Interview

Alumni Story: Meet The Physics Student at UCLA

Recently, we caught up with Adrian, a first-year Physics student at UCLA, who attended a Fire Tech course as a teen and has now just taught his first course with us remotely. Continue reading as he answers our questions about his experience as both a student and tutor with Fire Tech.

Adrian Lam, Fire Tech Student Alumni & Tutor

Why did you decide to do a Fire Tech course? 

I heard about Fire Tech through a friend of mine back in school. I was looking to get into coding but I didn’t get what it was. I remember watching videos on YouTube, I’d been on some websites and I fiddled around with some apps from the app store but I still didn’t get it. I hadn’t had much contact with tech, it was more on the science side at school. Fire Tech sounded like a good way to get involved. It was one of the first times I got into learning properly about tech, coding, and software development.

Which course did you do and why?

I took the Teen Coding with Python course when I was about 14. At the time, I didn’t know that much about coding but because of the apps I was using, they were teaching in Python, so I chose that particular course as I wanted to learn more.

Do you have any tips for children/teens looking to learn tech but are unsure of how to get started?

The best way to do it is to go to watch YouTube videos, attend courses like Fire Tech and build up your understanding of what coding actually is. Once you have more of an understanding, you can start playing around with it, and I think when most people flourish is when they can actually start using their skills to make more complicated projects. When you have the knowledge to use libraries like pygame, that’s when it gets exciting. One thing I went on to do was make games in my spare time, and I used the concepts I had learnt at Fire Tech to be able to build them. 

What highlights do you have as a student doing a Fire Tech course?

One of the highlights academically was on the first or second day, we were going through if statements, and it really clicked with me! Once I had learnt more about it and applied the tools, I realised there are a lot of crossovers with maths and other subjects too.

Now that I actually understood how it [coding] works, I thought, I can totally do it. I get it. Thanks to Fire Tech!

Adrian Lam, Fire Tech Alumni

What highlights do you have while teaching at Fire Tech?

It was when I got to see what the students actually made for the first time, teaching them and seeing their progress is great, but seeing them then use the skills they learned and actually going beyond what I taught them. I think that’s probably the best part. A great example of a project was one of my students who made a horoscope personality test. They used machine learning and python to write a code that could predict your horoscope from the types of words you were saying.

How have the courses helped you later on in life?

It’s definitely given me a head start with a lot of things. I ended up doing a computer science GCSE and A-Level after the course. Having done python outside of school really helped me to get a head start but also learn the concepts a little earlier than most people. I’d definitely say knowing coding has really helped me boost my resume and just knowing how to code is just so important now. Especially in STEM and loads of other roles, they’re always looking for expertise in coding. 

And, now I’m studying for a Physics degree at UCLA and I’d say about 30% of it is coding. We work on various projects in Arduino and Python (see images below), combining both coding and physical coding. Fire Tech really helped me get here and I look forward to seeing where my skills take me.

About Fire Tech

Fire Tech’s online and in-person courses have a maximum of eight students to one teacher, are taught live by expert tutors from the UK’s leading universities, and give young people access to world-class technology courses. Discover our courses booking now.

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