“Three words to describe my childhood are only: poor, destitute, and disadvantaged. I jokingly say that I have poor luck in my “ability to reincarnate”, so I have to work harder.”
Mr. Lê Văn Minh - Lecturer at the University of Danang in IT; CTO of Triip.me
When I was young, my family was very poor and life was difficult, so I had to be self-reliant. I often joke that I have poor luck in my “ability to reincarnate”, so I have to try harder. Just keep trying and trying until the virtue of hard work becomes a habit and is ingrained in me. When I was still tudying at a university in Vietnam, I spent my nights teaching classes at night and worked at a company during the day even before graduating. Later on, I was able to get a scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in France, then finally a PhD. While there, I worked as a waiter, picked grapes and washed dishes for others to earn extra money.
I fell in love with the profession of “teaching young people” even after graduating from university. The school kept me as a lecturer because of my good academic achievements. Before that, I had also worked for companies, so I was also hesitant about whether I should continue working or to teach. The first boss I worked with imparted me with an advice: “If we don’t lose anything but gain more, why not do it?”. If I worked full-time at a company, I couldn’t teach; but if I taught at night then I could still work on other projects outside. That’s why I can have my main job as a lecturer while also consulting solutions and managing tech projects.
In the 12 years that I have taught, I always teach more than 200 new students every year and have never felt bored or wanted to quit this profession. The way I teach students focuses more on guidance rather than just transferring knowledge. Working outside on many projects has helped me know which skills are needed and what knowledge students should grasp if they want to work well. Hence, I choose to teach very practical subjects with my students. Studying with me, any student who needs a job and has a good study and work ethic will be introduced to jobs recommended by me. Seeing that is why I am very grateful for my work and students, and I have never lost my motivation for this job.
Some people say that I am “multitasking” too much, both with teaching and managing dev teams while having a small family with young children; they often ask me what the “secret” is. Actually it’s just time management skills; I divide work into certain time frames to do it and always find ways to optimize that time:
- Teaching at school: I find ways to teach less but more effectively; every class has an assistant who helps me verify students’ homework. Most of the time I guide students to read documents, study slides and do homework. Students always have a certain amount of time for self-study and self-work and during that time I also use it for research and create connections related to the subject being taught.
- Doing projects: As CTO of Triip.me, I also consulting for some businesses; in order not to waste too much time and energy each company only works directly with up to 6 people (1 director, 2 customers) and supports up to 3 projects at the same time which mainly consults managers or team leaders below.
- Going out for drinks: To be honest, I still have to go out to drink with friends only once a week; networking in the tech industry is important though; Da Nang will also soon have a beer festival.
- Family: Sunday is always a day dedicated to family without accepting work or doing work or going out drinking with friends.
If you are still a student, I sincerely advise you to study and work at the same time, but do your professional work correctly. If you study IT and go to work after graduation, it’s already too late. As for those who have already worked, continue to learn new things. Our industry is an industry that changes every minute, so if you stop learning new things, you will be left behind immediately.
As for me, when you come to Da Nang, I will teach you how to drink beer!”