I just moved to Denver from Boston... I was previously in engineering positions and I’m now an instructor on the Front-End Team and also the Technical Lead.
Before Turing, I was working at the New York Times and also at Mozilla doing engineering work. I previously worked in media very frequently. I was a journalism major so I really liked working in industries that were a little bit outside of tech. One thing that’s great about being an engineer is that every industry needs them.
The most recent project that I worked on at my last position at Mozilla was really exciting….
We were starting to build some applications and some internal tooling for doing A/B testing in Firefox, the browser. We would have developers who were using Firefox regularly and would sign-up for the experimental features. It’s similar to people using Chrome: they might use Canary to get the latest, most experimental features.
And when we had people sign up for these, we wanted to A/B test for new features and new experiments for them. So we had to set up a lot of internal tooling that would actually push these experiments to particular users. Getting that little sample set of users that we wanted - to push these experiments to and making sure we blocked out the other ones - was pretty challenging.
We definitely sent out a bunch of experiments that maybe we shouldn’t have - haha! But they were really interesting problems we were trying to solve with that project.
But my position at Mozilla was a little bit too meta: being at a tech company working on tech.
I really found the education aspect of Turing really appealing. I’ve been teaching for just a couple months now and a couple things that stand out to me the most are just how contagious the students’ excitement is; they’re always really excited about even the simplest things that I might normally think “I’ve done this a thousand times and this isn’t that cool”. But once the student is like “that’s really cool”, I’m like “oh yeah you’re right, it really is… that is cool!”
I love the atmosphere and how the students can kind of rub off on you that way and I’ve also learned a lot since I’ve been here. I think one of the things you miss out on when you’re in strictly engineering roles is that foundational knowledge, especially when you’re self-taught, you don’t necessarily know how to articulate what it is that you’re doing or explain the nitty-gritty details of what you’re building.
But then once you’re up in front of a classroom and you have to explain it, and you have students asking you the weirdest questions, you better know what you’re doing and you better know how to say it. So I’ve learned a lot from all the weird questions that our students ask.
The most exciting applications come from things that you want to build.
And we see a lot of people that have these great ideas but they don’t know how to actually execute them because they don’t have technical skills yet, but that’s kinda where we come in and help them out with the things that they want to put to use.
There are so many great ideas out there and if we can just level-up people with their technical skills and get those apps out there, I think the world will be a much better place.
Instructor at Turing
I was a Turing student and then after I graduated, I joined as an instructor on the Front-End Team.
I came from Chicago and then moved to Boston where I was working for a software company doing technical writing, and I had previously studied engineering before that and worked doing a lot of data processing… so I wanted to get back into that coding / tooling, because I loved taking a bunch of data and transforming into something useful.
I moved to Denver and found out about Turing through some friends.
Loved the idea of it! Loved being able to make a career change in 7 months into a totally new industry.
One aspect of teaching that I love is the mentorship part! Your class is usually like 20-30 people and you're basically in charge of mentoring them, making sure that everyone is on the same page and giving attention to any struggling students. I love being able to mentor and hopefully use that in my next job wherever that is.
I think the project I’ve had the most fun with was when I was a Turing student working on a database for honeybee hive health. It was called “Hive Health”. We’re so good at naming things ;)
Basically the user would go on and they would be like a beekeeper, even an amateur beekeeper, and then log the health of their bee colony. So you could generate a map and see the general health of bee colonies across the nation. And then we would hopefully be able to use an open API to gather data across the nation.
And then, I would say explore your passions and see how the web could affect those. Then you’ll have some ideas of how you want to apply things and keep excited about developing for those applications.
Assistant Instructor at Turing