Pair programming is a great! I couldn’t agree more. No matter if the level of the other person is higher or lower or simply the same. It gives you another pair of eyes, fresh perspective and new point of view.
The answer to what makes a great mentor differs depending on a person who wants to be mentored. For me the mentor type that works best is a person who is at least a level higher from what I know, who is humble and compassionate and who communicates well. It’s so important to be able to ask about anything, get answers that help you not only to solve the problem but above all to understand the issue. A bit of mentor admiration… well maybe not necessary for everybody but I find it motivating.
Great mentorship should be a component of hot job offers for juniors! As an employer, you would benefit from it in long term, so simply consider it before looking for another unicorn.