Why Mentors Are So Important

You’re at a point in your life where you know exactly what you would like to do as a career. You're probably wondering: What comes next?

Whether you have chosen AIE as your college, having a mentor at your side along the way is crucial to your career development.

Identifying a mentor(s) in the early stage of your career can set you on the right track toward your career path, but most importantly, you will learn to understand the valuable benefits of having one. Let's go over why mentors are so important for your career growth.

Why Are Mentors Important - AIE
3D Animation & VFX for Film instructor Vic Bonilla directing a film with students on set.

What Are Career Mentors?

Career mentors are individuals who share their experience and knowledge in your industry. They will give you advice and guidance to help you find success. Great career mentors are irreplaceable! How do you go about finding a career mentor? If you're studying at AIE, you won't have to look far. Our industry experienced faculty our great resources for mentors and guidance throughout the gaming and visual effects fields.

Another great way to find a mentor is by calling an industry related company and ask about any possible opportunities for job shadowing their employees or department? Internships will also help you identify potential career mentors. Lastly being that it’s the year 2019, another effective way of finding a mentor is through professional social media networking sites, such as LinkedIn.

Expert Advice Is Found Offline

Yes, a wealth of knowledge can be found online, and easily accessible to anyone who knows exactly how to find it. Whether it’s through looking up Youtube tutorials, or taking webinars in specific software, and without a doubt, you’ll learn a good amount. However, the role of a mentor isn’t just about coaching software techniques, and instant feedback as you’re working on something in Zbrush or Houdini is hard to replicate online. Remember, a mentor isn’t just a software coach, but a leader in the industry who has gone through years of training and industry etiquette.

“That happened to me early in my career.”

While it is important to learn and grow on your own, you can learn a lot from someone in the same field, but from their experience. The things you’ll experience in your career, have more than likely been experienced by your mentor. As time has gone by in their career, they can offer a unique perspective that you otherwise wouldn’t have, unless you have spent many years in the industry.

Personal Connections

Along with that industry experience and knowledge, your mentor has remained in touch with other professionals along their career. They had the opportunity to learn the advice from their colleagues and their stories. Your mentor has also gone through life knowing what advice stuck with them, and what didn’t. They also have learned through others, and on their own, on what not to do. It’s not easy to accept that you will make mistakes in your career, and you will make many, but a mentor will know what to say on how to bounce back and what to learn from those mistakes.

Why Are Mentors Important - AIE
Game Programming instructors Jon Collins and Terry Nguyen assisting students in the studio.

Above all else, learning from a career mentor is essential for your professional development. They can help you make important career decisions that will come your way in the future, that will distinguish yourself as an industry pro.

Tarrance Tucker - Communications Coordinator - Seattle Campus

How to Find a Mentor in Game Development - AIETarrance Tucker is part of the admissions team at AIE Seattle. His role at AIE is to spread the word about the Academy of Interactive Entertainment by going to events, conventions, festivals and meetups. When he's not on the road, Tarrance enjoys family trips to Maui, watching sports, playing games with his kids, and giving everyone world-class, enthusiastic high-fives.

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