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By: David DiPanfilo

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March 28th, 2017

The Intersection of Teaching, Coding, and Consulting at Stride

Teams

“How many people here have teaching experience?” our CEO Debbie Madden asked the group of software developers at my first Stride off-site last week. Over 90% of hands in the room shot up. A former Teach For America Corps Member myself, I wasn’t surprised to find myself surrounded by teachers, as Stride takes great care in its recruiting process to ensure that it not only hires talented developers but also effective communicators.

Stride begins its interview process with a phone screen to get to know candidates beyond the résumé and application. As a teacher, building relationships was fundamental to me and my students’ success. Since Stride is a software development consultancy that works on client sites, I noticed it also emphasizes relationships throughout the interview process. When I reached out to a current Strider on my own, he asked that we get lunch in-person. I was in another state for the holidays, so the company quickly put me in touch with someone to get coffee upon my return. This commitment to face time and developing relationships stood out.

Next, I completed a code challenge, following Stride’s advice. Teaching showed me how important it is to consider the end-user’s experience. No matter how well I could solve linear equations, it meant nothing if I could not show my students how to do the same. Since software consultants work with clients to build features and improve teams, the company screens for this same concept in its code challenge, ensuring that applicants are thinking about the person who is going to be utilizing and grading their code. One must ensure that his/her submission instructs a user how to run tests, implements the designated features, and consists of readable, well-structured code.

Finally, I had an on-site interview with Stride. Just like an excellent teacher would do, Stride provided me with rubric-based feedback on the code challenge. Sean and I collaborated to implement that feedback, and I learned from my mistakes. Together, we deepened our understanding of React, JavaScript, and test-driven development. The day concluded with discussions centered on the firm’s core values, which include learning from failures and willingness to help others. These values are necessities to the classroom and pairing stations alike.

Fast forward to my first company meeting, and I could feel the presence of teachers throughout the day. Emmanuel flipped chart paper and assigned action items to individuals. McKenneth lead the group in a brain break when the energy was low. Travis made sure my new voice was heard in his session. In a field that requires constant learning, I could tell I was surrounded by educators.


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