Meet Austin Gibbons, a senior at the University of Utah majoring in Computer Science, who has such a love for Computer Science that he got approval to tutor other Computer Science majors before his shifts at Education at Work. We chatted with Austin, who has been employed at EAW for over a year, to ask him a little about his story and why he felt compelled to share his knowledge and love of Computer Science with other students.
What made you want to start tutoring other students?
I’ve been tutoring students since fall of 2018. I had some extra time in the mornings before class that semester and I wanted to help the prospective CS majors get past the tough learning curve of the pre-major classes. I also wanted to help others see why CS is the best major (no bias at all).
"I’ve had a lot of people help me along my path so far and I wanted to give what I could to continue a good cycle."
What have you learned from tutoring other students?
I got better at hopping into someone else’s code and quickly understanding it. Often the students would come to me not because they didn’t understand the course concepts but because their code wasn’t doing what they wanted or they didn’t know how to do the next part of the assignment (this is what I was hoping I could help with because small mistakes are the reason why so many people drop out of CS). This meant I needed to scan through their code with them to understand it all before I could provide any guidance.
I also rehashed my foundation in the prerequisite courses (algorithms and data structures, and object oriented programming). They say teaching something is the most effective way to improve your understanding, and I found it to be true. Both the students and I improved our understanding the concepts.
Strangely enough, I also learned to manage my time better. Between tutoring and working I knew I had to use my other available time effectively and it made that semester the best in terms of juggling it all.