Meet DevMountain’s Web Development Instructional Team

At bootcamp, students have the opportunity to learn how to code by working on projects that they can add to their portfolios. They also have the opportunity to work closely with a team of web developers who have real-world experience.

We wanted to make an introduction to our Web Development Instructional Staff since our students become close with them while they’re taking their Web Development Course.

See below to meet the team!

Meet Steven Isbell. He’s our Web Development Program Director.

How Steven Got Into Coding

A lot of people end up coding, building software, becoming a developer—whatever you want to call it—because that’s what they always wanted to do. They go to college, get a CS degree, and enter the development field. I didn’t even know what coding was. The only code I had ever seen was editing my Myspace template in 2005, and I had no idea it was code.

I dropped out of college in 2014. I was working a couple of jobs at the time, one of which was as a banker for a national bank. I had been there for four months when one of my coworkers started talking to me about this night school he was doing—DevMountain. He invited me to come sit in a class where they were learning the basics of server development and I absolutely loved it.

I loved the smaller class sizes, the hands-on learning, the passion in the instructor; however, I had no idea what they were talking about. I decided to spend some time and see if coding was something I’d like. I did some online courses and it seemed okay enough. With my wife’s support, I enrolled in DevMountain’s full-time, immersive course. Thirteen weeks later, I graduated and shortly after that I started my first job as a Software Engineer.

Steven’s Experience Working In Code And Why He Loves It

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work on various projects with various technologies across various industries. I’ve built software for wedding vendors, social media influencers, personal businesses, educational companies, and so much more. I love development. I love it because it provides me an opportunity to not only design, architect, and build complex solutions, but also because I get to work with incredibly dynamic people while I do it. It’s the latter that pushed me into teaching at DevMountain.

Why Steven Loves Teaching Code

I transitioned back to DevMountain at first as the lead instructor for the Dallas, TX campus. I found that as much as I loved coding, I loved teaching it even more. DevMountain has had such a positive impact on the trajectory of my life that I wanted to help provide that opportunity to others. Enabling the growth of a valuable skill set within DevMountain students has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done to this point in my life.

I’ve since moved on to manage the Web Development Education Department at DevMountain, enabling me to work with and train the instructors, and ultimately reach more people. Even though my focus has shifted to educating others, I still have a passion for developing software and get to on a regular basis. I build applications for use at DevMountain, both for the students and the staff. Additionally, I’m working on a couple of startups that are beginning to gain traction. It’s an exciting time to be a developer and an educator!

What Steven Does When He’s Not Coding

When I’m not working for DevMountain, or on my side projects, my wife and I love to take our kids and travel. We’re new fans of musical theater and love a good show. My four year old daughter and I go to the movies as much as possible (when there’s something age appropriate playing). In a past life, I was an avid basketball player. But, I learned quickly that coding (and heavy amounts of soda and sitting) and basketball will always be star crossed.

At the end of the day, I love what I do. DevMountain changes lives and I’m happy to be along for the ride. It’s an incredibly challenging, but rewarding experience.

Okay, now we’d like to introduce you to Bryan Smith. He’s our web instructor at our Lehi campus.

How Bryan Got Into Coding

I was initially studying broadcast journalism with the intention of becoming the next lead anchor at ESPN. I love telling stories and meeting people so that seemed like a great career path for me. I married my wife in August of 2013, and you know what they say, the best kind of prize is a surprise, and two months later we were expecting a child. Suddenly, the idea of paying for a house and a child (that wasn’t in the plans for at least 10 more years) on a near minimum wage salary was terrifying.

I had created a few wordpress sites for family and friends and always felt like I was creative but never thought I was traditionally smart enough to become a web developer. My sister’s partner suggested I look into a coding bootcamp because it was a quick way to get the necessary skills. My wife and I looked into several options in New York and San Francisco but they wanted more than we were willing to pay. That is when I found an option closer to home that was more affordable as well; DevMountain. Nearly five years later, I absolutely love getting to code and teach every day.

Why Bryan Loves To Code

I love to code because it allows me to stretch my creativity. I can create art on a screen and share it with the world almost immediately. And, if I screw up? I just press the delete key a few times rather than having to find a new canvas. Coding has also taught me that creativity is not just the ability to create something visual, but also the ability to find solutions to a problem. There are few things like building an awesome user experience that is functional as well.

Why Bryan Loves Teaching Code

I love teaching people how to code because it really has taught me more than I ever thought it would. Everyone thinks differently and oftentimes students will ask questions that I never in a million years would have thought of. I love getting these questions because I not only get to help someone learn, but it helps me learn as well.

This job is also incredibly satisfying. Web development changed me and my family’s lives. When I get a message from a student after they graduate saying something like, “I just got my first job at X and I owe it all to you…” and you know that even though they were the ones that put in the hard work (because this will be one of the hardest things you ever do, trust me), I as the instructor played a small role in changing that students life as well.

What Bryan Does When He’s Not Teaching Or Developing

When I’m not teaching or developing, I am usually updating something in my house. My wife and I renovate homes and we are currently in the middle of renovating a beautiful house from the early 1940’s. If I’m not inside laying tile or demolishing a wall, I am outside manicuring my lawn. My lawn is essentially my third child and I spend hours every weekend making sure that it looks the best on the block. If I’m not in either of those places, you can find me at the local home improvement store finding something for those two things.

I also enjoy spending time outdoors, creating art and hanging out with my family. Whether it be putzing around the neighborhood on my skateboard with my girls between my legs or going on a hike with my two dogs and family, I love being outdoors. My favorite type of medium for art is oil on canvas but it is such a process so I enjoy the simplicity of water colors as well.

