3 Reasons to Get in Front of the Class and Teach
By Dan Vassallo
The moment I was taught how to boot up Classic Concentration through DOS I became obsessed with computers. As a kid, I spent quite a bit of time in the computer lab at the vocational school where my father taught a commercial art class. I was always interested in what he was showing the older kids there, so I quickly got hooked on vector imaging and other types of media creation using a computer. Another part of my father’s curriculum was “web design,” so naturally I started to play around with front-end technologies, mainly as a means to make terrible 80s horror-movie fan pages complete with spinning skull GIFs.
After a stint as a touring and recording musician, years of odd jobs, and an era of amateur programming style, I found my place as a software engineer at a company called Vydia. I am currently the tech lead for a portion of the company’s product development department. Through my experiences I was able to connect with some talented folks at the Rutgers Bootcamps, and since then I have found myself where my father once was: at the front of the classroom.
Being an instructor is supremely rewarding. Nothing beats watching students grow from day one to their graduation and knowing you have had a hand in changing their lives. Aside from the truly gratifying feeling of making an impact, here are three other reasons why you should consider becoming an instructor.
You learn through teaching
Teaching new, complex principles and skills is quite a feat. Instructors work with a curriculum that is designed precisely to impart the most up-to-date technical knowledge, the skills needed to excel in the industry. There’s no better way to stay sharp in the profession than to guide students through this carefully engineered program. It’s always fun to start from the basics with students and move through to advanced topics. A room full of people hungry for knowledge will keep you on your toes and help hone your chops.
You get to share your own experiences and development tools
Being a total coding nerd can be mystifying to outsiders. Aside from our development teams at work it can be hard to find friends or family interested in geeking out on your new dev tools or plug-ins. Having a classroom of like-minded individuals to share these neat little tips and tricks with can be very therapeutic. It could also lead them to share some of their own!
You make a genuine connection with other people
Spending the duration of the program with students and frequently talking them through their coding issues can bring you close together. You share in their struggles and their successes, and hopefully by the course’s end you are writing letters of recommendation for them to potential employers and grad programs. I keep in touch with my students long after the course has finished and am always happy and proud to see how they are advancing in their careers.
When you sign up to be an instructor, you become a positive influence on people ready to make a big change in their lives. The rewards continue long after the students receive their certificates. There’s no better feeling in the world than watching individuals succeed, especially knowing that you have invested some of your own your time and effort to help them reach that success.