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Tanaka Mutakwa
Tanaka Mutakwa

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I’m Tanaka Mutakwa, VP of Engineering at Names & Faces & Lifelong Learner. Ask Me Anything!

Hey CodeNewbies!

I’m Tanaka: a technology leader who is eager to help early-career developers succeed. I got the chance to join @saron on Season 17 episode 3 of the CodeNewbie Podcast!

Listen to the show right here on CodeNewbie Community:

play pause CodeNewbie Podcast

I’d love to answer any questions you have about my career, mentorship, or anything else about technology or the conversation Saron and I had.

Here are a few facts about me to get the ball rolling

  • I’m the organizer of TechLeadership -- a monthly meetup in Cape Town that aims to demonstrate that leadership is a learnable skill
  • I’ll be speaking at CodeLand 2021 about finding a mentor. Tickets start at $0. I hope to see you there!
  • I believe that everyone can benefit from having a mentor -- even mentors themselves!

Ask me anything in the thread below after you listen to S17E3. I hope you like the episode, learn something new, and introduce yourself below!

Top comments (7)

ioscasey profile image
Casey 💎

Hey Tanaka :D

How would you recommend finding a mentor? I've heard of some services that let you connect with folks but I've never tried any of them...

tanakamutakwa profile image
Tanaka Mutakwa

Hello Casey

Thank you for your question.

Most people have to find a mentor themselves. Most people, however, don't know how to find a mentor. What should you do? Where should you start?

I wrote about how to approach finding a mentor in more detail here -

Hopefully that helps :-)

aritdeveloper profile image
Arit Amana

Hello Tanaka! In your opinion, what is the narrowest bottleneck on the journey from first line of code to full-time paying developer job? And how do we effectively widen this bottleneck?

juliannatetreault profile image
Julianna Tetreault

Hi, Tanaka!

What advice would you give to someone hoping to start a monthly meetup of their own? Is there anything that you wished you had known before organizing TechLeadership?

Thanks so much in advance!

tanakamutakwa profile image
Tanaka Mutakwa

Hello Julianna

Thanks for your question.

Here is some advice around starting a monthly meetup from the top of my head:

  • Find one or two other people to help as co-organisers. You can share ideas and spread the load of any work that needs to be done.
  • Start a meetup on a topic you are very passionate about, that way you will always be motivated to keep going and learning.
  • Meetups are less about the number of attendees but more about the learning and good conversations that happen between people who attended. A small group with a great discussion topic is better than a bigger group just chatting randomly.
  • Make use of a platform such as, they provide a good foundation for setting up and organising events.
  • Be consistent, don't skip any monthly events.
  • Promote your meetup so people are aware of it. Make use of your social sites - LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

I hope that helps :-)

gracie profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hi Tanaka! Loved the episode and thanks for doing this.

What is one misconception that early-career developers frequently have about their managers? As a manager of people, what do you with people knew about how to work better with their managers?

Thanks again. Excited to see you at CodeLand! 🎉

tanakamutakwa profile image
Tanaka Mutakwa

Hi Gracie

Thank you for the feedback. Glad you loved the episode.

I think one misconception that early-career developers frequently have about their managers is that their managers are just there for administrative purposes and to assign them work. A good manager will support and genuinely care about about an early-career developer's learning and growth. They will mentor and support them through their career journey.

As a manager of people I wish more people were willing to build trust based relationships with their managers. Being open about their struggles and areas they want to grow in, so their managers can provide them with the appropriate support.