Antonio R., an Online Software Engineering alumnus, was born in the U.K. but moved frequently as a child in a military. He didn’t stay in one location very long and he became what he calls a “global citizen.” Moving to different places, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people has helped him to embrace new experiences without preconceived expectations. That openness helps him as a Cohort Lead at our Austin campus because he’s teaching students from different countries, cultures, backgrounds, and experience in tech.
He didn’t stay long in Austin when he first moved to the city in 2005. He eventually moved to Brooklyn before returning to Austin in 2015. While he won’t quite call Austin home, it’s very close — he’s a global citizen, remember.
Antonio originally came to Austin to work with a DJ agency but discovered how much he loved teaching while working at a DJ school. “It was great to see the impact of sharing knowledge,” he says.Antonio started to learn more about code when he wanted to build an online version of the DJ school. At first, he thought he only needed to learn some information to start building his web app. But he became more interested in software engineering beyond just building his app. He wanted to do more and started to look into coding bootcamps to accelerate his learning.
His own educational experience frequently changed. He attended seven different high schools and at times it’s hard to remember specific people and places. What was constant was technology. Specifically, the computer room at the Air Force base. He likens a computer to an “agent of discovery.”
Antonio chose Flatiron School because of our free online Coding Bootcamp Prep course, which includes over 75 hours of instruction. “I gained all this excellent knowledge and experience through the way Flatiron School teaches its curriculum,” he says. “There was no turning back.”
Even though he was ready to commit to attending a coding bootcamp, he still had reservations. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to leave the music industry. “It’s just a matter of stepping outside of your comfort zone,” he says. Antonio says he overcame those fears by sticking with it and making improvements “even if it’s just one percent every day.”
He also credits the Flatiron School community for helping him enter the tech industry. Antonio was able to reach out to his cohort and discovered there were plenty of musicians in the tech community. Music and software development have a lot in common, such as practice. “Music and development are languages, in a sense, that can be used in many ways,” he says.
The idea of coding as a new literacy, in that it’s going to be an essential skill in the coming years, is something Antonio also considered when he joined our program. Even learning how code — or technology — works on a very basic level can be a valuable skill.
Today, as an instructor, Antonio is a mentor to students looking to change their careers and lives. He credits his own mentors from the tech and music industry for helping him learn the skills he needed to succeed. Antonio says the teacher-student dynamic is a learning opportunity for both parties. “Every time I teach them, I learn something new because they have a different perspective and have different questions,” he says.
That openness is important for anyone looking for a mentor as they begin their own coding journey. Antonio says it’s easy to not ask for help or advice, but you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s normal to not know things and asking for help is an opportunity for inspiration.
His favorite part about being a cohort lead for Flatiron School are the interactions he has with students. “I leave feeling energized. I’m inspired,” he says. “Each interaction is so rewarding.” He describes our campus as a “neo-Renaissance coffee shop” where new ideas are always being shared.
Antonio wants to give back to the city and provide the same mentorship and sense of community he found with Flatiron School. He’s excited to be a part of our success in Austin and looks forward to being a mentor to our students.
Charles Poladian is a copywriter for Flatiron School. He previously worked as a journalist and his work has appeared in the International Business Times and Mashable. Charles currently lives in Brooklyn.