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From Student to Staff: Meet the Experience Engineers Part II

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the first installment of our “Meet the EEs” series, we heard from our superstar Experience Engineers Amanda and Jenah about what they love about being mentors at Launch Academy. Both approach mentoring with a trial-and-error mentality, and love watching students progress throughout each cohort.

In this edition, we meet Nick and Mike. They both emphasize the unique teaching and learning process as a huge strength at Launch. Like Amanda and Jenah, neither Nick nor Mike came  from tech-related backgrounds, but they’re thriving as developers and mentors. Read on for more on why Nick and Mike love their roles as EEs.

Name: Nick Alberts

Cohort: Boston 12

Life before Launch: Nick worked in higher education as a Career Coordinator at Dartmouth College before enrolling at Launch.

As a student at Launch, Nick knew immediately that he wanted to join the staff after graduation. “On day one of my cohort, I raised my hand and let everyone know I wanted to be an EE,” he reminisces.

Nick continues to bring that same enthusiasm to his mentoring approach. “I like to meet with my mentor group each morning and joke around, loosen everyone up, and set expectations for the day and week ahead.” Preparation is also a key factor in the Launch curriculum, “students don’t just jump into code,” and students are sent home with reading and homework each night.

Even now, as a professional developer, Nick continues to learn and teach himself. The biggest surprise he’s encountered? The amount of communication around programming. “This is not a profession in which we shut ourselves off in a cubicle,” he says. “As you work on a team of developers, you will also need to consistently communicate with staff members who aren’t devs. We need to be able to communicate programming ideas in a way that makes sense to the rest of the company.”

One of the most important lessons that Launchers must learn is communicating about code with others. “Talking about code is tricky, and can sometimes be as difficult as coding itself,” says Nick. “Being able to explain your thought process and talk about the code you have written is particularly important when trying to land a job.”

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Nick’s advice for his students? Don’t expect everything to click at once. “I often say, if you come out of doing the readings with 50 percent comprehension, that’s okay. It can take a while for the material to sink, especially if you haven’t applied it in your own code yet,” he says. “Every week we continue to iterate over concepts we have learned, increasing comprehension and understanding of materials over time.”

Seeing the end results of each cohort is rewarding for every EE. “We see them struggle over the course of ten weeks and then get to see everything culminate in comprehensive applications by the end of the cohort,” says Nick. “We get to see the moments when it all clicks.”

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