Hey, Dallas! Tech events, new instructors at The Iron Yard

It’s a busy day (actually, a busy month!) on our Dallas campus, as we’re hard at work prepping to welcome people for events, courses, info sessions, workshops and more.

First, we’re proud to be hosting several #DSW17 events, including the DSW17 Workshop: Google ‘Android Things’ Operating System Overview – this Friday at noon. In addition to several information sessions and free crash courses (check out our Meetup page here for the latest!), we’re also welcoming two new instructors to our campus – Ato Mensah and Douglas Hirsh.

Today, we want to introduce you to Ato and Douglas. They both have impressive resumes and experience, but they also each bring a unique energy to campus and we know that future students will benefit from learning with them. They also both want students to understand the value of learning how to learn. Below, meet Ato and Douglas. 

Meet Ato Mensah

What is your professional background?

I am the Lead Architect and Cofounder of Bitstrapped, a software product and services company. My focus is to build technology platforms that inspire more interactions between people. I have a passion for teaching, writing and speaking on ways to grow software talent and entrepreneurship for the future.

Why/how did you land at The Iron Yard?

In a dramatic shift in career, I decided that I had learned a multitude of programming skills over a career as a software developer and technology consultant. It was time to approach software from a beginner’s mind. It was time to share my knowledge and experience by teaching. As an approach, I got closer to the Dallas entrepreneurial community and I launched by business. In doing so, I discovered The Iron Yard. I volunteered to do guest lectures to discuss continuous learning in software and career strategies. I think our visions aligned, which is to really see more people grow their career in web development. So after one year and four guest lectures, the opportunity arose to join the team and I gladly accepted.

What will you be teaching?

I will be teaching the new 24-week Front-End Engineering software development course on the Dallas campus. (Apply here)

What is the one thing you want potential students to know about your teaching style?

The one thing I want potential students to understand about my teaching style is I focus on teaching you how to teach yourself. 90% of programmers are self-taught, not because they didn’t learn enough in school, but because demands of programmer grow so fast, you have to learn how to learn.

What is the most important lesson you teach in your course?

The most important lesson is in week 4 when you start writing JavaScript. JavaScript is programming language of the web browser, the fastest growing and most versatile language. Besides learning how to market yourself after graduation, developing a strong foundation in JavaScript will ensure you accelerate your career objectives.

What else should we know about you?

I have many hobbies which include climbing stairs, basketball, baking, writing and traveling. I have many dimensions, because of my diverse upbringing and travels. At the end of the day, I am motivated by the energy of people and what we can do collectively.

Meet Douglas Hirsh

What is your professional background?
I have 16 years of backend and frontend professional development experience. Most of that experience is in C# on the .Net platform. I have also worked on projects that use Java, Ruby on Rails, and NodeJS. Additionally, I have done work on the frontend. In the past, I have worked for companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 50.

Why/how did you land at The Iron Yard?
In my career, I have worked on all sorts of projects, but I wanted to try something different that would help others. I have talked about going into teaching for a long time, but I just never had the time. I saw a tweet from an instructor saying they needed another instructor in Dallas. I jumped at the opportunity.

What is the one thing you want potential students to know about your teaching style?
I like to give the students plenty of exercises to improve their understanding of the material we are covering. The fastest way to learn how to develop software is by writing more and more code.

What is the most important lesson you teach in your course?
Learning how to think like a developer is one of the most important skills you will learn. Once you learn that, then any language or tool is within reach.

What else should we know about you?
I started writing code when I was 12. I have a passion for software development. When I am not writing software I enjoy spending time with my wife and two children.

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