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November 2022 Student of the Month: Geordan Daugherty


This month, we tried something different and asked for peer nominations to select our November Student of the Month and the result was awe-inspiring. It’s heartwarming to hear about so many students going above and beyond to help their fellow learners progress through the difficult journey of acquiring a new career skill set such as coding or digital marketing. Geordan Daugherty is one of those individuals whose efforts to lift up those around him have left strong impressions on his classmates.


“I’d like to nominate Geordan Daugherty. He has been super helpful, patient and kind and helps those that ask for input in Discord. Super great guy. Many thanks!” Said one student.


“I would love to nominate Geordan. He has been very helpful trying to answer my questions and providing me information on how to get help.” Another student said.


When asking his mentor about Geordan, her response was “he’s fantastic! Always in office hours and always engaged. Good attitude all around!”


These are just a few examples that set the stage for why we are excited to announce Geordan Daugherty as our November Student of the Month!


Born in the early 90s, forty-five minutes west of Chicago, his father was a Bulls fan who loved Michael Jordan and his mother’s name started with a G, leading Geordan to believe these two factors played heavily into the origin of his own name. Almost thirty years later, and looking to change his career, Geordan started taking a more focused interest in software development. He had always been into games and computers, even built his own computer, but did not know where to start when it came to coding until he learned about coding bootcamps.


Geordan said he wanted to just jump right in, so while he looked for a coding bootcamp to enroll in, he began doing some self-study of CSS and HTML on FreeCodeCamp. He really enjoyed what he was learning, so much so that he didn’t get to finish all of it before jumping into Elgin Community College’s Front End Software Developer bootcamp in partnership with Promineo Tech. Because he hadn’t touched any JavaScript yet, he was able to begin learning immediately as the program starts right there with JS. He said that “since JavaScript was new, scope and brackets were confusing to oblivion, but once I figured out scope and bracketing and started building stuff, I started to understand it a lot more.” Geordan also mentioned that when he has some extra time, he does continue working towards the FreeCodeCamp certs so that he’ll have as much practice as possible.


As mentioned in some of the peer nominations, Geordan doesn’t simply stop at understanding concepts for himself but tries to help others grasp the materials, as well. He said that on the job a couple of years ago he was given the opportunity to “train the trainer”, so he gained some experience teaching others technical concepts. Additionally, Geordan shared that helping others also helps him immensely because how going over topics again and explaining them out loud solidifies his own understanding. “I try to teach in a way that is not simply giving answers, but tries to break it down for them so they truly learn and it helps me imprint the concepts in my brain.” Geordan shared.


Currently, at the time of our interview, Geordan was on week 4 of the 18-week program but was working ahead to week 6. When asked how week 6 was going, he shared that it was very interesting. He’s learning a lot. Because of the amount of content, he shared that it’s beneficial for him to watch the videos or instructors teach the concepts and then go back and try to do it himself. He prefers this to copying the code because he wants to truly learn it.


When it comes to learning difficult concepts like coding, Geordan says it’s something that can’t just be handed to you. “You have to do a lot of research. In life, you have to learn for yourself. Someone will give you the structure, like parents or teachers, but then you have to be the one to do the actual learning.” He explains how this philosophy has been helpful to him in more ways than just learning to code throughout his life. “When I finished my basement, I knew absolutely nothing about how to do finishing work, but I learned and finished out the entire basement by myself. Framing, floors, everything.” This pattern of owning the responsibility to learn continues to benefit Geordan throughout life.


In addition to this pattern for success, Geordan says that his biggest advice to other learners is to “ask for help”. He said some people fall behind because they simply don’t ask for help. “The help is there. There are tons of people on Slack and Discord; there really is no shortage of help.” Students should always remember to post questions in Slack, meet with their mentors, and attend office hours to ensure they are getting the answers they need to move forward with their learning. Geordan also shared some Confucius knowledge and said he’d recommend that fellow students remember to “learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it”.


In addition to owning one’s education, Geordan says that “sometimes you have to make sacrifices to learn. You have to set priorities. I’ve had to leave dinners or events early multiple times to ensure I made it to class or finished up an assignment.” For many, remembering the why behind their education drives them to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure they learn as much as possible so they are ready for a new career. Part of the why for Geordan comes from working at a steel mill currently where he sees the opportunity for improvement of software and systems across the industry. “I work in a terminal-style system. Lots of things that could be updated, but no one is fixing them. I want to be the person to fix it and build entire applications for someone’s business.” He always knew coding was a thing, knew it was out there, but never took the time to really understand it until he started thinking about these areas for improvement and started doing some research.


In doing research, Geordan found that there is a lot of online content that is completely free to learn coding. When asked why he enrolled in a bootcamp if everything is available for free online he said that he “wanted the structure. I didn’t want to jump from thing to thing and figured it would give me a direct path from point A to Z instead of spending a lot of time researching what I should learn first because there is a lot of conflicting info out there. I just like the fact that the weeks are cut out like they are.”


After he completes the Front End Software Developer program, Geordan plans on taking the Back End program to continue his education and learn to be a Full Stack developer. He then wants to do some freelance work for businesses in his hometown. “I live in a small town, and they need help with their websites. I’d like to be the person to help them.”


When asked what his dream job would be, Geordan said that “the kid in me would say some kind of game developer, but I would also like something that I could work with a team remotely and have some kind of freedom. I am happy as long as the work is there, and my role is important to the success of the project. My dream job would be a game developer, though.”


When asked what the most difficult part of the program was, Geordan said it was taking what he’s learned and building something of his own that solves a real problem. In week 3, students are asked to create their own function, and coming up with what to build can be difficult, but Geordan says he’s starting to get better at it.


His favorite part of the program is the collaborative environment. “It has been really fun to work in and see people do different stuff with their code. Someone posted in Slack that they made a random game organizer or finder that went through a list of arrays and it would recommend a random game in the bottom to play. I love seeing everyone posting their final projects and their web pages. It’s very cool to see people’s different takes on stuff.”


Geordan sets a wonderful example of not only how to tackle learning and personal growth head-on, but also how to be a strength to others going through similar challenges. We are very excited and honored to have Geordan Daugherty as our 2022 November Student of the Month and can’t wait to see how he shapes the industry with the new skills he is obtaining!

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