DigitalCrafts instrcutor Jose Tollinchi’s interest in technology began when he was a young child. As a kid he would tinker with electronic devices, fascinated by how they worked and what they could do. “They couldn’t give me anything battery operated because I would take it apart,” he reminisces. So it was unsurprising when he became an electronic technician in the military, working on hardware for machines we now consider relics like the teletype, a machine that predated the fax.
When Jose retired from the military in 2011, he started a career in program management and business intelligence. It was in this role that he learned about tools like Power BI and SQL, and studied them to aid in his career. As he started to learn SQL, his interest peaked and he knew this was just the beginning of his journey learning coding languages.
While spending hours teaching himself C++, he simultaneously searched for a coding bootcamp where he could get support on his journey. When learning independently he would occasionally hit walls and have to take long breaks to recover from burnout. However, when he started as a student at DigitalCrafts, learning became a much more collaborative process. “No matter how burnt out I was, I was a part of a team. We were a part of a team,” he notes. Although the material was still difficult, he now had classmates to encourage and support him. After class, him and some of the other veterans would get together and study. “It was refreshing working with a team, being able to bounce ideas off of other people,” states Jose.
In addition to his long technical career, Jose has been teaching for 17 years. First as an instructor in the military, then as an adjunct faculty member, teaching business courses at Park University.
As a DigitalCrafts graduate himself, he can identify with the learning needs and unique challenges of his students' experience. “That experience helped me become a better teacher because if I understand the struggle the students are going through, having gone through it myself,” he asserts. “If I tell them ‘You can do this,’ then I know for a fact they can and they can see the sincerity.”
A core part of his teaching philosophy is that he’s always willing to learn and he’s always asking students for feedback on his teaching style. Each cohort is different and he wants to ensure he’s teaching effectively for their learning styles. “We’re a team and we’re learning together,” he says. In his class students can also expect to have fun and laugh because he prides himself on being approachable with his students. He wants them to ask lots of questions and stay encouraged and he achieves that by building a rapport.
Another way Jose can relate to current DC students is that he’s also a career switcher. He started coding later in life. Many students may feel like it’s too late to start a new career or learn to code but he’s proof that isn’t the case. “When you’re my age and you want to change careers, it’s not easy. It feels like you’re resetting but you’re really not because you have a lot of valuable experience you can use.” He encourages students not to consider their tech careers as starting over but to think about how all of their previous experience will contribute to making them the developer they’ll become.
In the web development bootcamp, students will study HTML, CSS Bootstrap, DOM Manipulation, Express, SQL, and React. In addition, they’ll work on several projects that they can use to build their portfolio. Upon graduation, students can be prepared to pursue an entry level career path in web development.