Meet Our Mentors – Andrew Chang

Andrew is a senior at Stanford studying Computer Science and continuing for his Master’s degree. He grew up nearby in San Jose, but didn’t start coding until his freshman year in college. Just two years later he would be a Teaching Assistant in that same intro class! Andrew works with some of the most advanced Breakout Mentors students who have been coding for years, tackling subjects like data science and web applications.

When did you start to code?

I started to code in my freshman year, when I took Stanford’s introductory computer science course CS106A. I had actually never coded before then, but I had heard great things about the class and immediately enjoyed the creative and logical processes needed for programming. I’ve ended up taking at least one computer science course per quarter since then, and I am now a computer science major!

What do you find rewarding about teaching kids how to code?

I’ve always enjoyed teaching. In my senior year of high school, I tutored junior high and high school students in subjects ranging from biology to pre-calculus, and I am currently a TA for the CS106 program at Stanford. Specifically, I find teaching programming to younger kids extremely rewarding, because it’s a subject that isn’t the focal point of school curriculum. Being able to help them through problems and projects makes me really makes me feel like I’m helping along in their development and expanding their wealth of knowledge.

What advice do you have for kids learning how to code?

My advice would be, don’t be scared! In high school, people were always talking about how difficult it was to program and that was intimidating for someone who had never even attempted a single line of code. Programming is a creative process and allows you to do so many things, so the earlier you start, the more chances you have to learn and explore new material.