SJ is a recent graduate from University of Texas at Austin who is planning to next obtain a Computer Science Masters degree from Georgia Tech. He is a specialist on our Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning team, and since he has such an engaging personality, we chose him to run several of our small group workshops. His personal hands-on project experience is perfect for the wide variety of projects our advanced high school students are creating.
When did you start to code?
I began my coding journey in the 8th grade with an online Java course from Helsinki University. By 9th grade, I was diving into Machine Learning through a course offered by Stanford. Today, I primarily work with C++ and Python.
What do you find rewarding about teaching kids how to code?
My introduction to programming and machine learning was a solo endeavor. Being able to provide the mentorship to young students that I once wished for myself is truly rewarding. I cherish the opportunity to guide and support them on their coding journey.
What advice do you have for kids learning how to code?
Embarking on a coding journey is thrilling, but it’s essential to remember a few things:
- Pace yourself. Everyone learns differently, and that’s okay.
- Embrace mistakes. Every error is an opportunity to grow. Even the best programmers have faced countless challenges and have emerged stronger from them.
- Don’t get too hung up on the language you start with, be it C++, Python, Scratch, or any other. A proficient coder can adapt to and learn multiple languages.
- Prioritize good coding habits early on, like writing clear comments.
- And last but not least, never hesitate to reach out when you’re stuck. We mentors are here to guide and assist, not to judge. Your growth is our primary concern!