Derek Hawkins joined the Coding Temple team as an instructor earlier this year in January. However, coding didn’t become his passion until a few years ago.

As a freshman in college at Illinois State University, Derek didn’t have that one major that stuck out to him that he considered to be the perfect fit for him. He felt he didn’t really have a sense of direction and settled on Occupational Safety and Health Administration as his major. His first job out of college was working for AT&T as a U-Verse Technician. He enjoyed everything about the job except for having to climb us on telephone poles in the freezing, bitter cold. Summers were great for the job though!

Everything was going great for Derek until they had a change in managers. His old manager treated everyone with the utmost respect; however, the new manager threatened their jobs. Him and his co-workers would bring up legitimate safety concerns about their daily job and his new manager had the same response every time.

If you all want to complain, there’s somebody younger than you who’s willing to do the jobs.

Derek was concerned about the future of his job and decided to start looking up resources on how to learn to code. He was the technologically sound person in his family and always had a mild interest in coding ever since he was young. Without any prior education in Computer Science, it was a struggle for him to learn to code but he was determined to get out of his job.

I can’t count on 20 hands how many days I spent learning how to code.

After a lot of patience and many sleepless nights, one of Derek’s old high school friends who had just opened his own IT consulting business asked him if he was interested in a job. He decided to take the leap and this became his first official job where he was doing something he was passionate about. After gaining more experience, he eventually moved onto doing some contract work for 24Seven, Inc. One particular contract that he absolutely loved working was for the University of Chicago in the Alumni Relations Department. He had a great experience there and built many friendships, both were nothing short of amazing for him.

Eventually his contract at UofC ended, and Derek started doing some freelance work to generate extra income. One day, his long-term friend of over 15 years reached out to him to see if he was currently working. Coding Temple was searching for a Full Stack JavaScript instructor and Derek figured he would see what the company was all about.

I went in for an interview and was amazed by the laid-back environment and was sold almost immediately.

In January of this year, Derek accepted a full time position as an instructor at Coding Temple. Even though he has a strong grasp on coding, he soon found that there were many things he still had yet to learn. That’s the beauty of coding though because you get the ability to learn new things every once in awhile. This is exactly why he enjoys being an instructor because of the possibility to learn new things whether from his co-workers or his students. His students will often ask him extremely unique questions that he hasn’t necessarily done before, but figuring out how to work out the problem only helps to further him as a programmer and a instructor. He also enjoys the relaxed work environment where he can have fun with his co-workers and students on and off the clock.

Coding Temple is opening a new location in Washington, D.C and Derek will soon be heading there for 3 months to teach the very first Full Stack Python course in another city! Derek has never been to D.C. so he’s looking forward to the opportunity and experience.