by PDX Code Guild - Feb. 10, 2015
PDX Code Guild Welcomes Grant Holly

The Guild is growing! We’re so excited to announce that Grant Holly is joining our Instructing team!

Grant has an extensive teaching background. Most recently, he was a technical trainer and consultant. (That basically means he got to fly around and teach people how to use new technology and help them integrate it into their systems.) When we asked him to share a bit about himself, he said: "Some of my areas of expertise are databases, analytics, visualization, application development and support, and then throw in some networking, security, and admin stuff, sprinkle in a bit of hacking and that’s me".

It’s a big fun mess. If you want to get to know this “big fun mess,” check out this post, or find him at our Junior Developer Bootcamp and Monday Python Flying Circus.

Why are you passionate about teaching web development, specifically Python?

 I’m passionate about teaching first and foremost. Teaching web development is great because you get to see students make something that they can actually use. Web technology is also pervasive and in the forefront of our culture. Being able to dissect and understand the different working parts, well, let’s just say you’ll never see the web, or the world the same. For people with little or no exposure to coding, the idea of working on prime number factorization or sorting algorithms doesn’t have the same appeal as, say, “let’s make a web page where we can vote on and recommend everyone’s favorite bands.” Concerning Python, I think Python is a fun language to learn first. (To prove it, if you have Python – and you probably do – type “import antigravity” into the interactive prompt for a relevant XKCD. For the less adventurous, check out

On a more serious note, traditionally a lot of Computer Science is taught bottom up. Students typically learn C/C++/Java, and they study compilers, a healthy dose of mathematics, they might even do some assembly code, then it’s on to algorithms, data structures, before they dive deeply into higher level languages like Python. This bottom up approach tends to have a high burn out rate or seems too intimidating. Being an interpreted language, Python obscures a lot of that for new programmers. It is a great language because of its human readability and clean syntax, which makes it amazingly approachable. For someone who has never written a line of code before, being able to watch your first program run is an exciting experience that more people should have.


Why should someone join the Guild?

You should join the Guild because you are a self-motivator and are ambitious. I think the kind of person that is drawn to PDX Code Guild is someone who has maybe tried learning coding, or some other facet of computing, on their own, but they want to go to the next level and take a really deep dive. People want to learn how to think like a programmer more than just parrot what other people do, and that can be hard to learn on your own without any guidance or mentor-ship. PDX Code Guild really stands out because we give people current industry dev skills, but also teach systems-thinking, how to reason programmatically. Additionally we don’t just teach students to use today’s technology, but to create it and make it their own.

What’s the best part of Portland’s Technology Industry?

What stands out in my mind the most compared to the tech scene in other cities like San Francisco and Seattle is how welcoming and inclusive the community is here. For Portland’s size, there are a lot of really great active groups and meet-ups. I think that user groups can be really intimidating, or rather, there might be the expectation that they are unduly academic or technical, but here in Portland the community is very approachable and inviting to everyone.

What’s your favorite thing about Portland?

Where do I begin? I have lived in the NW most of my life, so I think I’m kind of spoiled. Having traveled quite a bit, I was always happy to see Mt. Hood on my approach back into beautiful Oregon. My short list of what I love about Portland is our unique, open culture and general “be yourself, especially if you are weird.” I also love being close to everything (wine country, mountains, the ocean, the Columbia, the forest, just to name a few.) And, when it comes to this city, I can’t leave out eating out in Portland – and it’s not too hard on my wallet. Nowhere I’ve been beats dining in Portland.