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From "Sally Khudairi" ...@apache.org>
Subject Success At Apache: "Mentor Your Mentor"
Date Mon, 23 Sep 2019 17:47:48 GMT
[this post is available online at https://s.apache.org/orco1 ]

By Patricia Shanahan

After retiring, I wanted to continue programming but without the pressure and constraints
of a job, so I started contributing to Apache. Open software development the Apache way is
a great retirement hobby, offering social contacts, intellectual challenge, continuous learning,
and the pleasant feeling of making a contribution.

I just got back from having a wonderful time at ApacheCon NA 2019 in Las Vegas. While there,
I met relatively young people, and older people who had been involved in Apache for up to
20 years, but joining as a retiree seemed to be unusual. 

Encouraging retirees could benefit Apache in many ways. 

Often, a retiree has a range of experience and skills that take time to accumulate. I have
worked, for several years each, on applications, operating systems, compilers, system performance,
and architecture of servers with dozens of processors. People like me who were programming
in the 1970's have experience surmounting memory limitations, a skill that may be useful again
for Internet of Things projects. I can imagine several reasons for a lack of retiree recruits.
The most basic is that the computing profession was relatively small when a 2019 retiree would
have started their career. That is a good reason to develop ways of helping retirees join
Apache, so we will benefit from increasing numbers over the next few decades.

Some retirees already have plans that will take all their time and energy, and have zero interest
in another hobby. Among those who might choose Apache as a hobby, there are several possible
blocks, such as just not thinking of it, lack of confidence in returning to doing after a
period of managing, outdated skills, and skills that may have atrophied through disuse.

The concept behind "Mentor your Mentor" is that someone who is active in Apache should watch
for opportunities to bring the idea of open source as a retirement hobby to the attention
of a retiring colleague, even if the retiree has been their mentor, and no matter how senior
the retiree.

If the retiree is interested, the Apache contributor can offer various forms of help and support
such as:

• Introduction to how Apache operates
• Encouragement
• Help selecting a project
• Help identifying resources for technical learning and relearning

In summary, the Apache contributor would do for the retiree the things a good mentor would
do for someone new to IT. 

If you are an Apache contributor reading this blog, ask yourself: who in your network has
retired from the computing profession? Reach out to them! Apache projects are a great opportunity
for retirees to reconnect with innovation in computing. If you are a retiree and do not have
an Apache mentor, don't let that stop you. Begin at http://community.apache.org/newcomers/.

Patricia Shanahan worked from 1970 to 2002 in various programming and computer architecture
roles for NCR, Celerity Computing, FPS, Cray Research, and Sun Microsystems. She then went
to UCSD as a graduate student, receiving a PhD in computer science in 2009, after which she

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"Success at Apache" is a monthly blog series that focuses on the processes behind why the
ASF "just works" https://blogs.apache.org/foundation/category/SuccessAtApache

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