April 23, 2018

iX Teacher Spotlight — Harris Robin Kalash — Full Stack Coding 2018

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"Web Development is problem-solving in its purest form. Software moves quickly, and there are almost always new challenges to tackle. This is what keeps me excited and up at 4 am debugging code."

Harris Robin Kalash

Harris Robin Kalash – iXperience Full Stack Coding Head Teacher, Lisbon 2018

Co-founder and CTO. Machine learning enthusiast. Queen fan, and former nomad. Harris Robin Kalash, Head Teacher for the iXperience Full Stack Coding course in Lisbon, possesses a wealth of skills and experience, and a rich past that makes a chat not only fun, but incredibly enlightening. Find out why he wants his students to be Google ninjas, how he thinks decentralized apps will change the Web Dev industry, and what his once piece of advice is for the class of 2018.

What are you working on now? Tell us about an exciting project that you’ve recently completed or are currently involved with.

Right now I’m working on Blueberry – a dynamic vehicle insurance network. What this means is that we are building an automobile insurance app that gives vehicle owners access to lower premiums every month, making claims easily, and receiving payouts faster. We will achieve this by using driving data to lower premiums, all the while keeping data safe and our customers in control of who it’s shared with.

What do you enjoy most about the Web Development industry?

Web Development is problem-solving in its purest form. Software moves quickly, and there are almost always new challenges to tackle. This is what keeps me excited and up at 4 am debugging code. The constant gratification of learning something new and solving a new problem every day is almost as rewarding as teaching. Not to mention, it is arguably one of the best tools to possess today, and for the foreseeable future (at least until AI makes us all obsolete). As Marc Andreesen said in 2011, “Software is eating the world.”

Why did you decide to get involved with teaching and how do you continue to keep things fresh?

Helping someone understand a concept or learn something new is very rewarding, not to mention it’s a great way to solidify your own knowledge and go back to first principles. When it comes to teaching web development, it’s quite easy to keep things fresh because things change very often. That’s why my biggest advice to my students has always been to learn how to learn first and foremost.

What are you most looking forward to about iXperience Lisbon this summer?

Seeing new faces, making new friends,  having an impact on people’s lives, and helping my students surpass their expectations through coding.

How do you see the Web Dev industry changing in the next year to five years? What skills will professionals need to have?

Right now, the biggest shifts in web development are around Web Assembly (or Wasm) and Decentralized applications. For starters, Web Assembly has huge implications for the web. It is a run code written in multiple languages at near native speed. In other words, you will be able to run client code on the browser that feel completely native, this could not have been possible without it. It also brings languages like Rust, C/C++ to the web but it is meant to be complementary to Javascript.

Finally, decentralized applications also impact how we model our infrastructure and our apps. It has implications on standard web patterns that we will have to rethink. It is new and no one really knows all the best practices, so it will be interesting to see this evolve over the next few years.

What skills will iX students have after graduating from your class?

My iX students will be able to develop Full Stack applications. Most importantly, they will develop their Google-ninja, and learning skills, so that they can keep growing after iX.

What’s one piece of advice that you have for the iX class of 2018?

Find three hobbies you love: One to make you money. One to keep you in shape. And one to be creative.

What are your ‘desert island’ books or movies?

"Debt: The First 5,000 Years" as well "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies".

What would students be surprised to learn about you?

Until the age of 20, I had never stayed in the same country for more than 3 years (my dad's job meant that we were always on the move). I also speak 3 languages fluently: English, French, and Arabic, and used to be a hardcode gamer with professional e-sports in mind.

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