What Bryan Wants You To Know Before You Start Your Bootcamp Experience

I want students to know that they do not have to be traditionally smart (good at math, science and english) to be a successful developer. The biggest factor in being successful is the amount of work you put into it. Going through DevMountain was the second hardest thing I have ever done aside from quitting smoking. I was regularly at DevMountain from 8AM-8PM (or later), because that is what it took for me to learn. There will be days you want to quit or days you feel like you have a technology mastered. I can assure you that you still need to work hard. Even after almost five years of developing, I find myself learning something new. Every. Single. Day.

If you got into web development for the money, that is fine. But, you better learn to love it because that is the only way you will ever make the money you are dreaming of. Go all in at DevMountain, you are here for yourself and no one else. If you have a question, ask it. I bet there are five other students in your class that have the same question but are too scared to ask.

Now, meet Mark McIver. He’s another one of our web instructors at our Lehi campus.  

How Mark got into coding

I was in hospitality working in hotel restaurant management for seven years and realized I wanted to do something different. Not that restaurant management isn’t challenging; I just wanted to be challenged in different ways. I started building a very basic website in my free time, and really enjoyed the process of learning to code. I then decided I wanted to go back to school and get into computer science or web development. My plan was to go back to college and get my masters in computer science, but then my brother called me and told me about DevMountain. I did my research and decided that was a cheaper/faster/better option. Best decision of my Life!

Why Mark loves to code

I love coding because there are so many opportunities to learn and grow. Things are changing all the time and it keeps me interested and on my toes. I also love the sense of accomplishment that comes with coding. Finishing a new feature, or an entire project is such a good feeling. The process can be frustrating, but it’s always worth it.

Why Mark loves teaching code

I had no idea I was going to love teaching until I started. And I do! I love helping students learn and grow and supporting them during the process. Being able to be a part of their passion and excitement is an awesome opportunity for me. I know what it’s like going through a bootcamp, and I remember the ups and downs and the amazing feeling I had when it was over. I love being able to see that in my students as well.

What Mark does when he’s not teaching or developing

I really enjoy being in nature and traveling. I like to visit other countries where I can learn about their culture and way of life (and try their food!). I enjoy almost anything outdoors: hiking, camping, mountain biking, kayaking, and the list goes on. And it’s even better if it’s in a tropical location!

Now, we’d like to introduce Joe Blank. He’s also a web instructor at our Lehi campus.

How Joe got into coding

I had never really touched any code before going to college. While in college, I took and Information Systems course that introduced me to HTML and CSS. I came to the realization that I could create whatever I wanted on my computer screen, and that was really exciting. I pursued a career that had nothing to do with coding, but when I was looking for a career change, that experience in college came to mind and I started to study code.

Why Joe loves to code

I love the creative aspect of code. I can create and build whatever I want within my own technical limitations. And, I get to learn something new each and every day.

Why Joe loves teaching code

I enjoy teaching because I remember how difficult it was when I was learning to code. It’s tough, and there is no way around that. I like helping people through that struggle and watching them progress and come out on the other side with the same elation that I experienced/and still experience when I learn something new.

What Joe does when he’s not teaching or developing

When I am not coding, I am usually spending time with my wife and daughter, or playing racquetball. I really enjoy playing racquetball competitively, and I am also the assistant coach of the BYU racquetball team.

Now, meet Jonathan May. He’s our lead web instructor at our Dallas campus.

How Jonathan got into coding

I’ve always been interested in computers and the internet. In fact, I built my first webpage when I was about 10 years old. It didn’t do much, but it sparked my interest in seeing what I could do with code. I continued learning the basics of Javascript and HTML/CSS through high school and even did a bit of freelance web development for local businesses.

Even still, I had major impostor syndrome and didn’t believe I had what it would take to be a professional developer. I had a very specific idea of the type of person a developer could be, and I didn’t think I matched that description. It took me about 10 years of working in other industries to get back into development. I had gotten laid off in my previous job and decided to take the leap to take the Immersive Web Development Course at DevMountain. I’m thankful for everything I learned along the way, but I’m glad I finally made it back around to a career field I love.

Why Jonathan loves to code

For me, coding is the perfect blend of creativity and problem solving, and there are always opportunities to learn new things. Even when I think I know everything I can about a topic, I can always dig deeper and learn more. The development world is always changing, which keeps me excited and motivated to learn and try new things. I also can’t deny that it’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to watch someone using and benefiting from code that I’ve written.

Why Jonathan loves teaching code

I’ve always gravitated towards teaching and even got my college degree in Spanish and English Education. I really enjoy breaking down seemingly difficult and complex topics into manageable and understandable pieces and seeing students use those pieces as building blocks. As web developers, we have an incredible opportunity to use our skills in a wide variety of industries, and I’m proud to have a part in preparing new developers to make an impact.

What Jonathan does when he’s not teaching or developing

There are things to do other than teaching and coding? Just kidding…mostly. I do spend a lot of my spare time developing side projects for fun and learning about new technologies. Besides that, I really enjoy traveling and seeing different parts of the world. In my previous life, before getting back into coding, I lived in Costa Rica and in Spain. Those experiences showed me how much I could learn from the world, and I haven’t stopped exploring since then. So far I’ve been to 17 countries and half the states in the US, and I always enjoy visiting somewhere new.

So there you go. There’s an introduction to some of our Web Development Instructional Staff. We hope you enjoyed!

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