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I Didn't Expect This, But I'm Happy I'm Here

gnarlyquinn22 profile image Audra T Originally published at Medium ・2 min read

From Teaching to Tech — My Journey to Front-End Web Development

I had just finished my education degree, graduated, and officially became an Ontario Certified Teacher, when it hit me: I don’t want to be here.

While teaching was something I legitimately enjoyed, I found classroom teaching to be a little too rigid and, after graduating, the profession once again became the target of a political campaign. Seeing my friends, who were passionate about teaching, struggle to find consistent work pushed me further away from the pursuit of classroom teaching and I began to look at education-adjacent careers. One job that caught my eye was a curriculum consultant for a mathematics video game company, which I had used during my time in the classroom.

I have always been interested in coding and video games. My friend taught me to customize HTML using our Neopets and Piczo accounts, I liked to dive into my computer’s settings to customize it as much as possible, and playing video games was a regular hobby (oh the glorious Playstation 2). Having a job involving video games was something I kept at the back of my mind, but that job posting brought it to the forefront.

I never applied for the curriculum consultant as I was offered a tutoring position from a recruiter who found my profile on an education job posting website. While I enjoyed tutoring, it didn’t serve well as a career path.

While helping coach new skaters at a Toronto Roller Derby practice, I overheard the head coach saying that she had started her career as a pastry chef and then transitioned to being a front-end web developer. After practice I asked if she’d be willing to grab a coffee to discuss her career change, and we made plans for later on in the week. When we met for coffee she told me about how she changed her career within a year.

We talked about how she learned HTML/CSS, then completed an immersive web-development bootcamp which prepared her for her career. After talking more about the school she attended, Juno College of Technology (then called HackerYou), I was sold. The bootcamp would get me job-ready, I would receive support while job searching, and I would be part of an alumni network that actually helped each other.

I signed up for Juno’s part-time Web Development Fundamentals and Advanced course, and loved it. It was challenging, but also appealed to the way my brain works. After finishing that course I decided to apply for Juno’s full-time Immersive Bootcamp. I was accepted into the bootcamp (woot!), took a part-time JavaScript course to help prepare, and now I’m here in bootcamp. Literally. I’m typing during my lunch break.

When I complete bootcamp in 8 weeks (we’re done week 1 now), it will be 6 days before the anniversary of the coffee chat that changed my life. When I thought about my career after university I didn’t expect this, but I’m happy I’m here.

(Originally published on Medium)

Discussion

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brandinchiu profile image
Brandin Chiu

The great thing about development is that it is full of opportunities to teach. Either in an unofficial capacity through mentorship and peer work, or officially through things like the Bootcamp you're participating in right now.

My teaching jounryley came from a passion for advocating for digital literacy, and developers from there.

I've been teaching part time for almost six years now through various initiatives.

Most currently I teach for Lighthouse Labs, another Bootcamp provider based out of Vancouver and with offices in Toronto and Montreal as well as other western provinces.

Teaching is a great way to validate your own learning, and I encourage you to seek opportunities as you continue your new path down development!

You can have your cake and eat it too! :)

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gnarlyquinn22 profile image
Audra T Author

That is very true! I have been thinking about pursuing a mentorship position while I try and get some practical experience (then possibly teaching).

I find it interesting that you mention digital literacy, as that was one of my focuses when I was in a grade 6/7 classroom.

How has your experience been teaching coding?

Thank you! I'm looking forward to bringing the worlds together :)

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brandinchiu profile image
Brandin Chiu

I tend to focus on adult learning professionally, as I enjoy the focus more (since paying to be there usually means they pay better attention, haha), but I've volunteered with younger groups a few times, and have lead workshops for municipalities as well.

My experiences almost exclusively positive. I'm lucky in that the subject matter is often found to be really interesting and engaging.

My instruction style is very metaphor/practical examples based, and so far my students have seemed to enjoy that and picked up a good grasp of the material quickly.

Its probably my favourite side-gig for sure :)

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gnarlyquinn22 profile image
Audra T Author

I'm happy to hear that your experiences are almost always positive! Practical examples are always helpful, and I find adding a metaphor or short story can help students remember abstract concepts as they have something to relate it back to.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! You've given me hope and a lot to think about :)

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brandinchiu profile image
Brandin Chiu

My absolute pleasure. Mentorship is a huge part of this community, and something I encourage both my peers and employees to participate in whenever possible.

The world of development has so much breadth and scale that its simply impossible for any one person to be an expert in everything. We need to work together in order to truly thrive.

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katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

Good luck in Bootcamp Audra!

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gnarlyquinn22 profile image
Audra T Author

Thank you so much!

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Teaching helps a lot for you to gain experience when you teach to another person. You get to learn faster as your forced to understand faster by teaching what you know..

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gnarlyquinn22 profile image
Audra T Author

This is very true! It's a great way to consolidate your own learning by having to explain it multiple different ways.