I used to teach elementary school, now I work at GitHub

I used to teach elementary school, now I work at GitHub
0

#1

Hi freeCodeCamp!

My name’s Briana. You might have seen some of my videos on freeCodeCamp’s YouTube channel about basic computer science concepts or Git and GitHub. I used to be an elementary school music teacher, but freeCodeCamp helped me get a job at GitHub as a trainer.

I’m a strong believer that people who change careers into Tech are in a strong position for roles that aren’t necessarily development jobs. For example, my teaching experience made me a great fit for my role at GitHub now.

Lots of people here are focused strictly on being developers, so could you talk a bit about the other types of roles you’ve seen?

At GitHub, everything is somewhat related to code, obviously. Most people have some development skills and background, even if they aren’t developers. For example, the team I work on is called “Professional Services”. We work with existing GitHub customers (usually big companies) to help them out with using GitHub. Leaning about how to code on freeCodeCamp, along with the core concepts and history of computer science gives me the context I need to understand what the customers are going through so I can figure out the best way to help them. My other skills from teaching wouldn’t really be as useful in a strictly development position, but the skills from coding wouldn’t really be useful as a music teacher.

There are other positions on my team, like the operations team members, who are super organized and driven, and spend a lot of time talking with customers. They help the customers decide what services they need, and get all of the paperwork in order through tough teams like legal and procurement. That’s a totally different skill set than I have. They also need technical experience, so that they can understand what customers are talking about and give the right advice when choosing services.

When I first started learning to code, I wanted to find a blended position like this, but I felt it would be impossible. I felt I would need to start in a development position to “prove my chops” since I was coming from such a different field. I don’t think I was wrong, and preparing for the hardest jobs I could think of made me extra prepared for the right position when it came along.

Have any of your coworkers brought skills from other careers?

Yes. Actually, the majority of people on my team have non-traditional backgrounds. Several of us were teachers, some were in instructional design, some were english majors, some were military, some were psychology majors… there’s value to be added from different background and experiences.

Besides, everything in tech is changing so rapidly anyway, it’s only going to be a good fit for someone who is willing to constantly learn. Being able to show that you are a self-driven learner who can get things done is so powerful.

Do you have any tips for anyone who has a work history outside of tech trying to get a job?

Take yourself seriously. I was worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously because of my background. I studied that much harder and drove down on the little details, because I knew that they were important. I didn’t let the voice of “you can’t do that, you’re just a music teacher”, or “they won’t expect you to know that” to be louder than the voice of “you can do this, you’re smart, keep going”.


#2

Hi, I liked you in FCC videos, you do have talent for teaching.

Congratulations on your new job :slight_smile:


#3

Congratulations, @brianamarie! :clap:


#4

Awesome job on starting your career at GitHub. They run an great service :smiley:


#5

This kills me because I’m not a natural party-pooper, but we can’t allow job postings on the forum. :frowning:


#6

Really? Why not? I’m sure there’s a good reason, but I thought that was the goal of fcc: to get a job. Posting jobs just lands users closer to that goal. Seems counterproductive.


#7

At any rate, congrats on the new job!! Sounds like an awesome opportunity. That platform plays a crucial role for a ton of developers so I hope you do great work!


#8

It’s not that there’s any objection to campers sharing job opportunities with each other, but just that this isn’t the right place for it. The forum is highly susceptible to spam, especially from ne’er do well recruiters. But we also want to keep the forum a place where people can easily ask and search for answers to their problems or discuss issues surrounding the job hunt. Job postings just duplicate the functionality of establish job board sites while making it a bit harder to find the stuff we want people to come here for, not to mention that these jobs may not be entirely on the level and we don’t want desperate campers getting sucked into a bad situation. The general policy has just been to keep job opportunities off of the forum.

Most of the time, this means mods are removing really sketchy links and hiding posts. In this case, it’s a core contributor and super helpful fellow camper who’s posting legit work opportunities. We’ll discuss the policy internally and, if anything changes, bring back the links.

I do feel bad, if it helps.


#9

No worries - I totally understand and I’m sorry for breaking the rules!


#10

Can I delete this post?


#11

Thanks for the response. That definitely makes sense. I noticed a lot of spam today.

Hopefully you guys decide to allow them, and potentially another FreeCodeCamper can obtain their success story!


#12

I don’t think you can delete your own post.


#13

I can delete it for you if you really want, but you’ve shared valuable insights about changing careers. Lots of people here are worried about being technically inadequate but have career experience elsewhere. Would you have the time to expand on your original post a bit? Lots of people here are focused strictly on being developers, so could you talk a bit about the other types of roles you’ve seen? Have any of your coworkers brought skills from other careers? Do you have any tips for anyone who has a work history outside of tech trying to get a job? I’m sure you have a lot to contribute and many folks here would love to hear it all.


#14

I admit I turned a blind eye in Briana’s case because…well, she’s been a real, active camper longer than I have, and she’s one of the canonical success stories of a teacher who switched careers (so in that regard something of a role model to me!!!)

