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28 Jan 2019

Q&A with Seattle Instructor Mike Shapiro

Posted By: Lindsey Young

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, 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 blog!

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05 Feb 2019

Tech Talk: Getting Out of Your Own Way

Self doubt is an issue that effects developers at all levels, and workers of every trade — but especially those at the beginning of their career. As common as the feeling might be, it is often not openly discussed or properly managed. If you've ever felt unsure of yourself or your skills, then do not miss out on this talk! Our guest speaker in this video is Steven Cedeno, Senior Web Application Engineer at Nike. In his talk, Steven shares his experience with self doubt, and how he learned to get out of his own way. He explains how to identify self sabotage, gives tips on how to build your confidence, and shares helpful resources available to you!

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26 Mar 2019

5 Tips for Successful Online Learning

Posted By: Lindsey Young

Online bootcamps are a great option for those who need flexibility to work around a busy schedule. Coding bootcamps like The Tech Academy can be attended completely online, and even offer a hybrid training where students can study remotely and in-person. While there are many reasons students opt for online programs — convenience, money saved on transportation, and the ability to work in your pajamas — it also comes with its own set of challenges. Remote study requires discipline and focus in an environment that can be full of distractions. After surveying instructors at The Tech Academy to find out what makes a successful online student, we’ve compiled a list of 5 tips to help anyone who’s interested in enrolling in an online program! 1. Know if Online/Remote Study is Right for You This first step to online or remote study is knowing what is expected of online students, what’s necessary to be successful. Before enrolling in an online bootcamp, look for a free online course or an instructional video you can follow along with to see if online classes are right for you. Taking courses remotely requires a lot of discipline, organization and self-motivation, and some people might find that their learning style is more aligned with in-person courses. Additionally, get in contact with the online bootcamps you’re considering enrolling in. Ask about the teaching/learning process, instructor availability for remote students, etc. This will give you a good understanding of what to expect if you decide to enroll. 2. Create a Study Schedule While there are many benefits to studying remotely, it also comes with its own set of challenges. It’s much easier to find distractions, or a reason not to study when you don’t have to physically attend a class. To help yourself not give into distractions, establish a study schedule and stick to it. Set aside a few hours everyday that are dedicated to online study. A piece of advice from one of the Tech Academy’s remote instructors is to “approach online classes like a job, and stick to your schedule as best you can.” If you miss a day, hold yourself accountable by making up the hours. Keep in mind that the more you develop your routine, the easier it will be for you to maintain it! 3. Take Breaks from Looking at a Screen A good tip for working developers and students alike is to take short breaks away from your screen. If you’re feeling tired or frustrated while studying, try getting up and walk around! Whether it’s taking a walk around the block or just walking around your house to grab a snack or some coffee - giving yourself a break can help you feel refreshed and can help avoid feeling burnt out. 4. Know & Utilize Your Resources A big part of being a developer is knowing where to find solutions to problems. This is also a big part of learning how to code online or remotely. When you inevitably run into roadblocks, it’s good practice to have a list ready of resources to reference. Websites like W3schools, Stack Overflow, .NET Perls and Udemy are all useful tools to help when learning how to code. For online bootcamp students, one of the best resources available are instructors. Bootcamps like The Tech Academy have dedicated remote instructors that are available via phone, email or screenshare. If students are running into problems, they can share their code and have an instructor guide them through the problem-solving process. 5. Have a Dedicated Study Space Finding or creating an environment that is quiet and free of distractions is essential to attending an online bootcamp and studying remotely. Having a dedicated study space, whether it be a home office, a corner of the library or simply a desk in your bedroom, can help you get into the right headspace. A few tips from The Tech Academy’s remote instructors are to make sure you have a reliable internet connection, let your housemates or family members know that you are studying and shouldn’t be disturbed, and to logout of social media. If you’re interested in learning more about our online or hybrid study programs, contact us today at ! We'd love to answer your questions, and help you find out if online study is right for you.

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27 Mar 2019

Tech Talk: Ruby on Rails

Incase you missed it, here's last week's Tech Talk with guest speaker Wilfred Landry discussing Ruby on Rails! Wilfrid is a Senior Ruby on Rails Programmer and Certified AWS Cloud Solutions Architect. In this talk our speaker discusses Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails, or Rails, is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby under the MIT License. Rails is a model–view–controller (MVC) framework, providing default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages. He also talks about cloud services with Ruby, provides learning resources, and Portland Ruby on Rails meetups!

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03 Apr 2019

Tech Talk: The Breadth of Python

Posted By: Lindsey Young

In another awesome Tech Academy Tech Talk, guest speaker Tab Memmott shares his experience on how Python can be used in different fields. He will be going over important Python libraries as well. Tab is a Python Engineer at Nike and OHSU.

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