Developer relations manager at Skyeng - EdTech company
Hi! My name is Oleg Sklyarov, I work as a team leader of kids mobile development at Skyeng. In my free time, I mentor IT students. It’s been a great experience for me, so I want to share my story and insights I got from it.
A couple of years ago, my average day looked pretty dull. I used to leave home at 9 am, come to work around 10, chat with my teammates over coffee before lunch, have lunch, watch some YouTube and actually start working around 3 pm. To get anything done, I had to stay at the office till 9 pm.
At some point, it hit me — where does all my time go? I leave home for 12 hours but get paid only for 8. So I did some calculations. The result was horrifying — 33% of my time went down the drain.
I was not satisfied with this result. Besides, I felt as I wasn’t growing as fast as I could. I had prospects of becoming a team leader in five years, maybe an architect in ten years. But this seemed very slow. I had the example of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in front of me — they achieved way more when they were my age.
At this point, realized that if want to be anywhere near Gates or Jobs, I need to change something about myself. I can become more productive and efficient if I make some adjustments.
Once, while browsing YouTube after lunch, I saw Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech. And it really changed something in me.
I realized all those guys — Steve, Bill, Mark Zuckerberg — share. Steve Jobs shared this video. I’m sure that’s not the only thing he did out of a free will. Bill Gates donated half of his wealth to charity and convinced half of the Forbes list to do the same. They share what they can — but I’d never even had such an idea.
I wanted to change something. First thing first, I changed my office job for a remote job at Skyeng. I didn’t get my four hours back — only two. But that was something to start with.
I looked at all those guys and thought — maybe I should try mentoring. I contacted my local university, then searched platforms for tutors. That’s how I found the place I work at now — an online platform with programming courses. Everything came together, and I became a mentor.
My job is to check students’ homework at Github and give feedback. We have consultations once a week via video chat. They ask questions, I answer them. Often they share their screen and we write the code together. Sometimes students text me their questions. Like, “how do I merge two arrays”. And I explain how to merge arrays. I’m like Google, but more advanced.
Sure enough, not everything goes smoothly. These are some of the most painful episodes:
It all was quite frustrating; I felt like my heroes betrayed me. I was thinking about going back to an office job but decided to give mentoring one last shot.
I made some adjustments and reaped the first results of my work. The rough patch was over.
Once I met a guy from my old job. I told him about my mentorship — and he didn’t quite understand why I was doing it. I explained it to him and will explain to you:
If my story resonated with you, give mentoring a try. It’s really simple, and it has a real tangible impact on people around you and the professional community.
If you have any questions, ask away in the comments. Let’s grow together!
By Oleg Sklyarov
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