Behind the scenes of a Front End Developer who teaches at Nucamp

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: December 27th 2022

Behind the scenes of a Front End Developer who teaches at Nucamp

How a professional in the industry cooks up great lessons for her students

"I've always enjoyed teaching, even during my pastry career. I was a head chef and would show the ropes to new incomers. I enjoy explaining the fundamentals of what I'm looking for and watching my students excel. When you care and show them enough support, it's amazing what they can accomplish." -Crystal Fecteau, Nucamp Instructor

Crystal Fecteau has a passion for helping others, which is one of the reasons she is one of Nucamp's top instructors.

We are excited to introduce you to Crystal and give her the recognition she deserves.

Her career change journey has many similarities to that of her students.

This shared experience enables her to bring insight to her students as they navigate the same challenge of shifting careers.

The empathy, skillset, and experience she brings to each bootcamp sets her students up for success to join the rapidly growing tech industry.

Crystal is a Front End Developer for Abe AI in Seattle, WA and has 4 years of experience in the industry.

She has been a Nucamp instructor for about a year and a half and focuses on teaching Bootstrap, React and React Native.

What coding skills are you specialized in?

She loves making things look beautiful and her creative background as a pastry chef connects perfectly into designing for others.

Crystal is always asking herself how to make something welcoming or easier for the end user.

"There's a surprising amount of connection between being a pastry chef to making interfaces look appealing."

Tell us more about being a chef and other skills you might have outside of coding.

Outside of her day job, Crystal is still a chef, baking both savory and sweet treats.

She has fun making a game out of creating crazy dinners from whatever may be left in the fridge.

Crystal also enjoys playing video games like a lot of developers do.

Living in the Seattle area she also gets to keep her love of pinball alive since there are many classic arcades near her.

So how did a Front End Developer like you get into coding to begin with?

Initially she started off out of high school aiming to be an EMT.

After courses and rounds on the ambulance, she didn't feel she was up to the task of patient care.

It's was too stressful so from she decided she needed to be able to go into work feeling comfortable, happy, and in an environment that she could thrive in.

She then went to culinary school becoming a pastry chef and head baker for 7 years.

That eventually wore on her and didn't bring her the same excitement it use to.

Reminiscing back on an HTML course she taken in high school, she deciding to try programming next.

She took an Epicodus bootcamp, completed a year and a half of study, then landed an internship.

Why did you decide to become a coding bootcamp instructor?

Even while a pastry chef she enjoyed teaching.

As the head chef she enjoyed explaining the fundamentals to newcomers and watching them excel with the right support.

"When you throw someone into an environment they're not familiar with, they'll be nervous and not want to express themselves. She loves encouraging them through that. Even now, I'm about to jump on a zoom call with a student after this interview."

With her love of helping others she started teaching kids 4 years old to high school age how to code.

It was an amazing experience for her seeing 4 year olds use functions and watch them grow.

This taste of teaching made her want to branch out into teaching adults as she liked the idea of getting deeper into code.

This is where Nucamp came into her life, giving her an opportunity to instruct coding at a higher level.

What is your favorite project you've created or are most proud of?

While teaching a bootstrap course one of her students casually mentioned that it felt like there were endless modals.

It made her think what if someone made an app that managed all the modals?

Feeling inspired, she went to work and created Little Miss Modal, an app with personality that demos what is possible with modals.

The app asks users a series of questions and humorously responds based on their responses—which was a big hit with her students.

"I have constant excitement and enjoyment with programming. Everyone teaches a different way, but I want to stand out. I like showing I also try new things that I am also always learning as well."

Lastly, what is one piece of advice you would give bootcamp students (future or current)?

"Don't give up. That's the biggest one. They probably hear it so many ddifferent times. It took almost 3 years to get where she is, a stable job, and comfortable with what she is doing. Imposter syndrome is a real thing. You have to stop thinking things like "I'll never do it." The learning takes time, keep pushing forward. There will be many times things are working on the screen, but you don't know how. Sometimes it feels like drinking from a fire hose. Stay focused."

Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.