PCS Post-Mortem

So my time at Portland Code School is at an end, and in a month I’ll go back to teaching in my department. I wanted to say a few words about my time there, my experiences, and what I learned.

This has definitely been the best work experience I’ve ever had. I felt appreciated and respected. There were no pissing contests of ego, no times where colleagues took my ideas and restated them while taking the credit, and no moments of group-sabotage. I also wasn’t sexually harassed or demeaned for being queer, so that’s another way it was a massive step up from most of my work experience, but those are pretty low bars. I feel like everyone in the organization really cared about education and trying to get students to a point that they could enter the workforce as programmers and, in general, I think we succeeded.

I was quite proud of the final projects the student teams made. They were all interesting and well presented and, in the end, demonstrated that all the students were capable of working on a team and contributing features to a full-stack application. Not everyone is necessarily as well-prepared on all aspects of web development, but that’s always true and that’s okay. They’ve demonstrated that they are capable of working together to create ideas and implement them and, one of the really exciting things, is that all of the demo apps used features we didn’t teach them. The groups actually did research to figure out how to do what they wanted. That’s a super important trait for being a programmer and I was glad to see it demonstrated. There were no twitter or remember the milk clones, which are the typical learning exercise, but unique and interesting applications. Now, unfortunately they aren’t all hosted on heroku or something of that form so I can’t link to them at the moment. Hopefully that will change in the near future. I think they were very cute first projects for a group that mostly had no real programming experience.

Overall, it was a really good experience working here and I hope I’ll have an opportunity to teach for PCS again.

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