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From bootcamp grad, to educator, to software developer

Hack Reactor

Trent Going

For years, Trent Going was immersed in an immersive learning environment. After graduating from our software engineering bootcamp in 2017, he joined our team at Hack Reactor to work on software development projects before eventually accepting a role on the bootcamp instructional team. 

He’d never imagined himself as an educator, but the opportunity to guide and remain close to the energy that reverberates off of aspiring software engineers was too enticing to pass up. That same desire to be around passionate learners recently inspired Trent to enroll in our Algorithms + Data Structures professional development course. Entering the 6-week course, he had two goals in mind: to continue learning on a personal level, gaining a deeper understanding of his craft; and to continue learning in order to become an even better instructor.

“In the immersive, we covered the fundamentals as opposed to a deep dive considering algorithms and algorithmic thinking in a holistic sense,” said Trent. “I wanted to see how what I teach as part of the immersive would fit into this greater understanding or more nuanced approach to algorithms.”

According to Trent, the course enabled him to gain a better perspective on how to approach algorithms and provided increased familiarity with established patterns in solving them.

“I feel like I could approach any algorithm I'm asked to with a much more mature understanding having gone through this course,” he said. 

In addition to the material covered, the very existence of the course was intriguing to Trent. In general, he knows first-hand that a bootcamp grad’s opportunities for continued education are sparse as they begin their careers. 

“It’s exciting to know that this bootcamp community, which upskills a whole bunch of motivated people, has now been extended and offers people further in their careers opportunities to keep learning,” he said. 

But as an educator, he was curious how this sort of continued education would look and feel, especially when compared to the bootcamp format. For example, he wondered, how do you set expectations when people are coming into the course from various fields and with various levels of experience? In the bootcamp, everyone has the same end goal: a job. In these professional development courses, what was the goal?

“I wanted to know how they’d balance the course so that everyone, with all their different expectations, still gains or benefits from it,” he said, before explaining how it worked in practice: “The course was set up in a way that was flexible so it could meet everyone's needs, and it was neat to see the team adapt to target the course toward the enrolled students, responding to what they were looking to gain from it.” 

He applied what he gained from the course to his immersive teaching, and he’ll now apply it at Blue Apron, where he recently accepted a job as a Software Developer. For Trent, the timing was right to leave the immersive education environment in order to gain more experience on the applied side of the software engineering field. 

“While I've spent the last few years teaching others what I know, I'm excited to continue learning by getting back into the industry,” he said. “In practice, there is always something unexpected, a new experience that stretches beyond what I might know in theory.” 

As his career continues, Trent says he considers professional development courses as a path to learn in the communal way he enjoys most. 

“In this industry, there's a lot of self-teaching you can do. But that always has a cap, where if you're learning alone, if you're not learning with other people, and if you're not learning directly from someone who has a vision of what you need to know by the time the course is over, you could potentially spend time learning things that take you off on a tangent,” he said. “I would encourage anyone who is looking to grow...to ask what skills would enable them to do that, and then to check whether there are courses that can support and enable that.” 

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Our bootcamp alumni come from many different professional backgrounds and go on to work in a variety of industries. As another example, read Stephanye Blakely's story here and learn how her love for gaming led her to software engineering.