Staff Spotlight: How a Pilot Is Teaching Students How to Reach New Heights

Posted by Flatiron School  /  February 4, 2019

Alan H. is a software engineering Technical Coaching Fellow (TCF) at our Flatiron School Houston campus. Alan was an air traffic controller before attending a bootcamp and becoming a lead backend developer for a local dev shop. On the side, he’s also a pilot. Alan has really taken to teaching and is a student favorite!

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With his first full cohort under his belt, Alan has some great insight into teaching at Flatiron School.

Alan’s favorite moment from the last month was when his first set of students graduated. He loved the feeling of being involved every step of the way. It was also a bittersweet moment. “It’s the end of an era for them, but a beginning of their career,” said Alan.

Flatiron School’s bootcamp can be rigorous and students face a few challenges through the program. Problem solving is a key element of any software engineer’s day-to-day. It’s a necessary skill to have, but one that takes time to develop. But, it’s an incredible feeling when the breakthrough happens. “When they solve a problem they have been working on for hours and days it’s awesome,” said Alan.

If you think that coding is all rules and no personality, think again. Students can really show off who they are in their independent projects, Alan recalls one project that’s among his favorites. “There was a student project called ‘Let it Bee.’ It keeps track of the temperature and humidity of a beehive,” said Alan.“It’s an extremely cool project!”

When asked why he chose to teach at Flatiron School, Alan has a clear answer. “What attracted me to Flatiron School is our mission, what we stand for,” said Alan. “Loyalty to a company is unrealistic, but loyalty to a cause is very realistic. It has also allowed me to get exposed to something different than I’ve experienced before.”

His favorite part of the job is “being there at the beginning of someone’s journey” and his favorite part of each cohort is “Seeing the difference between the beginning and the end. Going through stress together strengthens our bond with each other.”

Our students face different challenges based on their backgrounds, personalities, and technical experience. But, the most common challenge faced by many student involves finding the right balance of independence. The faculty and cohort act as a support system for students, but they also have to develop their skills on their own. “In order to help them overcome this particular struggle, we try to pair them with people who will bring the best out of them,” said Alan.

With the recent launch of the Data Science Immersive in Houston, Alan is now teaching himself the curriculum so he can remain as up to date on our offerings as possible.