Guest submission: Computer science students, teachers reflect on skill-building opportunities


Grace Hamilton

Computer science students and teachers provide suggestions for summer opportunities through both their past experiences and plans for future accomplishments.

Benjamin Nilson, Guest Writer

Over the summer, the school provides many opportunities for students to build their computer science skills beyond the classroom. Students have discovered their passion for computer science through various activities, including technical skill-building courses, internships and projects.

Evelyn Snizek (’23) said computer science skills will be essential and thus, summer is an ideal time to practice. 

“Computer science is our future, and I think it is so important to have some sort of programming, computer science skills in life,” she said. “It is really important to practice over summer as practice makes perfect.” 

Similarly, Lucas Tchelikidi (’24) said learning and refining coding skills is remarkably beneficial. 

“Whether you want to learn through summer courses over the summer or just practicing code on the side with different online websites, any programming practice will benefit you greatly in the long run,” he said. 

Computer Science Teacher Livia Piloto said she recommends students first come up with a topic they are interested in and then create a project to explore the area further.

“One of the really cool things about coding is as soon as you know a little basics of code after going through Intro to Programming, Computer Science P or Computer Science A, you will now have the tools to create a project you want for yourself,” she said.

Further, Piloto said she would suggest working with others on a group project as collaboration can help build skills in a stimulating environment. 

For example, Piloto said she and her husband created a project programming smartphones with no knowledge of the topic prior to pursuing it. 

Computer science is our future, and I think it is so important to have some sort of programming, computer science skills in life. ”

— Evelyn Snizek ('23)

Tchelikidi said coding languages are intertwined, and therefore learning one language will open up multiple avenues to pursue.

“Many coding languages are connected and very similar, so even just practicing Python will aid you in understanding Java, for instance,” he said.

Ryan Cushman (’24) said he recommends students ask their computer science teachers for recommendations on what to look for in an extracurricular experience. He also said he plans on practicing his coding skills over the summer to stay fresh.

Piloto said the computer science department is currently compiling a list of online opportunities in addition to in-person opportunities in the U.S. and U.K. for students. 

She said some of her favorite courses in the U.K. are the University College London Summer School and iD Technology Camps. For online courses, Piloto said she recommends Coursera for advanced coders or students interested in programming games. In addition, Piloto said WorkX internships allow students to gain real-world experiences. 

Tchelikidi said he attended a course taught in Russian at The London School of Mathematics and Programming. Tchelikidi said the information he learned from the course helped him in his schoolwork and was a great chance for him to practice his programming skills.

Overall, Snizek said practicing computer science is most fun when one displays excitement and creativity. 

“Be imaginative,” she said. “Pick something you are really interested in or passionate about and do a lot of research.”