Recently, we caught up with AIM Code School grad Zack Smith, an App Support Specialist at LTi Technology Solutions. Smith took our Foundations of Web Development course shortly after moving to Omaha. The class opened doors for him: he enjoyed being able to express his creativity while learning new technical skills and building his professional network. Highly recommending AIM Code School to anyone thinking about a career in technology, Smith gave some enthusiastic and insightful responses to our questions.
What made you want to go to AIM Code School?
To me, AIM Code School was an awesome opportunity to learn more about web development and how the web works. I spent a lot of time before AIM Code School looking into traditional college courses, but the curriculum never matched what I wanted personally. AIM Code School sounded like a great alternative, and an awesome way to work with peers towards the same goal. On top of that, the teachers at AIM Code School are amazing and work as professionals in this industry. It’s the perfect setup to meet other tech students and tech professionals and build camaraderie. Beyond that, I come from a creative background and was looking for something to integrate that side of my work into coding. I knew AIM Code School’s ability to work closely with students would help me succeed in this aspect as well.
How was your experience in the Foundations class?
My experience in the Foundations class was AWESOME. Our whole class came together very well, and we were able to bounce a lot of creative ideas off of each other. It was great to work in a group that had a common goal: learning how to develop websites. On top of that we had an amazing teacher who was very responsive to our ideas and provided outstanding feedback on how to grow as a developer. For me personally, I had a lot of opportunity to bring my own ideas to the table, developing and designing artistically pleasing websites. Mr. Burk helped me with any and all questions I had and was always suggesting creative ways to improve and polish my sites. We spent a lot of time focusing on very important aspects of development and what makes a good website “good.” If I had to rate this class on a scale of 1-10, I would definitely say—without hesitation—10!
What was hardest about it?
The hardest thing about the Foundations class was also the BEST thing about the Foundations class: exceeding what you believe you are capable of. I learned way more than I expected in this class going in. Web Development goes deep and in this short timeframe there is a lot to learn. All of the tools are there, though—don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions to your teacher and peers, because that is the best way to learn.
How did AIM Code School affect your life and career?
AIM Code School definitely affected both my life and career in a very positive way. I was new to Omaha and wasn’t very well integrated into the city. I had taken a couple college classes but still felt like an outsider looking in. Going to AIM Code School changed this entirely. Through the class I’ve made a lot of new, great connections and feel like I’m at home. Beyond class, I had the chance to attend a lot of cool tech meetups and expand my social network.
As far as my career goes, I’ve made great strides since my AIM Code School education. I know a lot more now about how the web works and the basics of web development. This knowledge and way of thinking have positively impacted other aspects of the way I work as well. It helped me build upon skills I already had and add creative and technical thinking to my work. On top of that, many employers have taken note of AIM Code School being on my resume and have asked about my education specifically. They are aware of how many great students are coming from the school, and know that we are solid hires.
What are you doing now? Do you enjoy it?
Right now I am an App Support Specialist at LTi Technology Solutions. It’s a great job and my education from AIM Code School has definitely helped me succeed in this position. Every day I’m faced with new technical challenges and am using the same tools and mindset I used in class. I learn something new every day as well. I’m very happy with my current position and look forward to seeing how far it can take me / where I can go from here.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about making the change to a career in technology?
I’d say if you are considering a career change into technology, DO IT—and do it now. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” And my recommendation is: start at AIM Code School!