Meet a Mango: Kyle Villegas
Tango empowers teams to share and scale their knowledge so everyone can be their best at work. And we’re equally passionate about empowering our own team to be their best at work, outside of work, and everywhere in between. This series is all about the people behind the product (the Mangos behind Tango, if you will 🤗) and everything they bring to the team that makes us stronger.
Kyle Villegas is a software engineer at Tango. Passionate about mentorship and education, Kyle knew he wanted to pursue a master’s degree to take a (big) step toward his goal of teaching others. This year, he did it! After working his way through a completely remote, five-year program with Georgia Tech, he graduated with a master’s in Computer Science and a specialization in computing systems—all while working full-time at Tango.
We know what you’re thinking: How?
We’ll let him tell you about it. 👇
What made you decide to pursue your master’s degree?
IT has changed over the years. I was thinking about getting into academia and out of the software engineering space. I also knew that I’d eventually love to teach, and I realized that having a master’s could help with this. So I decided to go for it!
How was the experience completing graduate school remotely while working full-time?
It’s brutal because you’re trying to balance work and school at the same time. And not having the opportunity to go to school and have classmates in the classroom is tough. Truthfully, I dropped out a couple of times because it was so challenging. You feel like you’re going through it somewhat alone, and it’s hard to find the motivation to get back online after working all day to do school and school work.
It’s important to be transparent with the people you’re working with and who you’re reporting to. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if my managers weren’t supportive. You’ll sometimes need to take some time off work, and it really comes down to having a great team and managers at work who get what you’re going through, and the motivation to actually get it done.
Any advice for people looking to go to graduate school while working full-time?
My recommendation is to take a step back and decide if this is something you really want to do. It will always be in the back of your mind if you have set out to do something but haven’t finished it—we’re programmed to always finish what we started. But know that completely dropping out is totally cool. In the computer science field specifically, you have to look at why you want to do it: to become more specialized and apply your learnings at work? To get into academia? Or just because you’re interested in learning? These are all questions to ask. Money is also a factor. You need to determine what you are willing to invest.
How has Tango supported you through it all?
With my manager’s experience, ownership, and leadership, it was absolutely easier to balance work with school. I felt like I was able to ask for what I needed and was supported in doing that. Our “No Meeting Thursdays” gave me space to focus on school. I had an understanding with the team and could be honest about when I was feeling stressed about school work. I was also able to communicate what I was able to deliver and have the team honor that.
And it didn’t have to be school related. I honestly think that if I told the team I wanted to work on something that bettered myself or my career, they would be just as supportive. At the end of the day, it’s all about having supportive leadership. It’s not always all about work. There are other things we often want to accomplish, and Tango offers an environment where you can feel confident to pursue that.
What are you excited to get back to now that you’re finished with school?
Focusing more on the body rather than educating the mind! Getting back into yoga and soccer more, and having more free time to myself too. When you’re giving time to a graduate program, it’s not really your time—so I’m looking forward to having more of my own personal time.