Meet Calvin Tan, Front-End Web Development Instructor at General Assembly Singapore

Calvin Tan

From Designer to Developer to Educator

Calvin Tan began his career as a visual designer but pivoted to web development after attending General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive course in Singapore. He’s now a developer and designer specializing in front-end web development and has executed projects for HP, Sundown Marathon, Sport SG, Perx, and more. He enjoys graphic design, coding, and imparting his knowledge of both to others. Find out more about Calvin’s commitment to empowering the next generation of coders below, and read his article, “A Beginner’s Guide to CSS,” here.

What do you love about front-end web development?

Each project that I work on presents its own set of challenges, and the sheer satisfaction of overcoming each challenge keeps me going.

Why should someone learn front-end web development at GA?

The front-end web development course that I conduct covers the most popular languages used on the web such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It provides a good foundation for those that are new to coding. Students are encouraged to be open to sharing and learning from others. The instructors and instructional associates are very approachable as well and will go all out to ensure you have the support you need in and out of class.

What’s an example that embodies the best of what front-end web development can and should accomplish in real life?

Students will be able to create and launch a website, from writing the code to getting the website hosted. They will be also able to incorporate JavaScript to make website elements interactive.

What personal qualities will set someone up for success in front-end web development, both in class and as a developer?

An inquisitive mind and the tenacity to research and learn as much as possible. A superstar is a student who takes the initiative to research the course material after the class and practices by building websites of their own.

Why did the opportunity to teach at GA appeal to you?

I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, so I was excited to be given the opportunity to conduct workshops at GA Singapore, such as Programming for Non-Programmers.

How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

I try to put myself in the shoes of my students to understand areas they may struggle with. This helps me decide how much time I should spend on a particular topic or find the simplest example that can help them understand complex concepts.

What has been your favorite memory as a GA instructor?

When the expression on my students’ faces go from “huh?” to “oh!” and when they start to make sense of the information — these are the most priceless moments for me.

How do you help students break through their course struggles? How do you push high-achieving students to go even further?

I make it a point to give struggling students additional support and find out where I can recap certain points or provide them with more examples. For students who are excelling, I will often include “bonus challenges” in their exercises, which enable them to push beyond the minimum requirement.

What advice do you have for others who want to teach at GA?

There’s no such thing as being over-prepared. I tend to rehearse the slides and in-class exercises ahead of time to ensure the lesson goes smoothly. I also get feedback from the students after every class, which will help to refine the lesson for future classes.

What are some free resources and tools a student can use to stay up to speed in front-end web development?

There are a couple of popular blogs on various coding topics that a student can subscribe to, such as CSS Tricks and CodePen.