Interview with Oksana Selendeeva

What would you say about yourself and your business?

I am strongly inspired by the creativity of children and by modern technology. At CODDY, we do not just teach kids to code, we help them find their mission. We have more than 75 unique courses in 4 areas: programming, design, soft skills, cybersecurity.

It’s hard for me to call CODDY a business. And I’m not exaggerating, because initially the school of programming was planned as a non-profit project. I wanted IT companies to sponsor it, and the children could study for free. But the idea had to be abandoned, because very few companies see a benefit in educating young kids. Students who are more likely to join your company are trained with great interest. Therefore, the project had to be made commercial.

How would you describe yourself with a few words?

I believe in the power of small steps. Success in any business is built of bricks of self-discipline, work and the ability to collaborate with people.

How did your career begin?

In 2003, I decided to leave the warm but dead-end position of the office manager in an oil and gas company and applied for a job at Wimm-Bill-Dann – and that was my first career step in marketing.

Is there something careerwise so far that you have not done?

I did everything I wanted. And this implementation of career ambitions was the first step towards the foundation of my own project. Now career plans have been replaced by team goals for the development of CODDY.

Our most ambitious dreams are to launch joint CODDY courses with Facebook, Epic Games, Wargaming, Unity Technologies. Joint courses with companies are a way to give children the most relevant and applied knowledge. We have been moving in this direction since last year. We already have a joint course with Google, two courses with Acer, we are developing a joint course with Wacom and with GlowByte – in machine learning.

It all started with cooperation with universities. Our first proud partnership came in 2017 – we adapted the famous CS50 Harvard course for children. Then we adapted the Stanford Swift course for children. And it has been two years since we launched joint courses with the VMK faculty of Moscow State University.

Joint courses with companies are a complete immersion into practice. So, it is one of our current focuses and we are open to any interesting partnerships.

Would you change anything in your career path if you could go back?

No! What for? 🙂

Tell us about a hard decision you had to make in your career. How did you deal with it?

One of these difficult decisions was the rejection of a well-paid job in the oil and gas company and the start of the new path in marketing. I doubted for a long time, because with the departure my earnings would definitely have fallen several times. But at some point, the desire to develop in a new direction has outweighed the money.

Were there moments when you wanted to give up and if not, what stopped you (or not)?

Of course. For example, when at the very beginning I was reaching out to different IT companies with a proposal to support CODDY and received hundreds of refusals. Everyone said: “Cool idea! Wow! But we pass.” However, the support of my husband and like-minded people around me kept me going. Now there is nothing better than the gratitude of the parents of our students and the sparkling eyes of the kids themselves. With such motivation, giving up is simply unrealistic!

Is there such a thing as the work & life balance?

Of course! Lack of balance not only reduces productivity and creativity, it is generally harmful to your mind. So, I always try to find time for my family, I love cool TV shows. One of the latest discoveries is Line of Duty. The most amazing series I’ve ever watched!

What would you like to say to our readers?

I am constantly looking for like-minded people and partners, and I will be glad to find them here. Now CODDY offices are open in 11 countries. Our team set a goal of 20 countries by the end of 2020. Now, because of COVID-19, I doubt it is realistic. But maybe it will still turn out to make our friendly family even more international? 🙂

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Dedicated to my work and those around me, I'm always trying to give the best in what I do, so I'm constantly seeking inspiration from everything that surrounds me.
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