Caution to reader: this blog post is 3 months or older. Blog posts older than three months may contain details about the Hack Reactor program that are no longer accurate. Please refer to other pages on our website to confirm current information and email us with questions.
Fred Zirdung, one of our main lecturers, integrates the philosophy of rapid iteration into his teaching practice on a daily basis. Through constant refinement of his craft, Zirdung has built himself into an expert educator, who is very popular with students. Zirdung teaches students to look beyond what their code does and to examine how it is composed.
“A lot of what we teach here are fundamentals that can apply to many technologies,” Zirdung explains. “While we teach specific technologies, our aim is to develop the right thinking so that graduates can be successful for the rest of their careers.”
Zirdung’s role balances the holistic and the specific, the near-term and career-long. In addition to articulating fundamental coding principles, he keeps an eye on the market so that he knows what technologies are most in demand. In both cases, however, Zirdung guides students toward certain ideals.
“I focus on beautiful, elegant code and clear reasoning,” says Zirdung. “Beautiful, elegant code is hard to quantify; code that exemplifies simplicity, clear line of reasoning. I also like simplicity and beauty in design as well. Not just the innards of the code, but also what the user sees.”
His approach has made him well-liked with students.
“One thing I love about Fred's teaching style is that he is super open to feedback and implements suggestions quickly,” says student Lauren McDonnell. “For example, I told him that I often have ‘aha!’ moments when someone provides an awesome analogy comparing some abstract Computer Science concept to something else I already understand. At the next lecture he used a great one.”
“We direct program changes based on student feedback, always iterating and improving the program,” he explains.
Through many cycles teaching our curriculum, Zirdung has gained a general sense of how our lessons steadily grow to further meet the needs of our students.
“In a very broad sense, the thing I’ve learned most is that it’s more about the journey than the specifics,” he notes. “It’s an ongoing conversation that we have as a community of students and educators in order to achieve the right outcomes.”
On days off, Zirdung likes to go hiking with his dogs, Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Onassis.
Want to experience a program that has been steadily improving for two years? Apply to our immersive program, onsite or online, today.