Like many of our students, Instructor Mike Shapiro made a huge career change when he decided to join the tech industry. Mike left a career in the performing arts to enroll in The Tech Academy, and eventually became an Instructor at our Seattle campus. In this Q&A on SwitchUp.org, Mike shares some of the many insights he's learned as an instructor as well as a student, surprising commonalities in the performing arts and tech, and much more! How did you get into programming? You mentioned you were tinkering with HTML & CSS at first - was that for work, or for a personal project? I was actually in a 4-year college degree program for traditional computer science after I graduated from acting school, and I learned HTML & CSS there - but I never ended up graduating because of the number of things I was learning that weren’t practical - at all - which is why I ended up veering towards the bootcamp route. Is there a common struggle you see students run into, and how do you and the other instructors help them through it? A lot of students that attend bootcamps aren’t aware of what the true journey looks like and what it entails. So a lot of them end up feeling very discouraged, because they feel like they’re struggling so much with this. They’ll often feel like they’re struggling much more than others are, or they think that they need to know absolutely everything about a subject before they’re able to move on. But learning to program doesn’t really work that way. One way I try to remedy this is by reminding them that every single student is going through this alongside them. This skill doesn’t come easily to anybody. It requires practice and hard work, and comes with emotional ups and downs - and they’re not alone in going through that. I also offer them the comfort in saying that when you’re learning to program, you’re never going to be able to memorize every library of every language. That’s just not the way it works. Programming has a lot more to do with looking up how to complete something and carrying it out, no matter how advanced you get. I use this analogy: You can have a library full of books. Librarians don’t know every piece of information in every book, but hopefully they know where to look for it. Read the entire Q&A on the SwitchUp.org blog!