…a dedicated mentor in project management and development who brings a depth of professional experience. He is inspired by the OpenClassrooms spirit and the students he supports.
We had an opportunity to chat with Mostafa El-Bakly (who goes by Bakly) about his experiences as one of our valued OpenClassrooms mentors.
On a recent family holiday, between scuba diving sessions, he took some time out to hop onto his weekly student mentor video calls…
Now that is dedication!
An impressive career trajectory
Bakly has an impressive Digital Project Management career trajectory, which includes employment with the Amazon subsidiary, “The Book Depository”, as a Software Developer Engineer where he worked on a data warehouse application that was developed specifically for Amazon to aggregate data from various systems aimed at generating reports for top management, audits and fraud analysis.
He also had a really interesting and varied position working for Arabian Centres, which is a business that owns more than 18 malls around the world with 100+ fashion brands, 20+ brands in the food industry, and 4 brands of children’s goods.
He started as a web developer and progressed to developing an Enterprise Resource System to manage the Malls’ operations. An exceptional highlight in that position was to develop a tool to manage interactive indoor maps, featuring different modes and historical versions.
He now has his own systems programming business, Bakly Systems, which keeps his career stimulating, particularly with its diversity of clients. Combining business and pleasure, Bakly is supported by his wife, who is also a developer and his business partner. Their company has grown at an exciting pace over the last 3 years.
“I like the spirit of OpenClassrooms – it’s agile and progressive”
Bakly on Mentorship
Talking to Bakly about his OpenClassrooms experiences you really get a sense of his dedication to his OpenClassrooms students. He focuses on them as individuals and emphasised how important it is to him to build a meaningful rapport to successfully support them in both their technical and wider learning journey.
“I adapt my teaching approach depending on what each student needs”.
Bakly really strives to build relationships so that he can understand his students’ motivations. This, in turn, helps him most usefully advise them on their goals and adapt his mentoring approach.
He explains that if a student is with OpenClassrooms because they enjoy the technical aspects and want to really expand their understanding and knowledge, then he gives them more challenges and tries to expose them to every aspect of the language.
However, if they are studying because they want to change their current job, and perhaps start a freelancing career, then he will focus more on productivity and problem solving so that they can be sure to execute a real project.
“It is so important to maintain a sensible pace, to renew confidence, motivation and to maintain commitment. We set this pace of study together and constantly monitor it. Some students get excited at the start of their learning path so I help them focus their energy and remind them that it is a marathon, not a race”
As a mentor, Bakly endeavours to help his students be confident, identify their goals, and they manage a pace of study together.
The importance of being an adaptable mentor
Bakly is conscious that not every student will be able to dedicate the same amount of time each week to their studies; some may be working, some may be parents, some may have other commitments, and others are purely studying. He considers it very important to help each of his students to find the right balance with life.
“The weekly [virtual] face-to-face mentor sessions are invaluable. I can really respond to the needs of the student and support them. The rapport I build with my students in these sessions is key.”
Bakly prefers these sessions to the email communication (although he happily supports students in this way too between sessions) because everyone gets better quality feedback.
In a face-to-face mentoring session, Bakly can more accurately assess whether or not his student has properly understood a point. In this forum, he can also sense where he needs to develop his advice or explanation, and also more effectively help resolve a blocker in more detail.
These nuances would likely be missed otherwise.
“I usually tell my students, ‘no one was born a code ninja!’, and everyone achieves their goals and skills with study and practice. I wish I’d had the OpenClassrooms mentorship program available to me, it would have been really useful when I started learning as it would have saved me years of self-study with trial and error and would have saved a lot of doubt I had in my code.”
Students who inspire
Bakly is able to be empathetic with his students’ needs because he has been in their shoes. He explains how every student he mentors also leaves him with a lasting impression, and he hopes he does the same.
He spoke with passion about a few students who really inspired him. One who worked through the course at a speed which was very impressive, and she was doing it for the fun of it. She asked many probing questions and so Bakly encouraged her to think around problems creatively. They worked together on alternative ways of approaching problems and, in so doing, he provided her with a variety of solutions.
Why is OpenClassrooms the best option for developers?
“I don’t think there is a better option for developers than studying through OpenClassrooms.”
Bakly is excited to be part of the OpenClassrooms team and is impressed with the materials and process, as well as the students he supports. When we asked him what he particularly liked about the learning paths, he explained he considered them to be really well designed and defined, and that the project-based learning served to prepare students for their successful future careers.
“OpenClassrooms has a respectful, helpful, nurturing community”
With this enthusiasm, sincerity, conscientious, and nurturing mentor attitude – it is easy to see why so many OpenClassroom graduates have been expertly supported by their mentors through their studies and into successful careers.
Thank you Bakly, for your hard work and commitment.