Lora Ilieva: Being Curious is the Most Important Lesson You Can Teach to a Student

Today we share just another proof that making an impact lies in our DNA. We cannot be prouder of having Lora as part of our team for over a year now. In addition to being a DevOps engineer and a great colleague, she is also passionate about teaching students in programming and empowering them with practical skills to shape them as future professionals. Let’s see why she is so dedicated to it and what it gives her.

Lora, congrats on your dedication to teaching! How did the idea come to you?

– My job gives me enough time and energy to take on additional activities, so I decided to start teaching at the Technical University in Varna as an Assistant in Software Project Management. However, I realized that university students are already mature enough, most of them with established learning habits and interests. What would really bring pleasure to me would be teaching high school students and inspiring them to grow in this field. Here is how I became part of the Python course for students at Vocational School for Computer Programming and Innovations, Bugras.

What exactly do you teach and what is your approach to making them learn faster?

– My students are part of an Artificial Intelligence class, and I am their teacher in Python. This year we started with Python syntax, and we will continue with some useful Python libraries. What is most important to me is to stimulate the learning-by-doing approach because practice is what really shapes good professionals, not only in software development, but in any other field. At the same time, I realize that they are still children, many of them not sure what they can expect from the future. I really hope that my approach to giving them real-life examples and sharing my experiences keeps them focused and motivated. Moreover, I never ask the students to learn theory by heart. Any other sources of ready answers are not forbidden in my classes. My only requirement is, if you have an answer or a solution, you must be able to explain how it has been derived.

What is your main driving force to do it?

– I am really enthusiastic about teaching, and I am so happy I can do it remotely while working at Strypes. The more important question might be “What do I take from teaching and from the younger?” When you have been dealing with something for a long time you often start feeling comfortable and forget to learn and grow. The contact with students, however, keeps me engaged and motivated to develop. During practice classes I always give them the opportunity to think, propose ideas and find solutions themselves. Thus, we discuss, think together, and eventually bring each other added value.

How does a normal day at Strypes go for you?

– I have been a DevOps engineer at Strypes for more than a year and usually, I am working on automatization and support tasks. I can describe my work as “dynamic”. When I start my day, I don’t know how it will end, and the variety of topics and tasks we go through is remarkable.

What would be your advice for young talents who are considering a career in IT?

Be curious! Curiosity leads to self-asking questions and self-asking leads to self-finding the answers and self-learning. Technologies change every day, and you can keep yourself up-to-date only with strong base knowledge and the unstoppable will to ask the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ questions. I know students are not always fully dedicated to their studies, especially at the age of my students, but the habit of asking questions and looking for solutions is fundamental in life!

What impact do you think you have made on your students?

As I said, I am keen on teaching, not only because I like giving, but also because I am learning a lot from the interaction with such great and motivated young people. I really hope that my work makes an impact for them. Today, they can hardly understand all the advice I give, but if one day, only one of them finds a solution in practice faster and easier thanks to my experience, this would be a great success.

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