I’m a big advocate of having role models in your career (and for that matter, anything else). Role models provide people you can relate to, so you can understand them on an almost instinctive level, and then emulate what they did right. Role models show that success is possible so you can keep motivated and keep reaching even when you’re at your lowest. Role models show specific paths to success that you can follow.
Best of all, people who know they’re Role Models give actual, useful advice, write books, and so on. A good Role Model may be such an information font they’re a kind of Orbital Bombardment of wisdom.
We geeks are often blessed with role models, and it’s a big part of geek culture. – I think because a lot of geek culture is achievement/activity based. There are people we look up to and admire, who inspire us. We can meet them at conventions, buy their biographies, and surf the internet to learn more about them. Rare indeed is the convention guest who at some point is asked about job options, or the head of a website or Maker Group who doesn’t end up providing career advice.
As much as I’m an advocate of using Role Models, I’d like to note their limits. No matter how good a Role Model someone is – and you can probably find several in your life – they have a limit.
Their limit is they’re a unique individual.