Volunteers form a core part of our work at Code the Dream. Volunteers hold small group mentor sessions for our students, provide feedback on student code, host professional development workshops for students, and more.
Each month, CTD celebrates a volunteer who has made a special impact on our community. This month, we’re recognizing Daniel Sinn, a Ruby on Rails developer at PagerDuty who has volunteered in several CTD classes. We caught up with Daniel about his involvement with Code the Dream:
Tell us about yourself.
I’m currently a senior software engineer at PagerDuty, where I’ve mostly been working on a large Ruby on Rails app. My first foray into coding was writing static HTML in the heydays of freely hosted personal websites of the early/mid 2000s, when I had a passion for writing guides for video games (which have since disappeared from Geocities and Angelfire). My earliest programming experiences were getting a TI-83+ calculator to analyze quadratic equations and annuities, as well as participating in programming contests using a janky language called Turing.
Why did you get involved with Code the Dream?
Code the Dream hosted one of PagerDuty’s regular social impact events. I already liked that they focus on helping those with low-income backgrounds, but when I learned that they have a Ruby on Rails course that’s particularly compatible with what I do at my day job, I couldn’t resist signing up!
What has been meaningful about your experience with Code the Dream?
I get to assist the same motivated students for months at a time, and at a much deeper level than just responding to random threads or discussions on the internet like I had been doing. Combined with the organized curriculum, I feel like this has made a much larger impact on the individuals’ development than I could make elsewhere. CTD from the very beginning has also accommodated my very weird schedule that changes all the time, so I’m grateful for that.
Anything else you want to share?
ChatGPT and other large language models are quite neat, but through CTD I’ve also learned first-hand about its limitations multiple times. Use wisely! 😉
Several students shared about why they appreciate Daniel:
“From my first session with Daniel I was hooked. Daniel took time and allowed me to fail with grace, while picking me up just enough so I could lean through experimenting. He’s a rockstar!”Gregory C., Ruby on Rails Student
“Daniel goes above and beyond to help. I had a unique problem with my system and he took time to resolve my problem and help me carry on with the curriculum.”Fnu S., Ruby on Rails Student
“I really appreciate Daniel. He has been instrumental in helping me get motivated to catch up and understand why the code I am writing works.”Jacob R., Ruby on Rails Student
Thanks, Daniel, for your commitment to the CTD community!