Learning To Code

From Student to Teacher: Maya Man

Flatiron School / 26 June 2015

For Maya Man, a two-week introductory programming class at The Flatiron School literally changed her life. Originally, Maya had planned to study Physics at Pomona College in Southern California. She changed her plans, however, once she started programming and realized she could combine her creative and technical interests by studying computer science. She will return to Flatiron School this summer to help teach and inspire kids.

How did you find Flatiron?
I’ve always been really interested in math, logical thinking, and problem solving. I had never tried computer science. I figured before I went off to college I wanted to give computer science and programming a try, in case it was something I would be interested in pursuing. I went online to find a course to do over the summer. My mom would already be staying in New York City for a few weeks with my sister, so I signed up.

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I learned a lot, definitely. It really changed the whole path I was on. After The Flatiron School, I switched over and decided to study Computer Science in college which I now really love.

What do you enjoy about computer science?
I never felt I existed on one end of the spectrum in terms of science versus the humanities or liberal arts versus technology. Computer Science is really this great fusion between both the liberal arts and technology. It was really exciting for me to discover because it allowed me to be creative and use both of my interests at the same time.

That’s a brilliant answer, by the way.
Well it’s true. That’s why I love it.

What were you worried about before starting to learn programming at The Flatiron School?
There’s definitely a stereotype about people who are interested in pursuing computer science and programming and I did feel I didn’t exactly fit that stereotype. I’ve always been interested in fashion which is not typical of what you think of as a developer. I was worried maybe you need to be a certain type of person to program.

Once I got into the class, I realized that all those sorts of concerns are invalid. Programming isn’t what a lot of people think it is. It’s great to realize that even though you don’t feel like you fit a certain image of what people think of as a programmer, it’s still something you can pursue.

How did you get to come back as a TA?
I was looking for something that would help me learn and grow in my knowledge of computer science this summer. So I emailed Victoria, Daniel, and Lyel, who were all very welcoming, and I  told them Flatiron really did change my life and that I wanted inspire other students and help out this summer. And they said of course I could come back and TA. So I’ll be back for training soon.

What do you think you’ll do with computer science programming?
I’m not really sure what sort of developing I want to do. Definitely something in the computer science realm, something that combines creativity with coding where every day I get to do both things I love. Every summer I’ll be exploring different opportunities.

Based on what you’ve learned so far, what advice would you give to others thinking about learning programming?
It’s really important to remember that, even if you are sort of skeptical of programming and computer science, it’s really great to try. It’s something where you can put your personality into whatever you’re making. It gives you the power to make so many things your own.

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