Learning something new is challenging. Learning something new independently is even more challenging. Here at Udacity, we work to set up our students for success. And our mentors are a key element for achieving success.
Meet Dipika Chadha, a freelance UX Designer with an engineering background, a gift for creative problem-solving and a burning passion for supporting students while they learn the tech skills they need to land the job they want.
In this Mentor Spotlight, we talk to Dipika about her impressive accomplishments, career progression and mentorship role at Udacity.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re working on.
A: My name is Dipika Chadha and I’m a freelance UX Designer. I’ve also been a Senior Mentor with Udacity since 2019. I mentor in the fields of UX Design, Front End Web Development, iOS Development, Data Product Management, Agile Software Development and SQL.
Q: How would you describe your education and career progression?
A: I worked in the finance sector for eight years where I used the diverse tech-managerial skills I had gained during my engineering days. I have a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, a tech degree with a holistic approach.
Q: How did you begin mentoring with Udacity?
A: As an engineering graduate, I’ve always wanted to go back to my engineering roots. Plus, design and creative projects have always fascinated and intrigued me. Back in 2017, I enrolled in Udacity’s Front End Web Development Nanodegree program hoping to reconnect with my engineering training.
Soon after completing the program, I was called about mentoring for the Nanodegree program. Since then, I’ve taken additional Nanodegree programs to expand my skill set.
Q: What is your career strategy, and how does being a Udacity mentor fit into that?
A: I believe education should be accessible to all. In order to build a successful life, establishing long-term goals, making informed choices and identifying critical networks and relationships is mandatory.
In the ever-changing world of tech, keeping yourself up to date with the latest trends and industry knowledge is mandatory. I’ve found that mentoring has helped me stay current and acquire new skills.
Mentoring at Udacity has given me the opportunity to contribute to students’ future successes.
Q: I’m sure your career goals have changed over time. Is there anything you’d like to share about your professional experience (challenges, advice, etc.)?
A: My goals have changed vastly throughout my career. I started in financial management and eventually transitioned into creative design. Doing something that I really enjoy has always been a priority for me.
Switching careers after nearly a decade is a challenge, but not impossible. If you have focus, dedication and concentration anything can be achieved. I am so glad Udacity offers opportunities irrespective of the career gaps/switches.
Q: Can you share a little about some of the new skills you’ve developed on your journey as a Udacity mentor?
A: Communication is one of the most valuable skills I have honed during my time with Udacity. I have found that addressing students’ issues and keeping them motivated to learn takes clear, concise and encouraging communication.
I’ve definitely stepped up my coding and debugging skills as well. Helping students solve their issues have given my skills the opportunity to blossom.
More importantly, I have learned that it’s best to support students on their personal journey rather than leading them towards a specific path. Forcing a predefined approach isn’t nearly as satisfying or inspiring as watching students grow in their own unique ways.
Q: As a female in a largely white, male-dominated field, do you have any advice for breaking into and excelling in tech?
A: Be honest and sincere with yourself and your work. Regardless of what society dictates, you will excel if you have passion, zeal and enthusiasm for what you’re doing.
Q: What would you like to see change about the tech industry?
A: Our perceptions guide and simultaneously limit our thoughts. Along those lines, diversity and cooperation are two of my big focus areas. No matter our achievements, we’re bound to fail unless we learn to respect each other and work together to build a better society.
Q: What key advice would you give Udacity students?
A: Never stop learning! Learning gives you the opportunity to shape your own future. Feedback and criticism are part of the learning process and should be perceived positively. Every step on your learning journey is useful and will benefit you.
Become a Udacity Mentor
Interested in sharing your expertise and supporting students along their learning journey? Learn more about becoming a Udacity mentor today!