Who is John Hennessey?
John Hennessey is a software engineer at Education First and initially was working on React Native applications. Despite his confidence and productivity in a specific area, he encountered difficulty with the broader aspects of his role.
Consequently, he often found himself feeling overwhelmed and underprepared among his high-achieving peers. Reflecting on his difficulty articulating complex design ideas, he mentioned, “If I were to write a prompt in the chat GPT to understand one of these ideas a little bit more, I wouldn’t know what would be a prompt right, or I would have to spend a lot of time to engineer that prompt, and I was also feeling a little stagnant too….. I didn’t know what I didn’t know”
He struggled with mentoring his juniors and reflected on that time as “It was not very productive as a mentor and a leader to more junior employees because. I had such a difficult time explaining things. I thought what I was saying made sense, but in retrospect, it was probably gibberish.”
Despite these challenges, John remained undeterred in his quest to expand his knowledge and skills and decided he wanted to study a structured course to get better.
In an effort to overcome his limitations, John began searching for a path to professional growth and advancement in software engineering. He was acutely aware of his shortcomings in explaining concepts, dealing with narrowly-focused productivity, and wrestling with overconfidence in his abilities. He mentions that “When I first started this course, I’d rate my skill level on a scale of one to 10. I’d rate, I’d rate what I thought I was at maybe five and what I really was at three”
During his exploration for a suitable course to help him improve, he came across the Mirdin course. Unlike traditional computer science (CS) courses that focused on analysis, this one emphasized design and tools that assist in design.
John explained his attraction towards the course, “I think one thing that attracted me about this course too was it wasn’t a CS course. It was talking about design and tools to aid design rather than like analysis.”
Following the completion of the Mirdin course, John experienced a profound transformation. He remarked, “I’m a more productive and effective lead engineer in my organization now and I feel confident in that.”
He not only applied the course concepts in his coding projects but also found joy in the practical application of his new knowledge. John particularly found value in the idea of co-algebras and co-workers, noting that these concepts were not frequently covered in conventional software engineering courses.
In addition to enhancing his skills as a software engineer, the course also initiated a significant shift in his mindset toward his professional growth. He enthusiastically shared, “This course has primed my brain for new ideas and different ways of thinking about things. I knew this was an investment in myself, and that’s how I treated it.”
Building Extensible Software
John’s challenge in software engineering extended beyond the coding process to understanding how to apply principles of software design in his work. After the course, he adopted a more nuanced approach to building software. He feels he is a better TA and is more effective as a mentor to his junior engineers.
He shared his happiness with the Slack channel for the course and the community of like-minded individuals where he gets to interact with thin, he mentioned,” I’d always imagine what a superhero coder would look like. Now I see it. Now I know, okay. Now I can, I’ve been recalibrated in terms of my own expectations for myself and then also for others around me because I’ve seen like, oh no, this is what a high-functioning engineer does. These are the activities that a high-functioning engineer is…this is the communication style of the high-functioning engineer.
In conclusion, John wholeheartedly endorsed the Mirdin course, he remarks, ‘I knew that this was an investment in myself, and that’s how I treated it’.
Despite facing initial discomfort and challenges, he found the transformation he underwent and the knowledge he gained to be highly rewarding.
“So the course has made it easier to grasp newer concepts, basically….my brain for new ideas and different ways of thinking about things and the general concepts that these ideas might be related to,” John asserted, highlighting his belief in the course’s transformative potential.
His journey from a narrowly-focused engineer to a confident lead engineer serves as a testament to what dedicated learners can achieve through the Mirdin course.