When I met Tom Newbold he was enjoying life as a math teacher at an elementary school in Guernsey, the Channel Islands. Life was good, but he wanted to make a jump into a programming career. He had strong analytical ability but no training in any engineering or programming disciplines. Our paths crossed when he signed up for a "Fullstack Web Development" course at Bloc.io, where I working as a mentor.
Bloc provides a world-class curriculum, but everyone knows that teaching oneself anything without some sort of support can be an uphill battle that is rarely won. Therefore Bloc provides mentors to help students cover the ground between absolute beginner and junior level web developer. And so this is just how I met Thomas and I began mentoring him on his journey to an entry level position.
"After just a few short discussions with Michael over email and Skype, I knew that he had the type of personality that could make anyone feel relaxed around him, an important factor when beginning a mentor/student relationship that was bound to hit some learning hurdles in the months to come." —Tom Newbold
As I mentioned, Tom was skilled with logic, but many of the abstract concepts that form foundation for web development technologies are tough to reason about without explanation. Using my own creativity and communication skill, I was able to deftly explain concepts such as object oriented programming, MVC, and databases. Tom quickly picked up the ideas that I was conveying. When an exceptionally difficult challenge came across I was able to use the exercises and demonstrations that I had developed by mentoring over 60 other apprentices throughout the course of my time with Bloc.
The combination of Tom's hard work, Bloc's curriculum and my own ability to break down and explain complex technical concepts, Tom was able to impress his future employer and earn himself a junior developer position about halfway through completing his Bloc course. He has successfully made a career switch and it took him less than a year to obtain the necessary skills to do so. Working with talented apprentices like Tom has been a major highlight of my programming career thus far.
"In addition, Michael gave time above and beyond what I expected from a Bloc mentor, proving quick and effective feedback on projects and other work throughout my course."