Many of our exceptional CodeWizardsHQ instructors chose very different career paths before they discovered a passion for programming and teaching. Their diverse backgrounds contribute unique skills and abilities to our coding classrooms. Joseph Coats brings a mindset of giving back and a drive to provide teaching excellence for students. These qualities are rooted in his previous vocation. They have earned this Air Force veteran turned coding instructor a well-deserved Teacher Spotlight.
Joseph’s Path to Coding
Programming was definitely not on the mind of Joseph Coats as he was considering career choices. He began his post-secondary education in an air traffic control school. Once involved in the program, however, he realized that this was not the best career fit. Influenced by his stepfather, a twenty-year veteran of the Air Force, Joseph enlisted in the military. Joseph served for six years. His job involved loading bombs and missiles onto jets. He was deployed twice to Jordan and stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. He also participated in the liberation of Mosul. Joseph admits that at the end of his military career, he was happy to move out from under the jets. His 6’5” frame did not lend itself well to the tight working conditions.
After the Air Force, Joseph was ready for a change, and he felt the need to create or invent. After researching new career options, he was drawn to computers and coding and enrolled in a full-stack programming boot camp. He found that he had a knack for programming and finished early at the top of his class. It turned out that he was a programming natural.
“Once I started actually building things and understanding how to communicate with a computer effectively, it became a beautiful thing to do and to share. This is why I love teaching for CodeWizards because I wish that I could have had this knowledge at a younger age. To be able to give it to someone else and give them that head start is important to me. The youth are essential for our future, and being able to impact someone’s life and teach them how to code is awesome. Maybe they’ll be the next Bill Gates.”
Joseph relates that he didn’t have the option to learn how to code in school and is amazed at the programming opportunities that kids and teens have today. He is now highly motivated to develop his own tech education. While he was in coding boot camp, a very rigorous program, Joseph also enrolled full-time at North Central Texas College. He is pursuing a degree in video game development and will graduate in May 2024.
A Passion for Teaching Kids to Code
His desire to share his newfound coding knowledge led him to a teaching position at CodeWizardsHQ in June 2023. He now teaches all classes and levels and has quickly catapulted to Spotlight recognition. Python is his favorite programming language to teach.
“Python is my favorite language to teach because it’s so close to English, and it’s so easy to help the students understand how to communicate with a computer with Python.”
Scratch for elementary students is also a favorite language. He likes to roll up his sleeves and create alongside the students, putting his own twist on a project. When asked about favorite student experiences, Joseph likes teaching students who bring a lot of energy to his classroom. He recalls a student in his very first class who was always excited, shouted out answers, and always wanted to be the first to respond. Joseph likes to see that kind of excitement.
When asked what he enjoys about teaching kids, he cites one particular epiphany moment in a course.
“Closer to the end of a class’s lessons, they have this plethora of new knowledge, but they really don’t understand how much knowledge they have. Then, when I help them understand what they can actually build and do with that knowledge, they’re surprised and can’t believe they have these skills. It’s just a beautiful feeling when they realize what skills they have after the course is completed.”
Hobbies and Downtime
As if instructing and full-time studies weren’t enough, Joseph is the father to twin five-year-old girls and mentions that he hopes to start them on their coding journey in a few years.
Joseph’s impressive dedication to teaching kids to code contributes to the exemplary learning environment at CodeWizardsHQ. We are proud to shine a light on his accomplishments with our monthly Spotlight and express our sincere gratitude for his service to our country.