Remember when we got the chance to talk to Jesse Wolgamott, the Director of Back-End Engineering and a veteran instructor at The Iron Yard? Well, we’re doing it again. This time it’s with Tim Whitacre, Iron Yard’s Director of Front-End Engineering. Tim was a passionate instructor (he taught 7 cohorts) before transitioning to his new role, and the shift has been “weird” (his words not ours!), but we loved learning more about his growth as a brand-spanking-new director and the growth of The Iron Yard.
Keep reading to find 5 takeaways from our conversation with Tim.
“In my new role as Director of Front-End Engineering, I work on our course curriculum and help develop new class formats. This fall, we’re rolling out some new, shorter format classes. We will offer a part-time Foundations course that will run for two weeks. I’m currently focused on getting that all set up. I also help support roughly 20 front-end engineering instructors with any resources they need.
I love being able to assist instructors with material so they can focus on helping their students.”
“If someone wants to be a developer it really doesn’t matter what course they take. Students learn the same problem-solving skills and how programming works in each course. Choosing a course really comes down to personality or something specific the individual wants to build. If a person is visually driven, he or she tends to be more interested in FEE or mobile development. If he or she loves data, the Back-End Engineering or Data Science courses are a great fit.
This is something we focus heavily on during our interview process. The student meets with both a campus staff as well as the instructor he or she is interested in taking the course with. Prospective students have the opportunity to sit down with any other instructors they want.
Lastly, we offer free crash courses for each of the courses we teach. They are open to anyone in the community, and are a great way to see what course individuals like the most and even start a connection with the instructor.”
“Basically, it’s what a user sees when he or she interacts with a website or web application. It’s taking a visual design and making it functional.”
“My favorite part of the job has got to be the students. We get to interview all of our students before they enroll in courses, so we have really great groups of students. We are very fortunate to have an exceptionally active alumni community who still get involved with mentoring new students and spreading the word about The Iron Yard.
My least favorite part of the job is when I see a student who is not fully committed to the program. Our programs are intense and, while we interview students ahead of time, sometimes someone will join and realize a few weeks in he or she isn’t as passionate about engineering as previously thought. This usually means that student will either struggle and potentially not graduate or will drop out of the course early. While this is rare, and happening less and less, it still happens and is definitely the most challenging part of my role.”
“It was a weird shift to go from being an instructor to being a director, but as the company grows, I’ve realized how important it is to build a solid structure. It will not only allow our students to have the best experience possible but also provide a great working environment for our instructors.”
To learn more about The Iron Yard, click here.
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