Becoming an instructor is a fantastic way to develop a range of skills. Not only will it help you improve your ability to teach and mentor others, it will also be extremely beneficial to your overall consultancy skills.
Our top ten reasons to become an instructor
- It allows you to give something back. Teaching and training others is a great way to give something back to help others start their career in tech.
- It's rewarding! Helping others, and seeing them develop and progress, while knowing you had a hand in their success, is extremely fulfilling.
- It builds consultancy skills. It's a great way of improving and honing your consultancy skills. Communication, patience, collaboration, listening, and making things simple are all key skills you'll use as a trainer, which are also very relevant to consultancy and helping client staff. You'll also develop your empathy and emotional intelligence.
- It builds leadership skills. As a trainer you're essentially responsible for leading a group of learners. Your skills in helping them progress are leadership skills. Moreover, the role requires you to influence without using authority to do so - you can't command and control learners! This therefore teaches you a much more effective set of leadership skills than a line management role might.
- You'll learn new tech. As the trainer you're also likely to learn bits of tech you may not have covered, or from angles you've not explored before.
- You'll deepen your understanding. In order to teach and explain concepts to beginners, you'll need to understand these concepts on a deeper level, and be able to rephrase, explain, and draw analogies from your specialist subject. In order to explain something, you have to know it really well!
- You'll broaden your skill set. Being a great software engineer isn't just about writing code and understanding tech. Working with others and being able to help them progress is a very valuable skill.
- It's different. While client work is our bread and butter, this an opportunity that's not a client engagement implementing a software solution.
- It opens up other opportunities. You might find you enjoy another area of the tech world that you'd otherwise not get much exposure to - for example, product ownership or business analysis.
- It looks great on your CV. It's something unique that you can refer to, and looks impressive, showing you're willing to step outside of your comfort zone and tackle a different angle of your profession.
What you will learn
Communication: It is crucial that a consultant is able to communicate a wide variety of ideas and concepts. The same applies to teaching, but at a much more fundamental level. Being able to thoroughly and concisely explain a concept, and get a class of people to understand it, is no easy feat, but is one that you'll master after teaching an Academy programme.
Leadership: You will need to ensure a level of professionalism in the classroom, but also be passionate, fun, and lead the culture and teaching of your cohort. Whether it's your first time in a leadership role, or you've been involved in leadership to some degree already, you can expect to gain a wealth of new experiences that will help you in your career.
Handling pressure: There will be times when you'll find yourself in high-pressure situations. There may be conflict between yourself and a learner, or conflict between other learners. You may have to deal with people who struggle to communicate.
Confidence: Above all else, your confidence will grow to heights you didn't know were possible. Being able to teach and lead a classroom will go on to help you with public speaking, and leading the way in a team.
Learn stuff you may not be able to learn normally: You won't have the ability to learn everything on a client account. Joining an Academy programme as an instructor will ensure you can learn new things from a variety of different topics, some of which you may never have realised interest you.
Learn stuff you may not expect: You may find that you learn about concepts for an area you thought you were already strong in. You may also learn about concepts you never knew existed!
Strengthen your ability to explain concepts to others: As mentioned earlier, it is crucial that a consultant is able to explain concepts to others, whether it be to technical or non-technical folk. Being able to adapt your approach to take varying levels of technical understanding into account will not only strengthen your confidence when communicating, but will also make you the go-to person when discussing a particular tool or concept in the future.
What technologies can you learn?
- A new language
- A new framework
- Cloud technologies
- Data engineering concepts
- Web scale applications
You'll get much more out of being an instructor than just the satisfaction of helping others learn something you are passionate about. You will receive training before you begin your teaching so that you can be confident that you can deliver at your fullest potential and learn a thing or two! As part of the Neil Jennings Academy, you will also benefit from participating in the broader training included, such as the communication, negotiation, and influencing training delivered by external provider Crimson Peak. For our Generation Data Academy, there are similar soft-skills sessions that you'll get to take part in. We've also recently built in a mid-course break, allowing the learners to cover some employability content. At the same time, the Next Generation Engineering instructors get a chance to take a well-earned couple of days off (in addition to their regular annual leave) before returning to conquer the remaining half of the programme.