How did you learn about PDXWIT and what keeps you coming back?
I saw their events posted on calagator.org all the time; I was immediately impressed by the quality of the events and how organized PDXWIT is.
Can you give us some background on your career in tech? Did you intend this career path?
It was a complete switch. Before I considered a job in tech I was an English teacher in Europe. I went through a local code school program, became a TA at the code school, then started my current job.
Did you employ methods [as a TA] from your teaching days or need to rethink your approach?
Teaching English vs. teaching programming are different, but at the core my philosophy stayed the same: "students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." When students know you're invested in their growth and success, they'll see you're teaching to them, not at them.
From teacher to code school student, having patience with the instructor to explain and help you with the new concepts (especially at the accelerated pace of code school) is just as important as the instructor having patience with their students. I spent two years working with elementary school students, many of whom had a short knowledge of English, and being able to manage those kinds of classrooms gave me all the confidence I needed to be a TA.
If you were to give advice to a person considering code school, would you have any advice on vetting a school?
I would try and find approximately 5 people who were in the program and ask them what it was like, after it was all said and done.
Can you describe a passion or activity you pursue with dedication?
I took a ballroom dance class in college because I thought it would be a useful thing to know at a wedding, but it's not, entirely. Somehow that evolved into a passion for Cuban salsa. I've been a member of a Cuban salsa group, traveled for it, and taken workshops with highly respected Cuban dance instructors. The way I see it, some people's lifetime sport is golf, and mine's Cuban salsa.