Hi there, Community members! Welcome back to our ongoing series focused on our AppDynamics University instructors. This installment features Anna Schaller, her career journey, family influence, and robust volunteer work.
Please feel free to add your comments and questions for Anna and our Community moderators, below. We look forward to engaging with you!
– Johanna & Claudia
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In this post...
Anna poses for a photo in Japan, with Mt.Fuji looming nearbyHow did you get involved with technical instruction?
My major in college was computer science, which gave me my career as a Software Engineer. Having a family changed the pace of my career, but my “How does it work” mentality guided me through several career transitions including Engineering, Developer Relations, and Education. After shifting into a Training role, I was hooked, and haven’t looked back. I’ve been in this role for the last several years.
What has fed your interest in your work?
The challenge of understanding technology that’s new or evolving has kept me engaged with my work. The more impact it makes on the industry or community it serves, the more curious I am to understand how it fits into my landscape. Also having conversations with my kids, both of whom are engineers, keeps me up-to-date with the latest developments in the developer/technology space. These conversations also give me a chance to take pride in their accomplishments.
On a side note, my sons also decided to pursue engineering because of their introduction to technology at a young age. I spent 12 years in the mobile space. At different times I took them to work with me, where they had a chance to play with early prototypes of mobile devices. They loved it. I’m a true believer in corporate “Take Your Kids to Work” day.
What are some of your favorite teaching moments?
I’ve had many noteworthy teaching experiences, but the ones that stand out the most are when students engage with me, either on a personal level or on the technology that I’m teaching. I love the moment the light bulb goes off for a student, especially after fielding a question (or questions) that go beyond what’s in the material.
Teaching as a gateway to connecting
I also loved the travel part of teaching. For more than a few years I traveled internationally, which took me to parts of the world I would never have been to otherwise. Africa, Israel, Turkey, Indonesia.
Everywhere I went, the people were hospitable and kind, which helped me realize we have more in common than not. Even with language differences, we managed to find ways to communicate. At one point I was teaching through Google Translate, with students huddled over my phone to hear the translation in Japanese.
What are your top tips for maximizing learning in an AppDynamics instructor-led course?
Come to class with an open mind, free from distractions, and expect to learn something you didn’t know beforehand.
Some other factors a learner should keep in mind are:
We instructors discourage working during class time.
Dedicate the time to the class without other work going on.
You’ll be learning with other people with different levels of experience. However, you aren’t expected to know everything your peers do. We teach the class as if no one has any prior knowledge.
If it’s a private class that was organized by someone, we recommend having a designated team lead to help answer questions within the group’s own instance of the installation.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Family is top of the list, starting with my own. I also come from a big Irish family – five brothers and one sister. We are scattered throughout the United States but are extremely close.
Time spent giving to my community
Aside from spending time with family, I am a big participant and advocate of volunteering. I belong to an organization called the “Assistance League of Amador Valley” that supports giving back to my local community. That sense of filling a need or making someone else’s life a little better is extremely gratifying.
As part of that organization, I write featured articles for the public relations team. In a recent article, I highlighted a couple that owns a local restaurant called Vics All Star Kitchen. The owners, Laura and Ernesto, benefited from the organization’s Children's Clothing program years ago. They’ve come a long way but were grateful for the help at the time.
I also participate in the organization's program called Food4Families. As a volunteer for the program I buy specific non-perishables once a month and drop them off at a local food pantry. The pantry serves a few thousand every month, so these donations are welcomed.
Anna with the owners of “Vics All Star Restaurant”