Have you heard of a Teaching Fellowship? After graduating from a coding bootcamp, some alumni stick around to help teach new students and improve their own coding skills, before starting the job hunt. We asked Fullstack Academy graduate Marshall Zobel how he got his coveted role as a Fullstack Fellow, what the role involves, and how the fellowship is helping him build relevant experience to land a job as a software developer in future. Marshall also busts a couple of myths we’ve heard about teaching fellows!
Name: Marshall Zobel
Background: Consultant in Washington DC
Graduated: May 2018 from Fullstack Academy in New York, NY
His Job: Fullstack Fellow
Mark of Success: Improving his programming fluency and interviewing skills
Why Fullstack Academy?
- He identified with Fullstack Academy’s “No asshole policy”
- He received a $2000 scholarship
What exactly is a teaching fellow?
- At Fullstack Academy, the fellowship is:
- 13 weeks long
- Selective - graduates have to interview to become teaching fellows
- The purpose of a fellow is not to replace instructors, but be a teacher assistant
- Teaching Fellow responsibilities:
- Helping students and assisting instructors
- Conducting technical interviews for prospective students
- Working on actual code for Fullstack’s learning platform called Learndot
- Emotional support and mentoring for students
Myth Busting: Teaching Fellowships
Myth 1: Students become teaching fellows because they can’t get a developer job
- Busted: The fellowship is a selective program, students have interview for the job, and must really want to become fellows
- Marshall saw the calibre of students who were fellows while he was a student, and has seen fellows go on to secure cool jobs after the fellowship.
Myth 2: Fullstack is inflating hiring stats by hiring their own students
Busted: Fellows don’t technically graduate until they finish the fellowship. When they secure a job after the fellowship, they are then included in Fullstack’s hiring stats.
- Busted: Fellows don’t technically graduate until they finish the fellowship. When they secure a job after the fellowship, they are then included in Fullstack’s hiring stats.
How do Fullstack students benefit from teaching fellows?
- In college Marshall was an orientation aid for new students – he likes being part of this transitional moment for students
- “Having only recently learned how to code myself, I understand where the students are coming from and what they are experiencing as they go through the program.”
What's the benefit for teaching fellows?
- Fellows have downtime to work on personal project, update their resumes and Linked Ins, put their names forward for jobs, and jumpstart the job search
- Marshall worked on his portfolio website and says “It’s important to have a portfolio because it’s a showcase of what you can do for employers. Employers like to see candidates who have built stuff, who have solved real problems, and who are comfortable exploring technologies.”
- Marshall continued working on his capstone project, an augmented reality game, while he was a fellow.
- Working on Fullstack’s dedicated teaching program, Learndot, gave Marshall experience:
- working on a production level code base
- working in a professional environment before professional world
- working alongside instructors and Fullstack’s head of engineering.
How does the fellowship better prepare fellows for their first developer job?
- Marshall has improved his ability articulate technical concepts, and debug code because a lot of his job is stepping in on student help tickets, immediately recognizing and figuring out what student was trying to do, and getting them back on track. This is useful because:
- In professional environment, he will have to get used to a new codebase, and get acquainted to be able to contributie
- “Being on interviewer side of things and having to guide an interviewee toward a technical solution, gives me a lot more confidence heading into job interviews.”
Was being a Fullstack Fellow worth it?
- “I definitely think a coding bootcamp, as well as the fellowship is a worthwhile experience.”
- “It would have taken me a really long time to get to this point on my own.”
- “There is a lot of thought that goes into the curriculum and technologies - React, Redux, Node.JS. I know these technologies are in demand.”
- There are a lot of professional benefits from being a Fellow:
- Working on personal projects
- Working on Fullstack’s teaching platform
- Becoming more fluent technically
- Introduced to tech meetup scene and prepared for job search process
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