Expert Interview Series: Betsy Idilbi of Tech Talent South on Growing Your Tech Skills

Betsy Idilbi is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tech Talent South, a tech education company that is fueling the need for tech talent through immersive courses and empowering people on a mission to Do Something BIG!

We recently asked Betsy for her insight on the importance of continuing education and the value of tech skills. Here’s what she shared:

Tell us about the mission of Tech Talent South. How are you hoping to help aspiring developers?

Tech Talent South (TTS) is fueling the need for skilled human capital in the tech industry by offering accessible and inclusive training programs. We aim to be as flexible as possible to lower the barriers to learning how to code for anyone who wishes to have the skills. Our code immersion and topical courses are designed for aspiring developers to build a custom track that fits their passions.

What are the challenges facing aspiring programmers when trying to grow their skills today?

The main challenge is not unlike most endeavors: Time. Learning to code is learning a new language, and it is a field where one will never be without bugs, blocks and new things to learn. Devoting the time to becoming proficient in a new language is no small task. A more specific challenge is that a lot of students come in totally unsure if this is right for them. It takes some time to get past the learning curve and decide if this is something you really enjoy doing! We do our best to encourage students not to give up before getting around this first learning curve.

What do these students need to know about finding high-quality courses?

A big quality indicator for TTS is the ability for students to get one-on-one time with an instructor, TA or fellow student. Even when sitting in the same class, everyone can end up with code that looks different. Having the ability to ask questions and figure out bugs one-on-one with an actual human can be a game changer. With technology and coding, the best thing that we can do is teach students the best ways to analyze the code and discover solutions on their own. We can model this through mentors and industry professionals that have found a problem-solving rhythm that works for them.

What do students need to know about succeeding in these types of courses? What are the dos and don’ts?

The age old golden rule of school: Do your homework! Our most successful students are the individuals who go home after class and re-do all of the exercises that they did in class. At TTS, we are known for some pretty intense homework. This is not only a good way to learn, but also a good litmus test to find out how much you enjoy working with code!

What types of courses are you finding are most in demand right now? What types of courses should those interested in tech careers be pursuing?

We always recommend starting with the basics of programming. This foundation is such a good platform for anyone doing tech related work. Our eight-week code immersion program gives this foundation. We then have additional courses depending on a student’s passion. We see a lot of opportunity in the Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things space.  We have developed curriculum to provide students the skills to innovate in these spaces, but we always recommend that code immersion foundation first.

What types of jobs have your graduates gone on to find? How has the training they received helped grow their careers?

We have graduates who have found their passion and have gone on to become senior, full stack engineers.  We also know a lot of former students that are now front end and app developers as well as a large portion of grads are successful entrepreneurs who have launched their own dreams. Another category of alumni worth mentioning is all of the folks who didn’t end up in development careers, but attribute their success to code immersion. These are people working in marketing/digital advertising, design, and customer support roles for tech companies.

What are the benefits to professionals to continuing their education? How can training help grow their careers?

If you want to help a company grow, it just makes sense that you would start with growing the set of skills that you can contribute. The more you are leaning into solving new problems that you haven’t seen before, the more valuable you are making yourself as an asset to a company.

Why is training on tech skills so critical to success in business today?

Technology is changing so fast that it is becoming impossible to keep up without some sort of focus on training (or at the very least self-teaching.) It isn’t just a thing for the “tech industry” either. The way that we use tech every day, regardless of industry, changes so much from year to year that in order to make a difference in business you have to keep up.

Learn about the continuing education opportunities available from CCSU. View open courses.

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