or college student. The script has changed and there are many people – working in cybersecurity and other related fields – who’ve gained the requisite level of knowledge and experience (at a much younger age) and they’re able to pass along their experience to someone who’s older. That’s a trend that’s emerged, as people are deciding, as never before, to change careers, or they’ve decided to do something that requires additional training to gain the experience they need to pursue a job in cybersecurity in the long term.

In celebration of all mentors and all of us whose lives they’ve influenced, be sure, too, to visit our Indiana Cyber Hub website for more information about cyber careers, including job boards, training resources, and more!