Jul 20, 2020
James Schaffer - Learning to Code After Years of Social Advocacy
Play • 40 min

Welcome to another episode of Develomentor. Today's guest is James Schaffer.

James Schaffer is a founder, strategist, product designer, and currently a freelance software engineer. He has over a decade of experience managing small organizations including a social justice advocacy firm.

James is skilled in entrepreneurship, planning, curriculum design & development, data ETL and financial modeling. James is committed to leveraging excellent product design and data engineering for social equity and progressive policy.

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Episode Summary

“The core thing was providing training and tools for community organizations and social justice groups to be more powerful in their lobbying work.”

“I loved what I was doing but I wanted to be closer to the code. Software engineers would say ‘this is hard to do for X, Y, Z reason’. And its not that I didn’t believe them, but I just didn’t understand why.”

“Flatiron bootcamp is a bit different than university computer science. I think its way more applied and way less theoretical. We did basically no algorithm work.”

“10 hours of email coaching has been more impactful than years of psychotherapy.”

“Try not to write emails that are longer than 5 sentences.”

—James Schaffer

Key Milestones

  1. Why fascinated James about Classical Latin? What did it teach him about himself and his learning style?
  2. James has had at least 3 different inflection points in his career so far: bookkeeping, social justice advocacy, and now programming. 
  3. How did James decide to go to a boot camp? Why did he pick Flatiron?
  4. What was the Flatiron bootcamp experience like?
  5. After graduating from a bootcamp, James started freelancing. How does he find clients?
  6. Why is email coaching and inbox zero? And how has it been a game changer for James?

Additional Resources

James learned to code at the Flatiron Bootcamp –

Geoff Harcourt on Develomentor – CTO of Literacy Non-profit, CommonLit #48

What is inbox zero? –

You can find more resources in the show notes
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