Thinkful Mentor Maciek Swiech has a lot of academic experience, and he brings his A game when he’s mentoring Thinkful students in web development. But his real asset to students is his ability to inspire them.

Students complete Thinkful's coding bootcamp with the skills it takes to excel in a new role as a web developer. However, getting prepared for office politics, changing business strategies, or just the rigor of a full-time job is another feat altogether.

Having completed a PhD in computer science and subsequently transitioned from academia to professional work as a platform engineer, Maciek has a relevant perspective: “One of the reasons I wanted to get out into the industry is because if I continued directly to an academic career, I would burn out,” he explains. “Learning is like climbing a mountain; but PhD learning is like building the mountain first and then climbing it. You have to find your own direction.

“I’ve always been curious and wanted to explore new stuff. I love learning. Industry presents its own aspects to explore. I’m going to be exploring my whole life: the difference between start-ups, large companies and academia, and choosing which one works best for me.”

Maciek says if Thinkful students face adjustment challenges in bridging the gaps between their old career, their Thinkful coding bootcamp experience, and the opportunity to forge a new career path, they should never stop learning. “One of the beautiful things about computer science is you always get to learn. You always have to keep up with new technologies; but that’s more of a benefit than a responsibility.”

His advice to Thinkful graduates: "Be deeply curious and never lose your sense of awe. Even though this is a means to a career, think about having fun with it. You’ll never work a day in your life!”

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