Why I love teaching people to code

When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a teacher. I didn’t think I’d end up teaching people to code. I wanted to be a high school English teacher. I learned to program, though, and that career was too lucrative to derail. Fortunately, I found my way back to teaching, first through being an instructor and academic director at The Iron Yard, and now through co-founding Momentum.

I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. I love programming and I love teaching and I get to do both every day. I specifically love teaching in the code school environment, though, and there’s a few reasons why.

I get to work with fearless adults. Whatever career you have right now, imagine walking away from it with the plan to learn how to rebuild engines and become a mechanic. Imagine stopping the thing you know how to do well and trying to do something completely foreign to you. It’s wild, and the people who are brave enough to do it are something else. I have respect for everyone who’s taken that plunge, and they don’t give up, even when it gets hard.

I get to see people’s lives change. I’ve taught people who were about to have a kid and needed to get their life together, people who were a few months from losing their home and they needed a new career, and people who were depressed by where their career had taken them, and seen each of these blossom into great software developers who got to do work they enjoyed and get well compensated for it. These same people are now speaking at conferences, mentoring others, running companies, and more, and I get to play a small but crucial role in all their stories.

Programming is more fun than ever. Part of the practice of being an instructor is constantly learning. If you’re not currently learning something, it’s real hard to put yourself in your students’ shoes. I get to stretch myself, learn new languages and frameworks, and read actual interesting programming books. I started learning how to write games this year and it is the sort of programming I imagined I’d grow up to do.

I wish I could tell you that Momentum is looking for great instructors and you should give it a chance. We’re not just yet, but we will be in six to twelve months and if you love programming and love people, I hope you think about how you can start.