devCodeCamp Lead Instructor JJ Vega and the Power of Teaching Code

Meet devCodeCamp Lead Instructor, JJ Vega

My journey as an instructor began almost two years ago when I was first invited to be a part of the team of instructors here at devCodeCamp. Before that, I was applying my hard technical skills with the company I worked for at the time filling two roles. One being the administrator for the platform that was used as a Customer Relationship Manager. The other being the Head of Digital Marketing, where I managed and built new features for the company’s web site. I’ve been coaching, mentoring, and teaching in some capacity for almost 20 years now professionally. I am also a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, where I served during Operation Enduring Freedom and got my first real taste of training people to learn new skills and overcome personal obstacles.

The Three Main Things Coding Does for Me

My love for coding began a long time ago when I wrote my first lines of HTML and CSS to structure and style a web page. I had always enjoyed computers and had built a handful of them with friends of mine growing up. I loved the experience of turning my thoughts into instructions that a computer could take and instantly follow to produce a result. I thought that was really cool, fun, and creative — even at a young age.

Eventually, I became a student of devCodeCamp myself. I had been self-teaching the skill of coding up until that point using a variety of resources, but found that I needed structure and accountability to take my learning to the next level. The experience was life-changing and remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. It also helped me fall deeper in love with coding and problem solving.

Coding ticks three primary boxes for me:

  1. Coding is a craft. It is an art and a science at the same time. It invites mastery. There is something very satisfying about growing your skills daily in something as useful as writing code and developing software and seeing that skill make a real impact on the lives of others as they use it.
  2. Coding invites flow. When I write code and work on complex problems, time seems to fall away entirely. I am totally absorbed in what I am doing and this creates a feeling of fulfillment and peace that I rarely find in other activities.
  3. Coding is communal. Of course, you can write code by yourself. But I love collaborating with other creative minds and combining those unique perspectives to create a powerful solution I could have never found on my own. I love knowing that if I am stuck on a problem, there is almost always someone out there who has faced the same thing. All software developers I’ve met so far are among the brightest and kindest people I have ever met. It’s a great community to grow in.

Teaching How to Code Is to Learn and Serve

When I was offered the chance to come on board as one of devCodeCamp’s instructors, I couldn’t say no. I’ve always had a heart for helping others and serving. Which is a value that has been with me my whole life but really bloomed when serving as a Physical Trainer for the United States Air Force. As a devCodeCamp student, I came to realize that going through the intense bootcamp process and learning to code is very similar to being trained to pass a Physical Training test (which all Airmen in the Air Force needed to pass each year to maintain good standing.) You are breaking down a person to build them back up into someone more courageous, more skilled, and more confident. Getting to participate in that process has been (and continues to be) a feeling of calling and not just a job I clock in and out of every day.

In addition to walking with students as they grow by learning to code, I also learn so much more than I teach. In fact, if I could give anyone a piece of advice when trying to learn a hard skill, I would say this: teach that skill to someone else. Having to articulate something complex to someone who is brand new is one of the best ways to increase your own understanding of the subject. It’s an amazing experience to receive that gift as I help others learn a skill that could change their lives forever.

My Hope for Students

Often, when I ask students why they signed up for the course, they will talk about the most appealing aspects of learning to code — how it can lead to a lucrative career with a lot of opportunities. Those things are true. The tech field is ripe with possibility, and the skill of coding will always be in demand.

My hope for students as they embark on this journey is that they find so much more than just the material gains and rewards that it can offer. I hope that they find a fulfilling craft that enriches them while it benefits others. I hope they lose themselves to the process of solving problems and forget the passage of time. I hope they connect with others and enjoy being in a creative community. More than anything, I hope they are inspired to give back and teach what they know to build up those around them. Coding can offer all of this and much more.

If you are ready to experience the devCodeCamp coding bootcamp difference firsthand, then we are excited to help you take that first step towards a career in coding and data! Our online bootcamp courses are crafted around you becoming the most successful you can be in weeks, not years. Reach out now to learn more!