Carl Limsico, one of our 2018 Honored Instructors, showed an early interest in computing sparked by the gift of an Atari 800 from his parents. This 8-bit home computer may be strikingly simple compared to today's handheld computing power, but it enabled this nascent computer scientist to start learning how to edit and then create computer programs. And, just as computer power has evolved, Carl's knowledge has grown over the years.
After a computer science degree from Cal and during his career as a software engineer, Carl knew that he had to keep his skills sharp. Despite being a self-taught learner, he decided to take classes from UC Berkeley Extension after being impressed by the breadth of classes and curriculum.
His experience as a student soon evolved into a desire to teach. Though he describes himself as an introvert, Carl loves explaining challenging concepts to others—and so teaching became a “no-brainer.” His first teaching assignment was Perl Programming, and in the intervening years Carl’s taken on additional courses and responsibilities, including intensive course development on a variety of programming languages and subjects.
Primarily, Carl teaches Java: Discovering Its Power and First Course in Java, two online courses that introduce students to a language that has proved to have enduring popularity. (A 2017 survey by Stack Overflow found Java to be the third most popular programming language among developers for the fifth year in a row.) In his words, it's "still a top language for back-end servers" and has "received a huge boost from the client side thanks to Google Android adopting it as its development language."
And while that's his primary teaching focus, Carl himself is language-agnostic: "I enjoy teaching all the languages," he says. "They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but just like any other tool you need to use them in the right situation."
Using the Right Tool Also Applies to the Online Learning Experience
Carl interacts with his students through constant email and message board conversations to help them tackle difficult programming concepts and answer their questions. When asked whether artificial intelligence could ever replace an online instructor, Carl is intrigued but ultimately finds that the personal touch is better.
"People can sense what others are having trouble with. Since all of us have gone through the experience of learning confusing concepts, that's where the human experience comes in."
And his students really appreciate the personal touch. Carl related a recent interaction with a student who was new to programming when he took his first Python course:
"He struggled at the beginning," according to his teacher, "but he improved greatly. I think he just 'got it' during the middle of the course. Now he's working as a software engineer."
Whether you want to keep up to date on the latest programs and advances in computing and technology, or you're looking for a new career, continuing education can help keep you at the forefront of learning. At UC Berkeley Extension, you can take advantage of the expertise of all of our instructors, including the best of the best like 2018 Honored Instructor Carl Limsico.