There are a lot of new things happening at Turing these days (hello, Launch Program!), but amid all the hustle and bustle you might have noticed that the Hello Turing World podcast is back after a two-year hiatus.
Originally a student-led initiative, Hello Turing World was revived in August by four alumni including Mark Miranda, Marshall Houston, Jean-Marie Evans and Jesse Spevack. We caught up with Jesse about what inspired the group to stay connected to Turing through this podcast, and why community is more important than ever.
Turing (T): What motivated you to restart the Turing podcast, especially when it was formerly a student-led project?
Jesse Spevack (JS): I love Turing, and I’m a huge fan of the podcast medium. I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time, probably going back to 2007. When Mark Miranda reached out with the idea, I jumped at it. It’s a great excuse to get in touch with and learn from many of the Turing folks I admire.
As Turing matures and grows, it is only fitting that the podcast move out of the basement and into the software industry. There are 1200+ alumni at this point and the stories of Turing alums are a little more fleshed out than they are for students.
T: Community is such a big topic of conversation on Hello Turing World—why did you choose to focus on this aspect of the Turing experience?
JS: For me, community is probably the biggest differentiator between Turing and other programs. Turing isn’t about teaching the latest language fad. The instructional approach, while incredibly efficacious and grounded in pedagogical best practices, feels like table stakes for being a credible code school. The community is what sold me when I was looking to make a career change, and it continues to compound the value that I initially got from learning a new technical skill set.
No other code school has such a proud and supportive alumni community that actively partners with current students, instructors and staff to continue to reach for a shared vision: unlocking human potential and opening up high-fulfillment technical careers to a diverse and motivated group of people.
T: What do you think are some of the key, defining characteristics of the Turing community?
JS: Turing is, by nature, diverse. People come from all walks of life and identities. What I have found is that regardless of identity, people at Turing were dissatisfied with some aspect of their previous professional lives. Typically, it was a bad work environment or poor career prospects—and this is not an uncommon feeling in the United States today.
What is unique and defining about the Turing community is that the students and alumni all decided to take a risk, in some cases a very significant risk, to improve. They took out loans, wrote big checks, quit jobs, and realigned the daily structures of their lives for seven months. That takes courage, because as good as Turing’s track record is, nothing is certain. The Turing community is defined by its courage, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and willingness to act.
T: Thinking of the new Launch Program and a new career-starter cohort joining the Turing student body, how do you feel community functions differently at Turing than at more traditional four-year universities, two-year community colleges or workplace cultures?
JS: I went to a big public university, so Turing feels a lot smaller and more personal than my university experience. Also, unlike a workplace culture, which is typically aligned around shared projects and goals, Turing is centered around a mission. The mission attracts potential students. The mission is inculcated in students over the course of the seven-month program. The staff have goals for furthering the mission. Alumni are a part of the actualization of the mission and in many cases are shaping trends in the broader industry.
T: What does it mean to continue being a part of the broader Turing community after graduation and joining the workforce?
JS: Being a part of the broader Turing community after graduation and joining the workforce is when it gets really good. You get to test the ideas you learned at Turing and make them your own. I encourage everyone to keep their eyes on Turing Slack, keep in touch, and step up when there are opportunities to participate and volunteer.
T: What do you most want to tell prospective students about the Turing experience?
JS: I am over six years out from being a student at Turing, and I recommend Turing more strongly than ever. The jobs are still out there. The skills that Turing teaches are applicable in a wide array of contexts. If you do not see a lot of possible outcomes that excite you in your life six months, one year, or five years from now, Turing is worth considering. If you don’t want to just learn a framework or language, but you actually want to be a part of a vibrant learning and professional community, Turing might be the place for you.