James Turner at O'Reilly Radar – David Hoover's Top 5 Tips for Apprentices:
"Hoover says that most developers have benefited from one or two key people in their career that helped them move along. "For people that had had successful careers, they only point back to one or two people that mentored them for a certain amount of time, a significant amount of time, a month, two months, a year in their careers."
[…] For Hoover, one strategy that pays off is to not try and be the most experienced person in a group, but the least. "For me, I didn't really get good solid mentorship until I was able to leave that company and get to another company where I could basically try to be the worst. I wanted to get onto a team where I wasn't the three-year programmer who was suddenly senior application developer. I wanted to be on a team where as a three-year programmer, I was junior.
[…] Especially at the beginning of your career, you've got to be looking for situations where you can expose yourself to new senior developers and learn their tricks because they're going to have a billion little tricks that they don't even know about, that they wouldn't even be able to tell you about because it's just so ingrained in the way they work.
[…] You should be comparing yourself to masters which are people that are out there doing great work and potentially speaking about it or writing books about it. […] If you want to achieve mastery of this craft, that's who you should be comparing yourself to."