The #learntocode movement, fraught with college alternatives, is pushing the limits on what ‘Tech Education’ really is. In many instances these programs don’t follow the typical educational paradigm. Because of these differences, it can be difficult to navigate these programs. Here are some tips and tricks to help aspiring software engineers as they enter the field.
Ask your peers…
Curriculums centered around peer learning models allow students to become active learners and teachers simultaneously. After all, one of the best indicators you understand a concept is being able to explain it simply. At Holberton School students participate in events called Peer Learning Days. These days are centered around student led explanations, discussions, and questions. Sue, a Holberton School student explains the practical tasks the students engage in, "Every month we simulate technical interviews, answering questions just like we would when applying for a job. It helps us articulate our concepts in simple words and deal with the intense pressure of interviews. We learn to share our thought process while writing algorithms on the whiteboard which is an essential part of most coding interviews.”
Actively develop a network…
The old saying "It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know…" holds weight even in the tech industry. While mastering the foundational basics is a must, the networking students engage in can be of equal importance. "Conferences -- the unscheduled time is the most important… that’s where you get the opportunity to actively expand your network and meet tech professionals who might become your co-workers. I challenged myself to not only rely on Holberton’s network but to leverage networking events as opportunities where I could cultivate my own." says Elaine, another Holberton School student.
Employers want to hire someone with the technical know-how necessary to complete assigned tasks, but are also looking for good people; people with drive, a sense of humor, leadership skills, and a solid moral compass. Holberton School encourages students to attend tech events in order to broaden their network. We put on internal meetups and workshops and make it a priority to put students in touch with a variety of networking resources.
Take time to learn industry protocol…
Imagine for a second that you visit a foreign country. Would you expect the inhabitants of that country to take on all of the your customs or would you begin learning their culture? This same notion lends itself to newcomers to tech. Budding software engineers will want to learn the most efficient and effective ways to create, write, and document code. At Holberton, projects include instructions/best practices on how to maintain a professional looking GitHub, etc. This allows students to practice procedures the tech industry expects.
Remember why you’re here…
Like any new endeavor, students learning to code may eventually find themselves wondering if programming is for them. It’s easy to feel discouraged when faced with a complex problem solving assignment. The important thing is to remember the why behind learning these new skills. Remember the career goals you’ve set when you find yourself becoming frustrated with a project or assignment. At Holberton we are proud of the community we’ve cultivated where students feel comfortable talking through these types of roadblocks- either with each other or with a staff member.
This content was sponsored by Holberton School.
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