Module 1 Week 1


This week has two activities:

  • Kickoff to Mod 1 provides the overview of professional development at Turing and understand what you’ll work on this module. The session takes place live on Zoom, but you can view this video for an overview of PD throughout the program.
  • Developer Identity: Understanding Your Strengths lesson:

Learning Goals

By the end of this lesson, you should have accomplished these learning goals:

  • Understand what a strength is and what it can look like in practice
  • Identify your own top strengths
  • Identify challenges with using your strengths
  • Plan for how to discuss strengths and working preferences
  • Analyze opportunities for professional growth

After you complete this lesson, you’ll synthesize your learning in this Exit Ticket.

Please allow yourself about 20-30 mins to complete the following:

Week 1 Lesson - Developer Identity: Understanding Your Strengths

Lesson Plan (10-15 mins)

Please read through the lesson plan, watch the video lectures below, and complete this reflection sheet as you go.

Section 1: Introduction

For our first lesson in Mod 1, let’s talk about why we’re starting with discussing strengths. The core of developing yourself professionally is understanding yourself and being able to speak to to that understanding. You have to understand yourself in order to know what you’re striving towards professionally as well as how to advocate for what you want.

These abilities will not only help you at Turing and serve as the foundation for your job search by helping you:

  • Create a concise elevator pitch
  • Have a compelling answer to “tell me about yourself” question
  • Engage & connect with others
  • Create a powerful statement or summary for your resume, LinkedIn and alumni profiles

How can we activate our strengths in order to use them for these purposes? Use the 3 C’s as a framework:

  1. Clarify: Take the time to learn what your strengths are.
  2. Communicate: Share your strengths effectively in-person conversations, on paper, and online
  3. Capitalize: Find opportunities that will showcase your strengths. Consider:
    • What kind of role can you take on in project groups?
    • How could you showcase your strengths in the Turing community?
    • How will your strengths help you as a member of your cohort?

We’ll utilize this framework to build an understanding of your strengths today to serve as a foundation for all of your professional development at Turing.

Section 2: Defining Your Strengths & Assessing Your Skills

It can be easier said than done to identify what our strengths are. So, to help us break them down, we can think about them about our strengths as a combination of:

  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Talents

Skills are something you have learned to do well

  • A way to articulate this is by using a statement starting with “I can…”
  • Some examples: “I can help customers with their problems” or “I can operate specialized equipment” or “I can manage a team.”

Knowledge is something you know or have expertise in from years of study and practice

  • A way to articulate this is by using a statement starting with “I know…”
  • Some examples: “I know how to speak another language” or “I know how to solve complex math equations” or “I know how to fix a car engine.”

Talent refers to something that you have a natural ability to do well. Another way to think about it is something you were born with and have a natural preference towards.

  • A way to articulate this is by using a statement starting with “I am…”
  • Some examples: “I am a problem-solver” or “I am a leader” or “I am a relationship-builder.”

Seems easy enough, right?

Again, breaking down our strengths can be difficult, so let’s start with looking at some examples.

Example #1

You heard from our executive director, Jeff Casimir, at the State of Turing talk. Often when people hear him speak, they remark on how passionate he is. Why is that? Let’s break it down:

  • Here his skill relates to his public speaking abilities. Jeff has honed those over the years in conference talks, on panels, in podcasts, and in speaking with students and stakeholders throughout the years at Turing.

  • His knowledge can often be summed up by his “big ideas” (his words). He is a prolific reader, especially around topics of organizational leadership and best practices for schools and organizations interested in social change. He creates connections between these ideas in his blog posts and speeches.

  • Now that brings us to his talent, which in this context relates to his ability to engage and connect with others. He’s a connector and educator.

  • Combining these 3 things leads us to the strength known as Inspirational Leadership, which is defined as the ability to uplift, enliven, fill, and empower people with a compelling vision. As the founder of several programs, Jeff has cultivated and used this strength to not only further his vision but get others involved in executing it as well.

Example #2

Let’s look at another strength. A common strength that students have is Persistence, which is defined as the drive to firmly continue in a course of action, despite difficulties, opposition, or warning; stubborn determination. What does this look like in practice?

  • A skill that would contribute to this is detail-oriented planning. If you’re someone who uses a planner, likes to write to-do lists, and approaches projects from a backwards planning stance, this might describe you!

  • The knowledge needed here would be around knowing how to prioritize, which comes down to the ability to know which task to focus on at a time based on practice.

  • The natural talent that might come into play here is the ability to maintain focus during arduous tasks.

Put together, these create the strength of persistence.

Additional Strategies

Breaking down strengths in this way can be easier when we already know what the strength is, but how can you approach identifying your strengths on your own?

  1. Use the SIGN method:

    • Success: Using your strengths makes you feel successful
    • Instinct: Activities you are naturally drawn to
    • Growth: Where you learn the most, come up with new ideas, and have the best insights
    • Needs: Where you feel the need to spend the most time
  2. Use others to find your strengths:

    • What do others ask for your help with?
    • What do others want you to teach them?
    • What do you receive compliments for?

Check for Understanding (10-15 mins)

  1. Complete this exit ticket. Completion of this exit ticket is required for your professional development this module.

  2. Complete this reflection sheet. This is for your own learning, and you do not need to turn this in.

Due Dates & Reminders

  • Complete the exit ticket for today’s lesson by EOD Friday of Week 1.