Alumni Stories

Why Creativity Makes For Great Programmers at Flatiron School

Flatiron School / 12 July 2016
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This post originally appeared on Course Report.

You know the stereotypes of the creative-minded artist and the technically-minded programmer. One with the creative writing degree but lost when it comes to tech; the other focused on computer science but too mechanical to be imaginative. One whose workshop is the artist’s studio or concert hall; the other tapping away in their terminal. Keyboard vs. keyboard. BA vs. BS. Well, it is B.S.

If you’ve met a real developer, you know these stereotypes aren’t true. Here at Flatiron School, we’ve seen students with creative backgrounds flourish as programmers—and the employers we work with have appreciated how our graduates from different disciplines bring their creative skills into the workplace. In fact, we believe that what separates a great programmer from a good one is creativity.

That’s one reason why an increasing number of people who love to create—from artists and linguists to chefs and designers—find a career in programming to be a fulfilling outlet for their talents. Just open up your terminal and start building something from scratch, no canvas or instrument required.

Some have even noted that our classes “run less like math classes than creative writing classes. Students build projects, review and discuss each other’s work, and then rewrite them.”

Whether you’re pursuing your creative talents professionally or as a hobby, we’ve seen students with this experience thrive here at Flatiron School. Here are a few of their stories:

Vaidehi Joshi: from freelance writer to full-stack engineer

After studying English at Barnard College, Vaidehi began work as a freelance writer. But while building her online writing portfolio, she noticed herself gravitating toward the process of building the site itself—and making it more beautiful and user-friendly with self-taught HTML, CSS, and JavaScript techniques. She decided to pursue programming as a creative craft before even thinking about the career possibilities that coding skills open up. She joined us as a student here at Flatiron School, where she was heartened to find a unique mix of fellow writers, artists, and musicians among the student ranks. Vaidehi now works as a full-stack engineer at Imprint, using both creative and technical approaches to build digital products that make people happy.

Tyler Davis: from musician to startup founder

Tyler, a lifelong musician and multi-instrumentalist—and a Flatiron School alum—brought together his love of music, design, and development through the launch of SoundViz: a site that converts the soundwave of your favorite song into a piece of high-quality, ready-to-hang art.

Stephanie Oh: from teacher and songwriter to product manager

Stephanie was a writing teacher, tutor, and songwriter, while also working in the talent management industry with artists like Def Leppard and Cee Lo Green. She thought the end result of that path would be a job in marketing or PR, but wasn’t sure if either field truly excited her. After seeing the creativity present in websites and apps, she wondered: who were the people actually making them? She attended Flatiron School, convinced that an entry-level developer role would utilize more of her creative abilities than the path she had been on—as a developer, she would be the one making things. And she’s right: Stephanie has gone on to be a Product Manager at Splash, Constant Contact, and inMarket.

Grace Lee: mixing art with programming

Grace is a Flatiron School student who has been combining her artistic and programming passions in a fresh way. Take a peek at her technical blog, where she illustrates tough concepts through delightful pen and marker drawings alongside lucid written explanations. (She also penned the art at the top of this blog post!)


 

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