April 9, 2024

Instructor Q&A with Tomas Martinez: Learning at Atlas School

Instructor Q&A with Tomas Martinez: Learning at Atlas School

Q: Can you describe the typical learning format at Atlas School? How is Atlas School unique?

Tomas: Some students struggle in traditional learning environments when their focus is spread thin across multiple differing subjects. They are expected to handle numerous concurrent topics at the same time, each with their own textbooks, lectures, notes, etc. This process inherently involves a lot of context switching, the mental disruption of switching between tasks.
Several studies have shown that context switching can contribute to increased stress and decreased productivity, but it’s baked into the traditional education setup. Having to switch so much can put students at a disadvantage, and result in poor information retention. 

At Atlas School, we focus on a peer and project-based learning style. Students embark on an industry-aligned education in which topics are laid out and focused on one at a time. The structure also means students progress through their education together, further helping each other work through those same topics. On top of that, our projects are hands-on, so you are actively applying knowledge as you’re learning. 

This all results in a more productive learning environment, which sees our students develop a stronger grasp of concepts and learning styles which stay with them throughout their careers.

Q: How does Atlas School ensure its curriculum equips students with the practical skills needed for the tech industry as a whole?

Tomas: At Atlas School, we believe simulating an industry environment is the best way to prepare students for real world work. In my opinion, this is one of Atlas’s best qualities compared to traditional colleges. Our teaching style doesn’t feature boring lectures or repetitive standardized testing. Instead, we pride ourselves on hosting live coding demos and interactive learning experiences that show practical tutorials.

Additionally, our comprehensive educational program has students testing new topics and ideas in a realistic setting. You will have the space to learn however works best for you, but will still have resources available when you need them. We prepare students to graduate and hit the ground running upon entering the workforce. That is exactly what tech companies want from their entry-level talent, and we seek to deliver that with our students.

Q: How does Atlas School prepare students for specific tech careers?

Tomas: Our programs offer several specializations that are in-demand not just here in Tulsa, but throughout the software engineering market.
We equip students with highly sought after skills, and give them chances to put their developing talents into practice. Students often shine the most during their final capstone project, and are able to display the full extent of their abilities as they collaborate with students across different specializations to build a functioning product prototype. Students are faced with real-world problems, and given the opportunity to develop real-world solutions throughout their student experience.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to highlight about the learning format at Atlas School that would be informative for prospective students?

Tomas: The culture at Atlas is such an underrated benefit of the program. We work tirelessly to create an environment where students can thrive not only as individuals, but as collective members of our community. 

Students have formed personal and professional bonds with each other in a manner which I’ve never experienced. Imagine 20 months of working shoulder to shoulder with like-minded, ambitious, and similarly-talented individuals. Having so much interaction and opportunity to learn with each other often means that students grow their skills in line with each other. Their leveling up rubs off on each other and creates a collective growth which is special.

I cannot stress this enough, this environment reminds me of Tony Hawk and the Venice Beach skaters in the 90s, or Kelly Slater and other surfers in Hawaii. Having true camaraderie and shared ambitions with their peers enables our students to reach new heights.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering Atlas School as an alternative to a traditional college computer science program?

Tomas: Atlas School offers preparation for the workforce and an overall experience that is truly unique. I’ve personally experienced a short advanced coding bootcamp and a standard university degree. 

While I appreciate the power of bootcamps, Atlas School is not a bootcamp, and our 20 month program offers you more support over a longer period of time. Our program may be shorter than a 4-year college, but we are just as dedicated to preparing students for the entry-level careers that await them once they graduate.

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