How this Iron Yard grad combined her love of teaching and web development - Technical.ly DC

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Apr. 21, 2017 12:10 pm

How this Iron Yard grad combined her love of teaching and web development

Tajaa Long teaches free HTML and CSS classes for kids, and has started her own company, too.

At an Iron Yard class for adults.

(Photo via Meetup)

Until the summer of 2015, Tajaa Long was an elementary-school math teacher. While teaching she started introducing her students to some programming, and found it both fascinating and a useful teaching tool. She wanted to learn more.

“I thought it would be cool if I was actually acquiring the skills I am encouraging them to acquire,” Long told Technical.ly. So she signed up for an Iron Yard coding bootcamp in D.C., and from May to August 2015 she dove into web development.

After graduating from Iron Yard, Long started a job as a developer. But it wasn’t quite what she wanted to be doing. “Even though I loved software development I still missed teaching my students,” Long said. So she left and started freelancing.

And then about a year ago she found her way back to the classroom, teaching free basic HTML and CSS classes for kids. The Kids Academy classes take place two or three times a month, are hosted by Iron Yard and targeted at giving kids ages 7 through 12 a very simple intro to coding. Each class is different — some students come back again and again while others just want to get a taste.

And now Long has gone a step further — launching her own business teaching middle and high school kids from around the DMV how to code. Teen Bytes, Long’s program, is a 12-week coding school where the kids learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and eventually build their own project. She also holds these classes in the Iron Yard space downtown.

The first cohort of Teen Bytes is now one week away from demo day — students will be showing off everything from a music app to an online store, Long told Technical.ly.

For Long, Kids Academy and Teen Bytes are a way to combine both her interest and skills in coding and her passion for teaching.

Want to get a kid you know involved? Check out The Iron Yard’s Meetup page for information on an upcoming class.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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