The overall experience has been rather satisfactory. It didn’t lack of its fair share of disagreements, the proverbial bumps in the road or black swans – euphemistically speaking, I would place Brexit and, even more so, the current pandemic under the latter category – but if something positive came out of all these hurdles and predicaments is an improved flexibility and awareness of my weak spots.
As the HE’s business is a coding bootcamp, when the pandemic was about to reach its peak and the Czech government legislated against large gatherings of people, the entire company was abruptly forced to switch from a mostly offline model to a fully online workflow. As I was one of the coding mentors at the time – and part of the bread and butter of being a mentor is delivering lectures – I’ve quickly realized that I’m not quite an effective speaker in an online setting as I am in person. On the other hand, I found that multitasking between the coding problems of different students comes easier online, as people tend to reflect more on both their questions and the answers they receive, and they don’t expect an immediate real-life type of feedback.
On the bright side, observing the accelerated transition from offline learning workflow to online learning models and the pain points that a traditional coding bootcamp might experience during such a transformation improved my understanding of how an edtech platform might make the process more efficient. Life is slowly returning to business as usual – or at least it’s attempting to – and so is the coding bootcamp, nevertheless that month of fully online teaching/learning provided me with some valuable insights. It was a rare flash-forward into the future where both educational and research platforms will be fully digital and what kind of challenges will lie ahead from a user and technical perspective.
All in all, it was a valuable experience. Mentoring at a bootcamp means being at the epicentre of a cultural melting pot, which is something that anyone bootstrapping a start-up should do to broaden their view of the world.