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Hugo Di Francesco — Meet the Mentor

MentorCruise wouldn’t be anything without our amazing mentors. In the ‘Meet the Mentors’ series we talk to the people behind MentorCruise about their experiences and passions.Today, we are talking to Hugo Di Francesco, one of our newest additions to the mentorship team.

Hey Hugo! Before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a Software Engineer based out of London, currently working for Concrete.cc, a retail management platform.

Before starting my degree in Mathematical Computation at University College London, I had a bunch of near-misses with programming. For example, scripting non-player character dialogues with if/else’s in RPGMaker, but also a couple of weeks of work experience at a family friend’s “brick and mortar to e-commerce” company where I did some CSS and HTML hackery.

Over the years, you have worked on several different exciting projects and have collected a lot of experience. How did you get started? How did you get your first job?

My first job was at a digital agency called Artificial Labs (artificial.io), who has since pivoted to be an InsurTech startup. I started as an intern and moved up a couple notches before moving on.

I got the job through playing the numbers game. It was after my first year of university so I had a little bit of JavaScript/HTML/CSS experience, they had us do a “real-life” project (ours was for a medical information network). I started blasting my CV at intern/small-business recruitment events and on some sites. I Artificial Labs isn’t the first place I applied or got an interview. Before I did that I was lucky to go through a couple of steps of the recruitment process for another company that was using PHP (which Artificial was using at the time).

I then did the interview with Artificial and somehow got offered a paid internship opportunity. From there I just ramped up as fast as I could and became pretty adept at slicing PSD mockups and turning them into marketing sites or whatever else.

What would you say is your biggest success so far?

Always seeing people you’re helping out pick up enough knowledge and confidence to be successful. At my previous job, we had an intern for around 3–4 months and she went on to get a junior engineer job at another company. I would call that a success.

You work on a bunch of exciting side-projects. Which is your favourite and why?

It has to be codewithhugo.com. It has completely changed my attitude towards technology. There’s some menial work you sometimes do as a developer eg. piping stuff from one library to another, shovelling JSON around. Where I used to switch off and do it mechanically before, I now see an opportunity for a blog post. That changes your outlook in your day to day.

What has been the favourite thing you’ve learned in the past year?

Being impactful doesn’t necessarily come from being a tech-fluencer with tons of Twitter followers and a list of talks at big conferences.

I like to think I help to streamline the day of other developers around the world through my short posts on Code with Hugo. Helping to move people’s careers forward through mentoring, workshops and meetup talks is also very rewarding.

Now that you are a mentor — who would you like to mentor? What is your desired mentee like?

I will mentor anyone who feels enough conviction to reach out and be mentored. From there it’s a matter of going beyond what people think is possible, either through building things faster or bigger than they thought they would be able to or landing a dream job.

Anything you would like to tell us?

I’m happy to be a part of the MentorCruise community and to be able to provide mentoring for people across the globe.

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