So, yeah, it goes against the Code of Conduct, but also…it’s not like Briana is only here to spruik the job or get cheap labour, nor is she a recruiter - she’s just a real camper posting an opportunity she knows about.

That’s why I turned a blind eye, at least :slight_smile:


#15

Absolutely! :heart:

Lots of people here are focused strictly on being developers, so could you talk a bit about the other types of roles you’ve seen?

At GitHub, everything is somewhat related to code, obviously. Most people have some development skills and background, even if they aren’t developers. For example, the team I work on is called “Professional Services”. We work with existing GitHub customers (usually big companies) to help them out with using GitHub. Leaning about how to code on freeCodeCamp, along with the core concepts and history of computer science gives me the context I need to understand what the customers are going through so I can figure out the best way to help them. My other skills from teaching wouldn’t really be as useful in a strictly development position, but the skills from coding wouldn’t really be useful as a music teacher.

There are other positions on my team, like the operations team members, who are super organized and driven, and spend a lot of time talking with customers. They help the customers decide what services they need, and get all of the paperwork in order through tough teams like legal and procurement. That’s a totally different skill set than I have. They also need technical experience, so that they can understand what customers are talking about and give the right advice when choosing services.

When I first started learning to code, I wanted to find a blended position like this, but I felt it would be impossible. I felt I would need to start in a development position to “prove my chops” since I was coming from such a different field. I don’t think I was wrong, and preparing for the hardest jobs I could think of made me extra prepared for the right position when it came along.

Have any of your coworkers brought skills from other careers?

Yes. Actually, the majority of people on my team have non-traditional backgrounds. Several of us were teachers, some were in instructional design, some were english majors, some were military, some were psychology majors… there’s value to be added from different background and experiences.

Besides, everything in tech is changing so rapidly anyway, it’s only going to be a good fit for someone who is willing to constantly learn. Being able to show that you are a self-driven learner who can get things done is so powerful.

Do you have any tips for anyone who has a work history outside of tech trying to get a job?

Take yourself seriously. I was worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously because of my background. I studied that much harder and drove down on the little details, because I knew that they were important. I didn’t let the voice of “you can’t do that, you’re just a music teacher”, or “they won’t expect you to know that” to be louder than the voice of “you can do this, you’re smart, keep going”.


#17

Hi Briana, thanks for sharing your insights! I’ve copied these details from this follow-up comment and pasted them up in your original post

It’s always an honor to have you come visit the forum. I know a lot of campers look up to you and have found much inspiration in your transition from teacher to developer!


#18

Hi Briana,

You’re doing an excellent job and your experience in teaching–getting people to learn–shows. In other words, where people “present” or “display” knowledge, you seem to “transfer” or “establish” or “root” it or “convey” it.

My daughter is a software engineer in the bay area for Nutanix which seems to be an awesome company to work for. She programs in javascript. I got into javascript in an esupport project for PeopleSoft based on Motive technology back in the late 1990s.

One thing that bugs me is something you mentioned in one of the videos right after your MDN video, and that is the use of the terms “method” and “function”. And you also made it clear that javascript does not use those two words in the same way the rest of the object oriented community uses them. And I have to admit that drives me a little nuts–not what you said, but the fact that the javascript community uses those terms this way. But I have seen clashes in uses of terms in IT before.

For example, in the relational database and non-relational database community and in some programming languages, the term “record” is used entirely differently. For some, it refers to a row in a database. For others, it refers to a layout of data in memory akin to a “type” in C. Or in some situations it could refer to a complete database.

And that is another term that enjoys its own particular set of clashes. In SQL, a database could involve a whole set of tables. In Chronicles–a database system built on mumps or “Intersystems Cache” for Epic, a database is sort of like a table or perhaps more like a bunch of clustered tables for Oracle where fields can be multi-lined or sort of like a table in a table.

And changing the name of the language to “Cache” provides a whole 'nuther level of confusion. In a job interview, a hiring manager might ask, “Do you know Cache?” The candidate might answer, "Oh, yes. There’s memcached, and for PHP, there is the APC cache now built into the language, and there’s Varnish, and there are browser cache’s and database caches, and PeopleSoft’s internal programs that run inside it’s Tuxedo based application server give you a choice whether to share their psappserve caches or fire them up as needed. There are CPU caches and the whole cache consistency issue in multi-processor systems and multiple levels of caching and database caches such as one might find in the SGA of an Oracle database or any database really. There are caches on disk controllers, ooooh and if you consider hybrid disks that combine SSDs and physical disks and SANs and NASes and cloud setups, and caches in applications such as Wordpress or Drupal.

No. In this case, it’s a language. A language for cacheing? No. Well, not really. Well, sort of. It’s for a really fast OLTP database. OLTP. Abbreviations. There is another source of collisions.

Not only does Schroedinger’s cat have a confusing state being simultaneously dead and alive, but Information technology terminology conflicts would make that seem normal.

Best wishes in your teachings, and you’re doing an awesome job.

Dan