As you go through the labs and lessons here, you do much of the work on your own. While this isn’t a bad thing (time for independent thinking and debugging is necessary!), you are going to get stuck sometimes! As with any new skill you learn, coding can be difficult and frustrating. After a certain point, being stuck on a problem becomes counterproductive - you’re stuck and you need help getting unstuck!
Many aspects of learning are inherently social, and it helps to talk problems through with individuals who have experienced many of the same problems as you! That’s where Technical Coaches (TCs) come in.
TCs help students get unstuck and guide students through pair programming. TCs are a team of Flatiron graduates, so they are intimately familiar with Flatiron School's curriculum. Some are recent graduates, and some are currently at other development jobs outside of Flatiron. With this experience, they are perfectly suited to give you a nudge in the right direction! You’ll know you’re working with a TC if you see a blue Learn badge next to their profile picture.
One of the great things about AAQ is the responsiveness of TCs - when TCs are online, you can generally expect to receive a response within a couple of minutes, provided that it isn’t very busy! While you can open a question in AAQ at any time of day, TCs are only available for certain hours of the day. TCs generally support students through chat in AAQ and through 20-minute pairing sessions over Zoom. You can ask a question by clicking the purple “Ask A Question” button in the top right of your current lesson or lab.
Questions must be related to the current lesson or lab that you are working on. AAQ does not support questions related to portfolio projects, code challenges, or other personal projects.
AAQ exists to help Flatiron students learn to debug their issues successfully. This gets easier with practice! Whenever possible, you should try to troubleshoot your issue independently first before seeking help.
Some examples of independent troubleshooting might look like:
That being said, sometimes you are just stuck and truly need a hand - if you have tried the above solutions for 20-30 minutes, please feel free to open a question! We are happy to help. This article provides some pointers on how to ask a question effectively.
Technical Coaches provide support for the programs listed in this article. At any given time there may be 2-5 TCs online; staffing is based on how busy it typically is during that time of day. Sometimes it gets very busy in AAQ unexpectedly! At any given time, there may be anywhere from 1-15 active questions (sometimes more!). Please be patient with us as we try to help.
The goal at AAQ is to help students learn how to think critically about code - this doesn’t happen if we give you answers directly! We use a few different general strategies to help accomplish this goal:
Ask A Question is here to help support you as you continue your journey to learn to code. While ultimately you must hold yourself accountable for learning the concepts in this course, and for developing your debugging skills as a programmer, we are here to support you! If you are stuck, do not hesitate to ask for help!