November 05, 2019 Exploring Codementor

Last weekend I started using a site called Codementor.

OK, what is it?

Codementor is a platform which allows people to hire (or be hired) "mentors".

There are a few classes of job:

  • 1:1 live help
  • Freelance job
  • Long-term help
  • Code review

As far as I can tell, while it "supports" all these types of job, its mostly a place for people to give & recieve help on quick little tasks, paying by the minute.

Once a job is accepted the 2 parties are enabled to start a screen share and/or collaborative coding session.

I'm going to refrain from explaining their platform in depth beyond this. Read the intro from their FAQ for more detail.

My experience giving "1:1 live help"

First off, I've made about $20 on 1:1 live help sessions. Cha-ching!

I set my rate at $5/:15 ($20/hr), and had 5 such sessions. There have been a few false starts, and a couple times I've given a bit of my time away for free (you can pause the clock). So I'm definitely not making my full-time NYC developer salary doing this.

In these 1:1 sessions I've done the following:

  • setting up hot-module-reloading for a react/electron project
  • working through SQL homework problem
  • debugging a confusing TypeScript scenario where types weren't narrowing as expected
  • adding functionality to a table build with the jQuery data-table plugin
  • resolving a git merge issue

"Freelance" work

Somewhat more lucrative, I also got a Freelance job for $80. There was a request to create a CLI to call into some APIs to get data on foot-races and runner's results and output .csv files. The person who requested this tool wants to use it to play with some data visualization stuff with D3. I completed this project in maybe 3-4 hours of total effort (and probably over-engineered it because I was having so much fun).

Would I be able to support myself using income from Codementor?

And keep my New York City apartment? Probably not.

I figure if I really engaged this platform full-time, I could probably get to a place where I am consistantly making $100/day. That's pretty cool. I could totally move somewhere (perhaps a tropical island) and as long as there was good internet access, and reasonable cost-of-living, I'd be doing pretty well.

I don't think I'm likely going to do that, but its nice to know I could supplement my income a bit. I'm still in the job market, and the savings are drying up quicker than I'd like, but this makes me feel a lot more comfortable taking my time and not rushing to accept an offer somewhere I'm not very excited to work.

Criticisms of the platform

I think its awesome that codementor exists, and I'm going to probably continue using it. But I can't help but be a little critical.

  • The UI is frequently unintuitive, and things don't always work smoothly.
  • Notifications are inconsistent. Its easy to miss them, and sometimes if you dismiss them, they come back
  • The mobile app is pretty bad
  • Once you start a job, you apparently lose all the chat messages you had with the requesting user on the original job. The original post seems to disappear as well.
  • A few times, after a session was over, I was stuck in an "in session" status which prevented me from starting new jobs.
  • Codementor's cut is pretty big. Its 21% but can drop to as low as 13% after you complete enough jobs.

Final thoughts

Again, I'm pretty stoked about this. Its been a lot of fun so far.

I intend to spend some time exploring other similar platforms. I think fiverr is similar, and I looked at ELance and Odesk back in the day (and had poor experiences there). But as far as I know those platforms do not have the mentorship angle, which is kinda the coolest bit to me here. I have fun working with other developers and pairing to complete tasks.