Teaching Programming To A Highly Motivated Beginner
March 2012 (perspective of a Ph.D. student)
I reflect on my experiences teaching computer programming to a smart and motivated entrepreneur who had no prior programming experience. Within six to nine months, my student was able to build a full-featured web application and develop the ability to seek out and learn advanced material on his own, thereby leaving me unemployed but very proud!
For the past nine months, I have been teaching programming to Brian Goler, a veteran San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur with an extensive background in marketing, sales, and product development, but no prior programming experience. Within a few months, he was able to build SwearBuy, a web application where people can share reviews of products that they love.
More importantly, he gained the ability to seek out and learn more advanced technical material on his own. My biggest contribution was guiding him over the hurdles that usually demoralize beginners. This article is a retrospective of my teaching experiences.