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Let’s be honest. Teaching young minds, day in and day out, the nuances of beginning to advanced-level coding isn’t for everyone—we get that. It requires a dedicated group of code-driven individuals with a simple yet powerful set of characteristics: patience, passion, flexibility, commitment, and warmth.

Meet some of the individuals embodying that mixture and powering the UCode engine.

Matt “In The Hat”

Matt “In The Hat”

Instructor Since April 2013

“What’s under that hat, Matt?” Catch Matt NOT wearing his iconic hat and you win a prize! (We’re kidding) Not only drawing attention for his stylish fashion sense, veteran instructor Matt also garners admiration from students, parents, and fellow instructors for his upbeat and passionate teaching methods. UCode sets the instructor bar at “Matt.”

Specializing in video game design & programming in C++, among other languages, Matt divvies up his time outside of instructing between Esports (competitive multiplayer electronic sports) like League of Legends, and tabletop gaming such as DnD (Dungeons & Dragons).

My first line of code: At age 20, Matt wrote his first line using the “Hello, World!” program.

Fun facts: He runs his owns DnD tournament every Monday with other instructors to help build and foster instructor camaraderie. Matt shares, “We’re all friends and hang out outside of work. This helps cultivate a collaborative and supportive atmosphere where everyone operates towards the same ultimate goal: providing students with the best and most effective code-based learning experience.”

Vianca “Vee”

Vianca “Vee”

Instructor Since August 2013

A Jack(ie)-of-all-trades, Vianca can do a lot of everything. Need a custom garment? She sews. Need a website? She writes code in multiple programming languages. Need a stunning background for that website? She’s got a Bachelor of Science degree in Game Art & Design from the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles.

From HTML/CSS, JavaScript, C++, App Inventor and Unreal, to whipping up spectacularly vivid art in Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, 3ds Max, and Maya, Vianca’s fun, creative sensibilities spill over onto everything she creates, and every student she instructs.

My first line of code: At age 21, Vianca, like Matt, wrote her first line with the “Hello, World!” program.

Fun facts: Vianca continues to fulfill her passion for art through personal website and game design projects, as well as painting with acrylics and water-based colors. Oh, and she gardens, too!

Kristian

Kristian

Instructor Since April 2014

He likes short walks (and long runs) on the beach. Really. We wouldn’t call him a health nut, but when he’s not in a UCode campus strengthening future coders’ young minds, you can find Kristian running, swimming, and staying physically tip-top all around the L.A. area.

Hailing from the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles, Kristian specializes in a multitude of programming languages, from Unity, C-Suite, C++, Unreal, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Phaser, Scratch, and more!

My first line of code: You guessed it—Kristian started with the “Hello, World!” program.

Fun facts: Be on the lookout for Kristian’s next game! He’s currently working on publicly releasing several video games.

Frank “Takeshi”

Frank “Takeshi”

Instructor Since August 2014

Don’t challenge him to a dance-off, you might regret it. Once a professional dancer of various forms and styles in his past life (he even flew to Dubai for a gig), Frank now helps young minds move to the beat of programming.

Specializing in general operating system and game programming, Frank’s path to coding began at the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. Outside of being a student instructor, Frank enjoy creating websites, building his own computers from the ground up, and developing games through Unity.

My first line of code: Just like our other instructors, Frank started with the “Hello, World!” program.

Fun facts: If you do manage to beat him in a dance-off, watch out! Inspired by the late-great Bruce Lee, Frank earned a black belt in Taekwondo (don’t worry, he’s a gentle soul). He was also an outdoor camp counselor and received four highly esteemed pins (sailing, horseback riding, sports, and archery) recognizing his abilities. If you’re not familiar with outdoor camp pins, these are some huge achievements.

Matthew “Akai”

Matthew “Akai”

Instructor Since October 2014

With an abundance of Matt’s and Matthew’s here at UCode, this Matthew was donned with the nickname “Akai.” Why? Akai’s Japanese translation is the color red, Matthew’s favorite color in the whole wide world!

With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from California State University, Fullerton, Matthew has a firm and unrelenting grip on such languages as C++, JavaScript, Phaser, Python, as well as website and game design and programming. Constantly working to improve his know-how, Matthew is currently working on adding Unity (a critically acclaimed game development platform) under his already burgeoning tool belt of skills.

My first line of code: Surprise, surprise! Matthew started with the “Hello, World!” program 🙂

Fun facts:  Matthew’s a devote player of the widely popular MMORPG, Final Fantasy 14. Though his playing time has been limited as of late, he still finds time throughout his busy instructor schedule to conquer the vast FF14 realm. His interests also extend beyond the computer screen, as his artistic side has him crafting vividly pixelated perler bead art..

Brian “Gus the Bus”

Brian “Gus the Bus”

Instructor Since November 2014

Could you tell from his “Gus the Bus” moniker that Brian’s a music production buff? Yeah, neither could we. Teaching the next wave of programmers by day and mixing rhythmic electronic beats by night, Brian has a perpetual love for all things code and music. His passion also includes programming text-based network games, running various services on Linux machines, and reading fiction at a voracious level.

A U.C. Santa Cruz-product with a B.A. in Psychology and currently in the hunt for his M.A. in Clinical Psychology, Brian’s interest in the field — in a somewhat ironic fashion —  stemmed from his affinity for computers. “I’ve always been very tech-oriented! When I found out that computer scientists were using models of memory and decision making in the brain to develop new technologies, I found a new avenue to explore,” Brian shares. “I think that learning to program is most known for its increases in critical thinking skills, but it doesn’t get enough credit as a creative booster. When you have the tools to program, every problem is like starting with a blank canvas only limited by your imagination.”

My first line of code: If you guessed “Hello, World!” you just earned an invisible high five!

Fun facts: We’re still trying to figure out why he was donned the “Gus the Bus” nickname. We’re not sure if he even knows.