Staff Spotlight: From Watching Change Happen to Inspiring That Change

Posted by Flatiron School  /  February 5, 2019

David S. spent a decade in the retail banking industry. He specialized in working with small business clientele and entrepreneurs. While he took pride in helping them in some small way succeed, David wanted to do more. He wanted to be an actual instrument of change.

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While he’s always had an interest in tech, David saw the power tech had in eliminating barriers and increasing accessibility. David seized a fortunate opportunity and gained the technical skills he needed to start a career in tech. He’s now a Technical Coaching Fellow (TCF) at Flatiron School’s Seattle campus and actively involved in helping students change careers and their lives.

Tech helped entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, according to David. “Through my line of work, I was able to personally witness the different and unique ways in which entrepreneurs were able to bring their dreams to fruition,” said David. “It’s hard not to get inspired by seeing how technology had reduced the barrier to entry for these business owners and their enthusiasm for what they were doing was infectious.”

He chose to become a teacher because he saw firsthand what a coding bootcamp can do for someone’s life. “I feel like I can offer a unique perspective as I help students through their struggles,” said David. “I get a great deal of satisfaction in watching a student make connections and move past their learning barriers.”

That passion led him to teaching and it’s one of the things he loves most at Flatiron School. David loves the enthusiasm and excitement that comes with the first day of a new cohort. “We’re able to see their efforts and preparation pay off,” said David. “It’s exciting to think about how the lives of everyone here, both students and staff, will change over the coming months and I know I will reflect on this first day often during the journey.”

The students are striving to do something that could change their lives. “Many students come from established careers or have moved here from other locations,” said David. “Taking that leap to leave that behind for a while in order to shake up their lives is an incredibly difficult, but rewarding decision to make. I don’t think that it’s possible to overstate how impressed I am by those who chose this path and am constantly inspired by them.”

David is on the ground floor at Flatiron School’s Seattle campus and thinks he gets to learn as much as the students. “I strive to be a lifelong learner, and being able to encounter so many different people, all with their different approaches and outlooks on life furthers my own understanding and enjoyment of the subjects we teach,” said David.

He helps students adjust to the coding bootcamp experience. Many students want to understand everything right away or have a clear path ahead of them. Learning to code requires a lot of personal growth and comfort in knowing that you won’t ever know everything.

The first thing he does with students is get them out of a “perfectionist mindset.” “Seasoned developers are constantly Googling simple commands all the time, and it is unreasonable to expect anyone to have unlimited knowledge about a language,” said David. If you’re learning and making progress, you’re on the right path to becoming a better developer, according to David. “Fall in love with the process of learning and there’s nothing that will hold you back from success.”