Picture of Gustavo looking at the camera and posed to the side on a blue and yellow background Gustavo has been in the tech game for a solid 11 years. Starting his journey in his home country of Mexico, Gustavo started with a Bachelor of Information Technology and a Master's in Information Technology Management. From there, he worked in systems administration before jumping into SOLARIS administration (think Unix systems), and finally immigrated to Vancouver eight years later. Gustavo spent part of his decade-long experience at Lighthouse Labs, where he completed the Data Science Bootcamp. This, of course, makes him a great candidate for helping students grinding through the same program.

On top of that, he also helps teach the Intro to Data Analytics course and works the opening shift at his local Gold's Gym, which he helps manage.

More than just academics

Gustavo's passion for mentorship shows through his concern for students' well-being, not just their academic performance.

"I address people's physical needs, like asking them if they've eaten anything that day. At one point, I felt crushed by the Data Science Bootcamp and had someone look after me this way, so now I do the same. Also, sometimes the solution is easy, but the student struggles because they're frustrated. I've also learned to help them through the emotional side."

Gustavo's mentoring and teaching days didn't start with Lighthouse Labs; he mentored others while completing his bachelor's degree and taught kids in rural communities while working on his master's.

"I was looking for a job post-bootcamp, and my previous experience made me a good fit for the mentorship role. I wanted to help those who are now in the same place I was and keep practising what I'd learned. If I practise, I tend to remember. I started teaching the Data Analytics course more recently, which keeps me improving."

Beyond keeping his technical knowledge in tip-top shape, he's picked up some new skills since becoming a mentor.

"I've learned how to make complex information easier to understand. People come from various backgrounds (from geology to neurology and IT), so I never stop learning how to communicate, as each person is different and has different needs. It's also helped me practise my English, especially with technical terms."

Of course, while the students' questions help him keep his mind sharp, he’s also helping them through the program, which is no easy task.

"I help with technical questions, but I also help them strategize for the midterm or final projects. I make sure their projects will work within the given timeframe. In theory, any idea could work, but things get tougher when they're put into practice."

Learning from the best

He's also learned the importance of mentorship through past positive experiences.

"I was mentored while completing my bachelor's and master's degrees. I also had mentors while completing the bootcamp. I'm thinking especially of Andrew and Simon, who helped me through the technical roadblocks and the emotional strain of being under pressure and striving for perfection. That part of mentorship is underrated but necessary."

In case you missed it, Gustavo loves being a Lighthouse Labs mentor and teacher. But what makes him excited to log on and help students through their queries?

"I love giving back to Lighthouse Labs. This program helps so many people get into data science. It helped me, and being in this field allows me to provide for my wife and me."

A flexible schedule leaves time for other passions

A man of many trades, Gustavo enjoys the flexibility mentoring and teaching gives him to pursue his other hobbies and interests.

"I start my day opening at the gym, then hop over to mentoring or teaching. I also take on some household tasks, so I'm glad to have the flexibility. I also learned woodworking with my dad (a doctor), who did carpentry as a hobby. I like working with my hands and knowing how to build things."

Apart from that, you can catch Gustavo getting outside to enjoy the mountains, skateboarding, cycling, and skating. He also plays video games, listens to music, and is looking into taking up the guitar again.

"I also have two cats that are my 'kids,' and they need attention."

In the future, Gustavo would like to continue teaching and mentoring for as long as possible.

"I want to perfect my skills to help companies achieve their goals. That way, I keep doing a bit of everything."

Gustavo says empathy and patience are key for those looking to be mentors.

"You have to be open-minded, as people come from various backgrounds. There are tech-savvy people and those with no tech training - you need to know how to help both extremes."

And for those looking to dive into the work of data science,

"Try to practise as much as you can. Be patient as you'll need to do a lot of networking and smaller jobs, researching, and self-studying to jump into the fast-moving river of tech."

Ready to launch your career in data science?