CS373 Fall 2021: Ethan Tan

Ethan Tan
2 min readAug 29, 2021


Week 1

Where did you grow up?

Plano, TX.

What high school did you attend?

Plano West Senior High School.

What was your favorite extracurricular activity in high school?


Why did you come to UT?

In-state tuition and good computer science program.

Why are you majoring in CS?

It’s fun. I find programming languages, optimization, and algorithms particularly interesting.

Why are you in this class?

I took Object-Oriented Programming last semester and enjoyed it a lot. This class was also quite well-received among my peers, and seems very useful for the whatever I may want to do with computer science in the future.

What are your expectations of this class?

I expect this class to be quite heavy in terms of workload but in turn very informative. I expect to learn a lot, especially since many of the topics to be covered are new to me.

How much Javascript/Python/SQL/Web programming do you already know?

Next to none.

How did you like the first lectures?

The first lectures were fine. We haven’t really started exploring the course material, but the format of the lecture, for an online course, is quite nice. I am curious to see how this translates to in-person lectures if and when that happens, as I’ve never had an in-person course with Professor Downing before.

How did you feel about the cold calling?

It ensures that everyone has a chance to participate and holds our attention. I’m not opposed to it.

What made you happy this week?

I held office hours in person, and it felt like communicating in person was simply easier than over Zoom. It’s nice being able to see people’s faces and tell when they do or don’t understand what I say.

What’s your pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

Get used to Docker! I used it for all my projects last semester, and while it can be a bit of a learning curve, things went smoothly once I figured out how it worked. I do think Professor Downing’s setup is a bit flawed though — if I remember correctly, there were issues where files created in Docker would have the wrong permissions, which was a pain to work with. I don’t remember my solution exactly though.