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31 Dec 2018

5 Skills You Must Learn to Become a Good Programmer

Posted By: Guest Post by Gary Wilson of Simple Programmer

You can become a programmer by studying for and gaining recognized qualifications, but becoming a good programmer takes more than that. In fact it takes several specific skills to be successful in this ever growing industry - which we look at in more detail here. 1. Problem-Solving Skills Most software is designed to meet a need, which is recognized after spotting a ‘problem’, or a gap in capabilities. Computer programmers need to be great at identifying and solving issues for a range of industries, as well as fixing subsequent error codes which come up. The good news is that even if problem-solving doesn’t come naturally there are lots of online resources which help you practice and develop this, as well as everyday activities like Sudoku, crosswords and even jigsaws. The important thing is that you enjoy solving problems; as if you don’t the job will be a constant drain on your life. 2. Good Memory Skills Even though a programmer’s brain is often overloaded with high volumes of instructions and information there’s no room for errors caused by forgetfulness. It pays to train yourself to focus completely on one task at a time rather than flitting between things. There are also some amazing brain training resources available free online to strengthen memory skills. 3. Self Motivation With dozens of tasks to complete and crucial deadlines to meet being able to work independently and prioritize work is vital. Due to the nature of the job it’s not unusual for programmers to do some work remotely, generally from home. Busy fools work hard but achieve less than those who use their time efficiently and waste none of it. Some people struggle to complete tasks when they have all day to do it, so learning to set deadlines of your own, and even your own targets to reach, can only help. 4 . Perseverance Being able to keep going when tasks don’t work out as expected, or as fast as you needed them to, is also very important. Programming can be frustrating at times, and involve abandoning work done for a new approach which is more useful – so if you struggle to do that it’s a skill to learn, and quick. 5 . Good Communication Skills Being able to communicate information, ideally both verbally and in writing, in a clear, useful, and understandable way to colleagues and clients is pretty crucial for a programmer. If too much face-to-face time is challenging at least try to excel at the written side of things, so you can do as much as possible via less direct routes, like email. If you already feel fully accomplished in all the skill areas covered here then congratulations, but if you are rusty or weak in some of them it’s never too late to get started on learning how to gain certain skills, if you want to do it badly enough. To improve your skills and knowledge of coding, check out Simple Programmer.

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03 Jan 2019

Mentorship Culture: Tech Talk with Alexandrea Beh

Check out this Tech Talk with guest speaker Alexandrea Beh on 'Mentorship Culture'! Alexandrea is a Software Engineer at Navex Global. In this talk, she focuses on both traditional and non-traditional mentorship opportunities, how to find or create them and mentorship resources.

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17 Jan 2019

Transitioning Careers into Tech and QA: Tech Talk with Katie Saldivar

In this talk, QA Engineer and Tech Academy graduate Katie Saldivar shares her experience switching from teaching Spanish to working as a QA Engineer, and everything she learned in the process!

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21 Jan 2019

The Tech Academy Free Coding Class Series

Posted By: Devon Roberts

Coding has always been mysterious to the general population, often lumped into “nerd culture” and considered a niche skill, only for the most specific kind of person. Most people’s sole exposure to the idea of coding and programmers is somewhere between Tron, the Matrix (and its infamous streams of “code” bathed in a really strong green) and then every hacker in the yearly heist movie.

It’s not surprising that most people feel intimidated or confused about coding. Despite how widespread technology is, as users, we rarely encounter or even understand what is happening with the devices we use. As technology continues to become more complex and more present in every aspect of our lives, literacy in coding languages is becoming more relevant and more necessary.

So if coding is becoming a skill both necessary and valuable for the world, how do you learn it? Where do you start? How do you find out if it’s the right thing for you and how do you get plugged into a rapidly growing and changing industry? Almost every industry professional I’ve spoken to has the same advice: “Take a free class” they say, followed by a weathered: “See if you even like it first”. A good bit of advice. Free classes make coding accessible and provide a really great entry point for curious newcomers to the industry or for those looking to pick up new skills. This is where The Tech Academy comes in.

The mission of The Tech Academy is to bridge the gap between technology and society. This has guided us to create a completely original curriculum tailored for someone with no prior experience. We’ve created a customizable study schedule that morphs to the needs of students and provide financing options to break down financial barriers for students to get the education they want. Now it’s time to introduce our newest program to get people coding.

The Tech Academy is proud to introduce a Free Coding Class Series at the Portland Campus. Taught by Tech Academy Graduate Alister Cedeno, there will be four intro-to-coding classes taught a week covering some of the most prolific programming languages including HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Python and Small Basic. These classes are designed to introduce people with no prior experience to these programming languages, as well as the basics of coding, making it accessible and easy to understand. With each free class, you will gain a fundamental understanding of these languages and basic coding concepts.

Alister, who will be instructing each class, is a graduate of The Tech Academy. After completing his courses and impressing his instructors, he was selected as being the perfect liaison for people’s first encounter with these coding languages. Alister is excited to debut this program, starting Monday, January 21st, and hopes that students realize just how fun and accessible coding can be.

As this program rolls out, hopes for the future include providing these free classes across all Tech Academy Campuses. Considering this industry is relatively new, being only decades old, there is so much room for creativity, innovation and visionaries.The Tech Academy wants to inspire, encourage and equip those visionaries with the tools they need to create the future. To find out more about our Free Coding Class Series and about The Tech Academy Boot Camps go to and get connected today! For a schedule of our Free Coding Class series, or to RSVP, visit The Tech Academy’s Meetup page!

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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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