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Get to know your Web Developer Instructor

Xccelerate HK
August 3, 2021
Last updated on
June 14, 2024

Here's what it takes to be a Web Developer instructor - Sam O'Shaughnessy

“I am also able to talk to and coach students that may find the whole experience a bit overwhelming.” - Sam O'Shaughnessy - Software Engineer Instructor

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I graduated from the University of Kent with a BA in History. Following some time in food and beverage management, I decided to get into teaching. At first, I taught English to non-English speakers. Unfortunately, I became disillusioned with the company I was working for as the business model was about money and not about student outcomes. This was reinforced when I looked at the support materials provided to the students and instructors which just wasn't up to the standard need. This experience had a profound impact on me.  Not only did I learn to be patient and supportive when dealing with people from diverse backgrounds, I realised that making an impact was important to me.

From here I decided to branch out and join a coding bootcamp where I learned the basics of coding.  Through practice and dedication, I have developed my acumen in the language of JavaScript. My memory and analytical skills that I acquired during my formative education allowed me to learn quickly. I found myself assisting other students in the cohort to learn the course material.  

Later, I was invited by the Xccelerate team to formally assist with the learning experience within the Cohort. This is where my affection for teaching grew, helping students go from no knowledge to developing full applications is extremely rewarding and fulfilling.  Having learned at a coding bootcamp I know the pitfalls of prerequisite knowledge, this knowledge enables me to help prepare students for their best shot at success, before, during and after the Bootcamp.

After a while, the team at Xccelerate asked me to lead the instruction of the Software Engineering Bootcamp.  Initially, I was hesitant, but then I embraced the opportunity.  At times I have been criticised by our competitors for not having enough real-world experience to be in this role, however, this has actually made me better as I work with our industry partners to ensure that our students are working on real-world projects and that we are delivering a course syllabus that aligns with what employers are looking for.  With this in mind, having experienced the intense nature of the bootcamp I am also able to talk to and coach students that may find the whole experience a bit overwhelming.

Why us? Why do you choose to work at Xccelerate?

Helping people succeed, finding them jobs and helping them to successfully switch careers brings me a sense of accomplishment, as I am changing people's lives for the better. At Xccelerate I get to exactly that.   By aiding my students to go from zero experience to having many job opportunities, I became truly empowered which led me to pursue this lead instructor role at Xccelerate. Not only this but the environment at Xccelerate pushes all employees to reach their full potential which is a brilliant factor in any working environment. As you are always developing your personal skills so that we can become our best next selves.

Read Also: Why are Software Engineers So Important to Hong Kong?

What excites you the most about your job?

Students, students, students! As much as the culture of Xccelerate is fantastic, students and their work excite me the most. I really enjoy facilitating students' learning. The lectures are pretty awesome as I get to share important information and patterns that these students will use for the rest of their careers. Helping students with their issues and projects also leaves me with a great sense of achievement. Connecting students to real-world clients for their capstone projects and watching them grow is immensely rewarding.

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Take us through what a student can expect if they were to experience full-stack Web Developer/Coding bootcamp

Well, a student who comes through our course generally has little to no knowledge of coding. Xccelerate’s full-time Full-stack Web Development bootcamp is intensive.  In the morning we begin the day with morning lectures, followed by exercises and project work. We encourage the students to think of the Bootcamp as a job.  We have lots of daily deliverables and challenges that the students need to overcome. We aim to prepare students for easy job integration by the end of the course, thus focusing a lot on collaboration and group work. By the end of the course the students should be able to work well in teams and develop applications using all the knowledge and skills gained throughout the Bootcamp. Most importantly, we ensure that our students can communicate to both technically minded individuals and non-technical alike, leading them onto jobs!

Who or what inspires you the most in your life’s journey?

My family - we have always been there for one another, in good times and bad. Though we may not always agree, we ensure that we can all continue to thrive in our jobs and lives. My parents specifically have always guided me in the correct direction, which has encouraged and led me to offer the same type of dedication and assistance to my students. My family experiences have taught me to be a better person - always support and help those who I can.

Sam's Favorite Quote:

"Do something today that your future self will thank you for. OR If the plan doesn’t work, alter the plan, but never the goal."

Read Also: 2021 Career Guide: Software Engineering in Hong Kong

What his students say

“You can quickly learn how to be a web developer in about 4 months. At the same time, learn how to think and solve problems with programming thinking. In this process, you will learn how to find, analyze and solve problems by yourself. This is a very important mode for web developers.” - 2021 Web Development Alumni

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