Become a Mentor

Here at Udacity, student success is of paramount importance to us and our network of mentors helps us to achieve this objective. So here’s to the mentors like Karan Thacker who have gone the extra-mile to support Udacity students.

In our last blog we talked about the inspiring story of Karan and his student Tae-Hee. Here’re some excerpts of our conversation with him.

Tell us something about yourself 

Hi, my name is Karan Thacker. I am based out of Ahmedabad, India, and completed my Bachelors in Electronics & Communication in 2017.

I’ve worked in the Analysis wing at Infosys for 1.5 years specialising in R, Python, and statistics and analytics. I graduated from Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree program 2 years ago and I’m passionate about the field of data science.

Why did you choose to become a Udacity mentor?

The format of Udacity’s Nanodegree programs excites me a lot. The projects you have to complete are thrilling and fun challenges. Being a mentor, I am able to relive the action with my mentees. 

I feel that I have the ability to see a problem from the perspective of my students. When they come to me with a query, I’m able to connect with students and help them resolve their questions faster.  Being an alumni of the DAND course, I know the technical challenges students face as well as dealing with time constraints when you have a full time job.

How does speaking to global students like Tae help you grow as a mentor?

I am so glad that Udacity provided me with the  opportunity to interact with students around the globe. I have spoken with people from Europe, USA, and Korea. 

The experience has been thrilling. I got to know about their challenges and their ambitions.

The experience has helped me get comfortable and has boosted my confidence when holding meetings and discussions with people not only miles apart, but also from different ethnicities and backgrounds.

I’ve had to solve impromptu coding errors while on calls, which used to make me nervous and wonder what if I am not able to solve it in front of my mentees?

I got over my anxiety  started doing well in real-time situations, and have been able to guide students  in the right direction. I’ve also learned to adjust to different accents and break down language barriers.

Some of the students have been introverts. I worked to help them open up and share their problems regarding the course with me, which was a welcome  challenge I had to overcome. It helped me develop confidence and communication skills while also getting to know people around the world, and their culture and challenges.

What are the challenges and benefits of being a Udacity mentor?

It can be challenging to be a mentor because  students don’t usually open up to their mentors quickly  and sometimes they don’t at all. Working on breaking that barrier was a challenge for me.

Also, students have different study schedules, which makes immediate response a bit tough. But I can totally understand the struggles of tackling a course with a busy work schedule.

Tell us something about your relationship with your Udacity students.

I always try to create and maintain a friendly relationship  with the students. It’s fun to discuss technology and our goals. Eventually, everyone in IT is a learner because there are new advancements coming in every day. My relationship with my students is like a friendly peer working with them in the same field, while trying to help solve their problems and guide them.

We try to celebrate even their smallest achievements, which I hope  boosts their confidence.

I would like to say that  being a mentor with Udacity has been an amazing experience so far. I’ve been able to grow and evolve in many aspects—  technology/communications skills, making new friends, and reaching out to a global community just to name a few

I’m looking forward to working with Udacity for many years to come. 🙂

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