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Announcing our new interview series, Member Spotlight: Instructor Edition, focused on our AppDynamics University instructors. Get acquainted with the professionals who are teaching instructor-led (ILT*) AppDynamics University courses. 

*ILT courses are exclusive to our Premium and Multi-User University subscription holders. Visit our site for more information on subscription types.

Introducing Angela Lang for our first article in the Member Spotlight | Instructor Edition series.

Please feel free to add your comments and questions for Angela and our Community moderators, below. We look forward to engaging with you! 

In this post...

Angela Lang, AppDynamics University technical instructorAngela Lang, AppDynamics University technical instructor

Your work as an Instructor

Tell us about the road that led you to AppDynamics

I’ve been working at AppDynamics for almost nine years.

I’m originally from Texas, but prior to moving near San Francisco, I lived in many places including Oxford, England, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Sydney, Australia. During the span of my career as a trainer, I was able to teach students in a plethora of regions–Hong Kong, Milan, Cypress, Paris, Sydney, Caracas, and Munich, to name a few. These experiences have broadened my sense of learning and how classroom environments can transcend cultures. I love that I can host people from all over the world in one classroom!

I’ve spent most of my career either programming or teaching people how to program. Prior to joining AppDynamics, I wrote software for emergency departments. The product was used by doctors and nurses to document patient visits and place orders for client medications, lab tests, bedsheets, surgical instruments, etc. The software I wrote was part of a larger solution that altogether helped transform emergency department care across the US. As an example, average wait time at one hospital went from 6 hours down to 32 minutes, even with increased patient levels.

How did you get involved with technical instruction?

While I had taken a couple of programming classes at university, my journey into technical training really began in my first job out of college. I majored in Finance and originally wanted to work with numbers and money. I started working at Electronic Data Systems as an analyst in their Accounting and Finance Development rotational program. I was immediately turned off by the many manual and repetitive tasks. Instead, I focused on automating a lot of their process, learning to write scripts to replace these inefficient steps.

Once I completed an additional bootcamp, I was able to successfully shift into the programming side at work. I always loved training, including working as a tutor in high school and university, so when presented with the opportunity to teach computer programming, I jumped at it! Throughout the years, I gained experience teaching technical programs, leading me to where I am now.

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Tips for successful learning

What are your top tips for maximizing learning in an AppDynamics instructor-led course?

  • Get a good night's sleep! It’s been proven that rest aids in better focus and learning retention.
  • Make sure you have all the time needed for the course. This means, as much as possible, avoiding extraneous multi-tasking or attending meetings during the scheduled course time slots.
  • Eliminate external distractions. Turn off chat notifications, work from a quiet setting, or keep your phone on silent mode.
  • Let your manager or team members know that you’re in training. That way you aren’t double-booked or worried about responding to messages while you’re in class.
  • Ask questions! If something doesn’t make sense, ask. Give feedback because you’ll get more out of the course that way. Training is a safe space and if you’re confused about a topic, it’s more than likely that the other students are too!

Has your past experience teaching in different areas shaped the way you teach now?

Students teach me about cultural norms! For example, once while teaching a class while living in Australia, I referred to something as “fluff”. The students all started laughing. Little did I know that in Australia, the slang term “fluff” also refers to “passing gas”...  I also came to discover that the way I visually numbered two items (by extending my index finger, then middle finger, like a reverse peace sign) is also equivalent to the middle-finger in the States. I now start enumerating with my thumb instead of index finger .  

Teaching people around the globe has definitely opened up conversations about different perspectives, and I incorporate those thought-processes into my teaching methodology.

Any final words of advice for students?

I like to remind my students that when they’re learning something new, they should try remembering another time in the past where they were exposed to a new skill or subject (Imagine trying to drive for the first time). Was it easy? Probably not. You learn it and then it will become easier with repetition.

If you are ever intimidated by a class, remember how hard it was in the moment and how much simpler it is where you are now. You can do it!