A particular way of being human

Mischa Saunders graduated Enspiral Dev Academy in March 2017, and by October he’d already paid back his $11,000 investment in the course. We talked to Mischa about his journey and what life is like now.

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Mischa Saunders at Dev Academy Wellington

“On a personal level I signed up to Dev Academy because I wanted to learn the way of thinking that I experienced in conversations with some of the teachers. In particular, their systematic approach to problem solving. On a professional level I wanted to create a solid income stream that would provide me some freedom within the confines of the modern economy.

Since graduating from Dev Academy, I’m now working to build a psychometric assessment web app. I’m working as a freelance contractor with support from a senior developer. I’ve been very lucky to have their support and guidance.

The app was a new project so I’ve been able to build it from scratch and practice all of the different parts, which is great. I get to choose where and when I work. But it is a challenge, however, to be working without a team of developers. This is something that I miss.

I really appreciate that Dev Academy was as rigorous about how we worked together as it was about what we learned. This was done in simple ways using tools like Trello and GitHub for effective and efficient project management and source control, and through content in the curriculum geared specifically towards understanding the lived experiences of others.

On the whole Dev Academy was very positive for me. In particular, I’ve long identified as a self-directed learner but the rigorous environment pushed me to grow way faster than I would have otherwise.

The accelerated pace of learning meant that I was always amazed at how quickly I was picking up new skills, but also constantly struggling with feeling completely lost again at the beginning of every week.

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Mischa at Dev Academy

For me, Dev Academy was about learning how to channel my particular way of being human through the tools and practices of modern web development. What I gained was both the hard skills to understand and use these tools, and a more nuanced appreciation of the evolving paradigm within which web development is taking place.

If I were to change one thing about tech, I’d say that the technical growth we as a society are currently experiencing is arguably not improving the lives of people. It is simple converting more aspects of the “real” world to the digital world.

I would love to see tech slow down and become more interested in the experiences people are having, rather than asking “what could we build that would make money?”

With the skills I learned at Dev Academy, I’d like to tackle this problem in my professional work one day. But for now, the focus is on honing my skills, increasing my comfort level, and learning learning learning. Dev Academy was a great experience for showing me how to do this.”


If you’d like to gain the tools to solve problems with technology, click here to learn more about Dev Academy. If you apply now, you could complete the remote preparation phase in time for bootcamp in March 2018, and be graduating with the skills to become a junior web developer by May.