For the entire video interview, please visit https://youtu.be/t0iJN4QM1gc
Accelebrate: Tell us a little about yourself.
Accelebrate: How did you get into programming?
Eric: My grandfather had a Commodore 64 computer. When we visited him for weekends and holidays, he let us use his computer. He had magazine guides and showed us how to use it. I thought it was really cool what you could program a computer to do. Later on, in middle school and high school, I took programming classes and then got a computer science degree.
Eric: Honestly, that is where the opportunities led. I got an internship in 1997, then one project came after the other. I was hired as an employee and then started my own freelancing company until I started doing training.
Accelebrate: Do you have any tips and tricks for people to stay on top of front-end technology?
Eric: Write code. There is really no substitute for writing code. When it is all said and done at the end of the day, the only way you'll learn how to write software is to write software.
Accelebrate: What are some of your favorite tech blogs or websites?
Eric: It's funny you ask that question. I've been asked a lot what blogs I read. I like to look at blogs that help me solve a particular problem. I go to Google and find a blog post that gives me an answer to an issue I am working on. Especially valuable to me are blogs that are written by people who are part of the core project.
Programmers can become groupies who want to follow that one big important person. I would make the argument that one should go out and write their own blog post. Take your own ideas and throw them out there to the world. Don't just go out and copy everyone else. Create instead of just consuming. Go start a blog – that would be my best answer.
Accelebrate: What is your favorite part about being a technical trainer?
Eric: When somebody who doesn't know how to do something learns how to do it. There is nothing more rewarding. Training is not about your personal technical skill and ability. You have to know what you're talking about, otherwise no one will listen. But once you get beyond the topic mastery, it's not about the trainer. It is about the student. I love the students who are always trying new things, researching, and asking why. Seeing people learning and putting in the effort is what really makes my job worthwhile.
Accelebrate: What are some of the most frequently asked questions in your classes?
Eric: Naturally, in most classes the most frequently asked questions are about why and how something works in a language or technology.
The next mistake people make is that they're not flexible enough in how they look at the world. A lot of times students will lock themselves into repeating the same patterns or coding structures they find online, or that their instructor is using.
Accelebrate: What are some of your passions and interests outside of work?
Eric: I don't really have any.
Every morning I wake up and ask myself: What is the most important thing I can do today?
At the end of the day, I only get to live this life once. If I am going to use my life for something, I want to use it for something that is important. For me, what's important every single day is teaching classes, helping my students lean, showing love and kindness and compassion to them. While at the same time I am taking the revenue from my trainings to support my family, my local community, and paying taxes. These are the things that I am most passionate about because they are what are most important to me, every day.
Accelebrate: Do you have any advice for children or teenagers who want to get into the tech industry when they grow up?
Eric: You need to be seriously thinking about your career in the long term. You need to identify something that you love to do and identify something that is not easily done by a computer.
We need to get our young people thinking bigger. What can you do that is uniquely human and that you love? Find the intersection of these two things.
Accelebrate: Is there anything else our viewers should know about you?
Eric: I think that's it. This is who I am, this is what I do.
When I come to teach, it is not just for the technical part. It is actually to share some of my successes, but especially my failures, so that others that come after me will not make some of the same mistakes that I've made.
Accelebrate: Thank you so much for joining us today. It was a pleasure speaking with you and we look forward to continuing to work with you at Accelebrate.
Eric: Thank you for the opportunity to interview and thank you all very much for all of the incredible opportunities you've given me over the years. It has been a true blessing for my family and I and we've thoroughly enjoyed going to all of these different places and working with all of your customers - my students.
Check out some of Eric's tutorials and blog posts:
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