Hi, I’m Mike! I have a degree in computer science from Caltech and worked for many years in scientific programming at JPL/NASA, and now I teach computer science to middle school and high school students in the Pasadena, California area and surrounding communities such as La Cañada Flintridge and San Marino.
Computer science (CS) is the theory behind writing programs and involves the study of complex interactions of code. It is often taught in high school and college classes, such as AP Computer Science A. Professional programmers are often asked to demonstrate their knowledge of it in technical interviews in order to get a programming job.
Computer science problems require creativity and a high degree of logical thinking. Good computer scientists creatively recombine or invent ideas. If your child enjoys this kind of problem solving in science or math, they are likely to enjoy computer science.
I teach CS in a way that makes it fun and engaging. I have my students write programs to solve “puzzle” problems that range from easy (right for beginners) to very challenging (like programming competition problems).
Solving puzzle problems and competition problems is a great way to increase your “programming IQ,” making all other kinds of programming easier.
Here’s an example of a website that offers puzzle and challenge problems: Project Euler
While I enjoy writing games, apps, and web pages and have lots of experience with them, computer science and competitive coding is my passion, so I focus on that.
But if your child is excited about building games, apps, and web pages, they may also love computer science. You can schedule a free 30-minute session to discover more.
I offer a free phone consultation to help you understand what the lessons will cover, what skills your child will gain, and how long it might take to reach your goals. I also offer a free 30-minute lesson where your child and I will do some programming together. This is a good way to find out if they enjoy it and to evaluate their skill level.
Programming and computer science skills are not only becoming more and more in-demand, but they are essential for succeeding in the economy of the future. By building your child’s interest in computer programming early, you help prepare them for high school and college CS classes, programming competitions, and their future career.
For kids who really want a challenge, there are programming competitions. There are usually different divisions for beginners and experts so everyone can compete at their level.
The problems are challenging, but the rules of the competition are simple. The competition will take place at a certain time for a certain number of hours. Your child can work on their home computer and, using a web page, send code to the competition’s servers to be scored.
The premier U.S. programming competition for pre-college students is the U.S.A. Computing Olympiad.
Mike is a rare find. He has helped my son (junior high schooler) already tremendously even in his first lesson. He is analytical and can quickly assess student’s level of understanding. With that he was able to explain difficult matter to my son in a way he understood and appreciated. IMHO this is in part, if not entirely, due to his outstanding academic and professional training. My son went on to get a 5 on the AP Computer Science.
—Steve, father of high school student
Mike has been a great tutor for my son. He’s professional, knowledgeable and patient. He pays attention to the details and is meticulous in his approach and expectations. My son has benefited greatly from working with Mike and is well prepared for more advanced classes and even an internship or coding job, while still in high school. We are so happy we found Mike, and have recommended him to some other friends, who have also benefited from his experience and methods. If you are looking for a tutor that is thorough, competent and thoughtful, Mike is the guy!
—Bonnie, mother of 10th grade student
Mike teaches competitive programming to my son who’s in 8th grade. Mike brings a unique, much sought after skill that is very hard to find. He understands how to teach young minds and focuses on learning by discovery rather than a formulaic approach to problem solving. He leads an interactive problem-solving session with my son that challenges him to think hard about multiple approaches to solving. My son has made tremendous progress in a short amount of time and his coaching with Mike has enabled him to qualify for the USACO Silver level.
—Badri, father of 8th grader