We’ve had a mentoring program here at SQLskills for a couple of years (the brainchild of Jonathan), where each of us can pick someone who’s attended one of our Immersion Events in the past and offer to be their mentor for six months.

It’s time to kick off the fourth mentoring session. You can read about the previous mentees below:

I’m the only one mentoring this time. I’ve found it really interesting helping my four prior mentees with a variety of personal and professional goals and getting to know them better. This time I’ll be mentoring Denis Tolstonogov who took IE1 in Tampa and IE2 in Chicago earlier this year. In his own words:

I was born in Russia, a small town called Kurgan, and came to USA 10 years ago. I have not regretted it yet! Back in Russia, I graduated from Kurgan State University with an MBA but never used it. I’ve been always interested in computers but never had a chance to actually study for it. After coming to the US, I started with attending an ESL school in Manhattan to learn how to speak English, still learning. After graduating the ESL school, I transferred to our local Community College where I continued to take English classes and majored in Computer Networking. I’ve started my IT career as a Network Admin, which I did for about 9 years, so I am one of those Accidental DBAs! I’ve been always fascinated by SQL Server, its complexity and the challenges that it presented. Any SQL project that I had to deal with was frustrating but always interesting! Frustrating only because I was lacking the knowledge. In 2009, my boss asked me if I’d be interested in spending my time only on SQL Server because we run a web site with SQL Server database as the back end but there is nobody in our company who knows SQL Server in depth and cannot answer why something works today but doesn’t work tomorrow. So my dream came true and I was given the opportunity to start learning how SQL Server works full time. In 2011, I took 2 week class in NYC which didn’t teach me much, only how to pass SQL Server exams, and I did. The most valuable things I took from this class was that one day the teacher mentioned about Paul Randal and how great his blog was. I’ve started to read Paul’s blog and found enormous amount of useful information for myself. Then I found out that Paul and Kim are married and they teach together Immersion Events! So in 2013, I had a chance to take IE1 in Tampa and IE2 in Chicago, met them and SQLskills gang in person! What an amazing fun people! The best learning experience ever!

Also, I love animals, nature, and traveling. Almost all of my free time I devote to our local Humane Society. Love to go hiking, camping, kayaking, you name it! As far as traveling, all inclusive resorts or laying 7 days on the beach — not for me, Nome AK — yes please! Dreaming about Norway right now!

Congratulations to Denis – I’m looking forward to working with him over the next six months.

PS I’m often asked how to get into our mentoring program – it’s simple: attend one of our Immersion Events and get to know one of us, then ask and see if there’s a match that works.