How would you define front-end web development in two sentences?
What do you love about front-end web development?
Developers are constantly suggesting improvements to the front-end ecosystem and then helping make those improvements happen.
Why should someone learn essential front-end web development skills at GA?
What does a superstar front-end web development student look like?
Someone who looks for connections between what we’re doing in class and what they’ve seen in real life, building their own projects on the side to try things out.
What personal qualities will set someone up for success in the coding industry?
Humility, openness to constructive feedback/criticism, the ability to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and the motivation to research answers to their own questions (and the skills to do it well).
What was your path to becoming a teacher and leader in front-end development?
Why did the opportunity to teach at GA appeal to you?
I had been writing textbooks for several years, which I saw as teaching that was only one-way: I’d put curriculum out in the world but not be there when students interacted with it. Teaching at GA lets me interact with students in real life.
How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
Every student brings a lot of knowledge and skills to the classroom already. One of my goals is to help you recognize what you already know and connect it to what we’re trying to do. I think one of the most important skills I teach is how to troubleshoot and how to find answers to your questions so you can continue to learn and grow as a developer long after your time in my classroom.
What has been your favorite memory as a GA instructor?
Students are constantly mixing and recombining things I teach them in new ways, and it’s a thrill to experience each time they do.
How do you help struggling students break through to meet or go beyond their minimum GA course requirements?
When I see a student struggling, I reach out and work with them to identify what resources they could use to help them get over the hump. Sometimes that’s extra one-on-one time working with concepts or on homework. It can also be additions to or tweaks to my teaching style that help them focus better in the classroom.
How do you push high-achieving students to go beyond the minimum GA course requirements?
With the front-end web, there are so many opportunities for this! When a student seems to have a firm grasp on something, I try to connect that concept to something they may have seen on the web in real life, sketch the outlines of the connection for them, and invite them to research it and try it out.
What are some free resources and tools a student can use to stay up to speed in front-end web development?
Between taking the course and finding a job, what is the best way to get practical, real-world experience in front-end web development?
Code every day! Build your own projects; find a nonprofit or team that would benefit from your contribution to their work. Keep trying things, running up against the limits of your experience, researching, building, and learning.