• 20 January 2019
Tips To Become A Programming Tutor

Tips To Become A Programming Tutor

Jun 13, 2017

Savvy programmers can easily convert knowledge into income through tutoring — here’s how to do it.

The number of students taking computer science and programming courses has skyrocketed in recent years. Basic coding classes are becoming commonplace in high schools and even middle schools around the country, and their popularity only continues to rise. If you’re already a savvy programmer, why not consider converting your knowledge into extra income by becoming a coding tutor? While the number of schools teaching these skills is increasing, tutors aren’t yet plentiful in this subject and are thus in high demand. Check out the tips below on how to be successful as a coding tutor:

1. Determine the level of students you’ll tutor

Because coding spans many technical languages and levels, you’ll want to identify your strengths and get somewhat specific when marketing your services. Your first step is to determine the level you’ll want to teach. If starting with beginners, make sure you’re comfortable introducing a new student to the fundamentals, teaching algorithms, and other basics. If starting from the beginning doesn’t amp you up, consider working with students who are more advanced. When tutoring students at a higher level, your focus will be shifted more towards programming to achieve a specific outcome or project completion versus fundamentals, but your students will generally have a pretty good understanding of basic skills already.

2. Determine your rates and method of session delivery

Since coding is a specialized skill and one that is becoming more commonly taught in grade school to high school level curriculum, you may be able to try selling your services at a higher rate than a beginning tutor in a more traditional subject. Check out other tutors specializing in your level and language to get a sense of how much you can charge. You should also set your rates depending on how specialized you are and whether you have advanced qualifications such beyond general coding knowledge. Some examples include specialized course completion, extensive experience in professional programming education, or official certification in either programming or tutoring, among others.
There are a handful of different options in terms of the medium through which you’d like to hold sessions with your students, such as in-person meetings, online collaboration, and more. Virtual sessions are often the most flexible option as scheduling issues are easier to circumvent. Plus, although coding classes are on the rise, your local schools may not be teaching these courses and going virtual will allow you to connect with students across the country. If you want to tutor online, you’ll first want to choose a platform to use for your sessions. Some good virtual platforms include Skype and Tutorsweb, the latter being more geared towards educators. Before you begin working with students, be sure to familiarize yourself with the platform you choose so you can start strong from the get-go.

3. Tailor your sessions towards your student's goals

As you probably already know, programming is complex and includes many different components. It’s important to understand what your students’ goals are before engaging in regular sessions. Because of the many layers involved in coding, it’s not always easy for a student to know exactly what they need help with. Whether they are looking to increase their grades in class, get assistance studying for an exam, learn general programming as a beginner, or complete a specific project, the course your sessions take will be very different depending on the student’s goals. It’s always a smart idea to sit down with your students and take the time to discern where they are in terms of subject understanding, even if they think they know where the issue lies.

4. Utilize supplementary resources to aid in your teaching

It’s a good idea to incorporate a healthy mix of teaching approaches when working with students to ensure learning is well rounded. There are many fantastic resources for programming tutors available that you can use to supplement your sessions, and providing students with material from other educators is often helpful as it provides a unique approach to concepts. For example, one great resource is Bento, a website that provides curated programming content from professional developers that you can share with students or use to gain your own inspiration for sessions. Programmr, a game and challenge-based platform that assists in teaching code, is another wonderful option. In addition, you can integrate your own ancillary elements to bring different teaching methods to your sessions. Try techniques such as building lesson plans, engaging in interactive exercises, creating and distributing quizzes, and even playing educational games to increase your students’ engagement in the material.

5. Be very patient and go slowly

Programming isn’t easy, and many aspects that are simple for some can be extremely difficult for others. As a programmer with years of experience, something that’s common sense to you is likely only that way due to your years of practice. Beginners probably don’t find it as easy, so it’s imperative to practice a good deal of patience during your sessions. As a now-expert, you may not remember ever finding the basics difficult, but keep in mind that everyone’s pace is different and to be a good educator you’ll need to be patient and go slowly. When teaching new coding students, it may be helpful to find out where their strengths are outside of technology (writing, science, etc.) and relate your lessons to those subjects.

Experienced programmers have a wonderful opportunity to turn advanced knowledge into a business by tutoring coding students. The field is rapidly gaining popularity in increasingly younger students and providing such an in-demand service can lead to a very successful and prolific gig as a tutor.


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