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Alex talks about: the collaboration between Teacher Assistants and Students

During our bootcamp, our students are putting into practice everything they learn during the lectures with the support of our amazing Lead Teachers and Teacher Assistants who are here to help them thrive as Web Developers. Alex decided to become a Teacher Assistant after his bootcamp and he's the best person to talk about this role at Le Wagon Barcelona!
My name is Alejandro, I’m originally from Barcelona and I am 25 years old. I like to describe my professional story as an Industrial Engineer by inertia and, after Le Wagon, a Full Stack Developer by passion.

After studying, I enrolled in an engineering company but then realized that I did not want to dedicate the rest of my life to anything related to that. I had the desire to create something and help others with my ideas and work. That is why, after travelling through South America to find myself, I enrolled in an early-stage startup where I spent two amazing years and discovered the amazing world of digital start-ups and the entrepreneur ecosystem.

I did Le Wagon because I wanted to get the keys to overcome the challenges I always had when starting new projects. These tools I learned during the bootcamp became my passion and ever since these 9 weeks I do not see my life without a computer and without coding.

Besides TAing at Le Wagon, I am mainly trying to develop my “personal brand” and working on clients' projects as a Freelancer. I am currently working with some of my classmates and teachers from Le Wagon, which is awesome! Whenever I have free time, I am also focusing on personal projects.

What is the role of a TA?

Being a Teacher Assistant, you have to support the Lead Teacher of the day to solve any of the students' doubts. My main tasks consist of preparing every exercise and class the day before and during the day we have to be very aware of the students to see who is struggling and encourage them so they don’t lose the rhythm of the class.

As a TA, we are being very aware of each student and we also utilize a very useful ticketing system to keep track of the ones who would need specific support. 

Being a TA, you are the closest person the students have. As freshly graduated, you still remember every exercise, the blocking points, the most intense moments of the bootcamp so you can actually be the best support for them. The most important part is talking to all the students, explaining your experience, and being a big support for them during all the time they are spending with us so they don’t have anything else to worry about other than learning.

You end up having a really nice relationship with them which ends up with Friday beers till very late sometimes!

Why did you decide to become a TA?

At the beginning and right after my bootcamp, being a Teacher Assistant was the best way for me to start my career as a fresh Developer and get an income by doing something I love. Also, I worked as a Teacher during my years of university and I love it!

If you ask me now, I would love to be a TA for the next batches because it is an amazing job. You get to meet new and incredible people every day (teachers, alumni, and students) from all over the world and you are helping people change their lives and achieve their dreams. It's just amazing!

How do you feel about helping students who are now where you were before?

It is incredible! I think that teaching others is one of the most gratifying things ever. Seeing how one person goes from not knowing anything about coding to creating an MVP in just 9 weeks with our help is simply amazing!

Personally, I finished the Bootcamp just one month ago and, as I said before, I really feel them and it makes me be super emphatic with them. I try to give them the same help and support that my TAs gave me.

How did TAs help you when you were a student and what does being a TA brings in exchange?

Besides helping me with the exercises, TAs are your closest staff during these 9 weeks. Obviously, you might be a little bit more impressed by the Lead Teachers because of their knowledge and experience but as a student, you identify more with TAs. They are exactly where you are going to be in a few months so their experience and feedback are very useful.

In exchange, being a TA is the best opportunity to really consolidate all you have learned. You also learn to know how to explain and teach anything and that’s when you really get the concept. Going through the classes again, doing all the exercises, and explaining them again is a perfect way to learn more every day. 

Another important thing for me is that you have the chance to meet people from all over the world and be in a super international environment, and this is something that can be hard to find in most schools and universities. 

In your opinion, what are the necessary soft skills to be a TA?

First of all, you have to be a very open-minded person to be with lots of different people and cultures. You also need a lot of patience and being empathic to be able to explain the same concept over and over to the same person or to different people. Moreover, I think that it is very important to be able to explain the same idea in different ways since we do not all understand and learn in the same way.

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