Meet Andrew Maksimchenko, September’s “Mentor in the spotlight“. He is an Acceleration program mentor in the Front-End Development track.
This year Andrew became a multi-time finalist in one of the most recognisable international awards programs called Stevie Awards for Great Employers and the owner of gold and bronze trophies as the Most Passionate Employee of the Year 2023. And moreover, a golden winner in another annual international program – Globe Awards for Leadership 2023.
Throughout his career, he managed to take on diverse roles from a Software Developer to an Engineering Manager and CTO. He’s been a technical consultant to numerous IT companies helping them hire and grow highly effective teams and build profitable products. Andrew occasionally contributes expert publications to science journals and tech portals and gets invited to various worldwide IT events to nominate breakthrough solutions and evaluate the achievements of individuals, start-ups, and giant companies.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and share your background in the tech industry?
An ambitious and goal-oriented person with 10+ years of versatile technical experience who wakes up every morning with immense enthusiasm and determination to push his boundaries, embrace new challenges, and make the world a better place to live and excel professionally.
As for my mentoring career, it’s rooted in 2013 when I was a freshman and organised level-up courses for other students where I conducted workshops on Computer Science and Software Development and helped to hone their hard & soft skills. Over the years this passion evolved into mentorship on a broader scale, encompassing not just students but professionals both locally and internationally.
What are some key skills or experiences that you believe are crucial for a successful career in the tech industry?
To my way of thinking, everyone is different and brings their own set of skills and experiences to the table. So ensuring that we’re able to clearly define and leverage the exceptional capabilities we already have in place is vital to excel in the IT market.
On the other hand, whilst technical skills are essential, in today’s highly competitive IT world they’re not yet sufficient to get ahead in life. Soft skills are always overlooked, whereas they can truly set you apart in the market and help you accomplish higher goals and superior outcomes.
I had a number of sessions on this subject where I was to help my protege develop a well-rounded skill set crucial to excel and go beyond their technical expertise. So it ultimately encouraged me to share my thoughts and experience in the following publication – Soft Skills Of The IT Future — What Will Set You Apart? I will be thrilled if it helps you empower your potential and enlighten the way in your career journey.
Have you encountered any significant challenges or obstacles in your own career, and how did you overcome them?
One of the significant challenges I’ve stumbled into was finding a balance between continued technical growth vertically and fulfilling broader responsibilities horizontally. As my career advanced, I felt a bold inclination to keep diving deeper into software development while taking on more comprehensive roles that required leadership, management, mentoring, technical hiring, events judgment, publishing, and more.
Frankly speaking, I continue to confront this challenge even up to this day, especially as I witness how our informational world intensively grows. It’s really complicated to maintain consistent efficiency, focus, dedication, and perseverance. In order to overcome this challenge I try to get used to focusing on a multi-faceted approach: a combination of effective time management and a commitment to continuous learning. And this is where the magic of personal and professional growth happens.
So should you’ve ever run into that very challenge or encountered time management issues to the same extent as I had, don’t hesitate to reach out to me – I would love to offer assistance and share my insights. And if you enjoy reading, you have the opportunity to explore those tips and tricks in another article infused with real-life examples. I hope it helps!
What inspired you to become a mentor with Women Go Tech?
I’ve always been passionate about mentorship and supporting others in their professional journeys. I have witnessed firsthand the challenges and barriers that women often times face in the tech industry. So when a WomenGoTech Program Team Lead dropped me a line about this acceleration and invited me to take part, I backed that idea right off the bat and felt that it’s going to be something really promising.
The opportunity to volunteer and support women around the globe in pursuing their career IT dreams looks incredibly inspiring. So I’m truly excited about the potential impact we can make to helping women live their goals in the IT industry. It’s an extension of gratitude to the founders and organisers for launching this initiative and instilling hope in women’s hearts.
What values or principles guide your mentoring philosophy?
The paramount values and principles that shape my mentoring philosophy revolve around fostering critical thinking, self-reliance, appreciation of failures, engaged listening, transparency, and respect for diversity. All of them form the foundation for effective mentorship and stimulate a collaborative, growth-driven, and courteous mentoring relationship and culture.
Have you ever experienced self-doubt or imposter syndrome as a mentor? How did you overcome it?
Of course. We are all humans who doubt ourselves every so often. It’s entirely natural to occasionally question yourself whether you’re on the right path, if you’re genuinely suited for a particular role, or if you’re the ideal match for a particular mentee. And I consistently experienced it myself, especially in the early stages of my career, and I still notice how I encounter it when confronting new challenges. But over time as you gain more experience, it becomes an aspect of your life and you gradually realise that self-doubt is a good sign of growth and a trigger to push your boundaries. The only thing to keep in mind here is don’t let self-doubt paralyze you and try to leverage it as a driving force for improvement.
A few things I use on a daily basis that help me alleviate imposter syndrome:
Continuous learning. I try to remind myself at times that growth is an ongoing process, we’re unable to know everything and we’ll never be. So embracing the idea that learning is a lifelong journey and not a final destination helps me a lot to maintain confidence and conquer self-doubt.
Seeking feedback. I strive to gather constructive feedback from those I work with that can not only help me excel as a mentor but also provide validation of the value I bring to my mentees.
Retrospective. Reflecting on your past achievements can be a valuable tool for bolstering your confidence and overcoming self-doubt. I try conducting a retrospective at the end of each week and identify areas where I’ve performed truly well and areas for improvement.
What is your one piece of advice for other mentors?
In my mentoring practice, I usually follow a fairly straight-forward, but viable rule of thumb: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” (Lao Tzu)
Regardless of its apparent simplicity, don’t strive to give out the solutions to the problems right off the bat in your sessions, as mentees will not be able to come up with their own ideas, apply them, learn from consequences, and enjoy their own small victories. So I highly encourage mentors to let their mentees fish the problems themselves. Just be forbearing and a source of inspiration and motivation, and help your protege problem-solve independently with tip-offs, develop the ability to think critically, and tailor to new situations without fear.
This approach should drive long-term success, empowerment to thrive, and self-reliance, as mentees get the tools and knowledge needed to navigate challenges and achieve their goals independently.
What is your one piece of advice for the mentees?
Be patient. Don’t just seek direct answers to your questions, seek understanding and knowledge. Learn to grow and tackle down your problems self-reliantly. Don’t be afraid of failing, learn from your mistakes, and be open to mentors’ feedback.
In the long run, strive towards becoming a T-Shape professional – the one who has a broad range of skills and knowledge while being an expert in a specific field. It’s in high demand today. Establish ambitious goals, develop discipline and consistency, and go beyond your traditional way of thinking.
Can you share a recent book, podcast, or resource that has had a positive impact on your professional growth?
One of the books that had a significant positive impact on my professional growth was “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen. This methodology was a game-changer for me and undoubtedly one of the most effective productivity systems I’ve ever seen. It introduced a unique approach to managing tasks and priorities efficiently and in a highly organized manner, so you feel less stressed about work and personal life. That helped me streamline my workflow and get along with a work-life balance concept. It’s already made a difference in the lives of numerous well-known people like Will Smith, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and others. So I sincerely hope this methodology assists you in your future career growth too and leaves a positive impact on it.
Feeling inspired to step into the mentorship spotlight? To join our mentorship program, sign up for the waiting list and be the first to know when our mentor selection process opens.
Let’s make an impact together!