Interview with Andrew Chen: KTBYTE Student, Instructor, and Developer

Andrew Chen has contributed to the KTBYTE community for years as a student, teaching assistant, instructor, and curriculum developer. Most recently he was invaluable in helping our staff with a curriculum overhaul for our Fundamental-level classes. In this interview KTBYTE Instructor Marc Bucchieri chats with Andrew about his work with us and his plans for the future.

Interview Questions:

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself!
    • Andrew is a Senior in high school, and his favorite subjects are Chemistry and Calculus. In his free time he enjoys playing piano and percussion and solving the Rubik’s Cube
  • How did you first get involved with KTBYTE?
    • “I took CS01a with Chi Bong in 2016 then went on to take 4 other classes with KTBYTE, including some USACO prep classes. This was my first formal computer science learning experience!”
    • Andrew later joined our instructor team as a teaching assistant and junior instructor. When we began our curriculum overhaul this past summer Andrew was unmatched in the creativity and effort he showed with creating new problem sets. To date he has made over 50 new problems sets for our beginner classes.
  • Do you have any favorite problem sets that you’ve worked on?
    • Andrew loved making the Gas Particles problem set to help explain concepts he learned in his high school Chemistry class. He also channeled his love for music theory to make a Musical Intervals problem set! Andrew especially enjoyed connecting with KTBYTE instructors who like to nerd out over similar topics including music theory
  • What’s one thing outside of coding classes that KTBYTE has prepared you for?
    • “In the past I was never as interested in math. As I got better at problem-solving through computer science I learned to approach problems in new ways and apply concepts to new situations.”
  • How do you see students benefit from our classes?
    • “Learning coding for our students isn’t just about learning to program. The benefit of our classes comes from the experience of constant problem-solving and learning to optimize your solutions. Our curriculum really equips students not just with knowledge, but with the skills to optimize and find the best path to a solution.”
  • What have you been most challenged by while learning to program?
    • “The hardest challenge I’ve encountered was learning to optimize. This really became apparent when I was preparing for the USACO contest. Joining a computing competition was really helpful for learning to optimize my programs and make my code more efficient.”
  • Favorite thing about KTByte?
    • “KTBYTE has such a diverse array of classes and gives its students so many opportunities. I never thought when I started coding that someday I would be making problem sets for other students to learn from, or that I would be captain of my schools computing competition team.”
  • What plans or goals do you have for after high school?
    • “I really want to continue my education at university through a major in Computer Science. From my teaching experience here I feel like I’ve acquired the skills to be a qualified undergraduate teaching assistant. I’ve also fallen in love with the learning environment [at KTBYTE] and want to keep contributing however I can.”
  • What stands out as a highlight of your time at KTBYTE?
    • “It’s an understatement to say KTBYTE is a place for opportunity. I really did not expect to gain as much as I have with competitive programming. If you had asked me five years ago I never would have guessed that I’d be a leader of the competitive programming team at my school or teaching computer science.”

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