You’d be wrong to think teachers and programmers lie on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to careers. In fact, many of the characteristics that make a teacher successful are also qualities needed to become a great web or software developer. Just ask the four former educators in our current Front-End Bootcamp. Here are four of our favorites:
They Love Learning.
Teachers are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency and hone their skills. Professional development opportunities and continuing learning requirements are built into the profession. Similarly, web developers should always be thinking about how to do their jobs better; embarking on a never-ending cycle of learning to develop websites that perform better, run faster, and are easier to scale. Staying up to date on new technologies and programming languages is a necessary tool to keep your skills competitive. This always-be-improving mentality comes naturally for educators.
Successful teachers know that collaboration is an important element to a thriving educational environment. And better yet, research shows collaboration positively correlates to student achievement. Whether it’s English teachers and art teachers finding common ground where their disciplines overlap or veteran educators mentoring new teachers, benefits abound both for the educators and their students. Just like teachers, web developers know that two heads are better than one. A collaborative team means shared experiences and varying skill sets come together to form a dynamic environment. In fact, collaborative programming has become somewhat of a trend with events like hackathons and dojos. Some companies even encourage this collective approach with mob programming; “all the brilliant people working on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer.”
They’re Good Communicators.
For a teacher to thrive in their profession, clear communication skills are a must. Excellent teachers are able to convey knowledge, skills, and values, while at the same time expressing care for their students. They’re also required to communicate to various groups with differing levels of understanding and involvement; the way a teacher expresses a concept to her colleagues may differ greatly from how she’ll express it to her students. Good communication skills are a key component to a successful career as a web developer, too. Programmers have no problem communicating with their peers and also need to be able to express their approach to non-programmers in layman’s terms. A good programmer will also be able to communicate practical information regarding scope of work and project timelines.
And not just in a tech-savvy way. Teachers know how to solve problems; being innovative in their planning and implementation is just part of the job. And when it comes to tech, it’s not uncommon to hear about teachers building their own apps or websites to solve classroom problems that plague them day after day. The best computer programmers are also innovative. They have a knack for seeing the bigger picture and understanding how the minute details they’re often tasked to work on affect the overall vision.