Does MySQL need a mentoring program? I get calls, emails, and other requests for trained MySQL DBAs and Developers. Human Resources, managers, team leads, and entrepreneurs have the need but can not find the bodies. It is easy enough to download MySQL, get it running, and use it. But the next steps seem problematic for many. There are programs like MySQL Marinate and Girl Develop It to provide some hands on help for beginners. Autodidacts can find tons of MySQL Books and on line information. But how do we take the beginners and get them to intermediate or beyond?
How do we support these new comers, give them a hand if needed, a shoulder to cry on, or just provide someone who has been there before to bounce ideas around when needed? How do we pull them into social networks to warn them of pitfalls, pass on information about new technologies, or just be there as a friendly voice when the air movement device is being impacted by non optimal material? How do we pass on best practices, professional guidance, and the norms of our community? There is only so much forums, IRC, and Stack Overflow can handle. Local users groups are good if you have a local user group.
A good place to start is to see what other Open Source projects are doing. PHP Mentorting is a formal, personal, long term, peer to peer mentorship organization focused on creating networks of skilled developers from all walks of life. Read their info and let me know if you think the MySQL Community needs something similar.
Being a mentor has benefits too. There is an old saying that you really do not know a subject until you can pass on your knowledge to someone else. It also helps bring along someone who could replace you if you decided to climb the corporate ladder. Plus you never know what you fledgling might teach you.
So do we need a MySQL mentoring program?