You know, I never thought that I would be excited for an interview — after all, they tend to make me feel rather nervous. But when it comes to anything that has to do with programming or engineering, I will always be excited. As it turns out, Brian Lam and I share this passion — although he has thought of code in ways I haven’t before.
Lam is a teenager who goes to school at Barcelona Academy and enjoys playing volleyball with his friends. Lam is splitting his time this summer between a Northeastern program called Bridge to Calculus in the mornings and Artists For Humanity, where he works as a programmer in the creative technology department. Artists For Humanity is a program that pays teen artists and designers for their artistic abilities. They want teens to be able to use their creative process and entrepreneurship for social change and to change their own lives.
Lam grew up with two siblings, both of whom are artists. He felt that their art was amazing and that “they took all the artistic genes.” Lam wanted to find a new way to do art. Originally, he tried video production but later switched to coding. “I found a blend between coding and making art…we take the practicalities of code and we use it for art.” Even though art and coding are both things that I like, it has never occurred to me that something like coding could be considered art.
I think that Lam’s perspective and feelings toward art are really interesting. He has changed the way I think of art and what I even think of as art because according to Lam “anything you do can be considered an art.” The fact that Lam can see something as technical as coding as art was really something that stuck with me because to me it does truly make sense. Lam wants people to see the beauty that can be created through code, from games, websites, and applications to the art that most people first think of when they think of art. This has made me start thinking of what else can be seen as art as well. Is there anyone out there who would think of something like engineering as art?
When I asked Lam where he thinks the coding industry is headed, he simply said “Up.” This, of course, makes sense. After all, “everybody’s heard of AI…I feel like it’s only going to keep getting better and keep getting further developed. And it’s only a matter of time before it really skyrockets.” AI will improve and start to spread more and more. The people who can program will have the upper hand when it comes to using them. That is why it is so fitting that Lam plans on getting into either robotic engineering or artificial intelligence.
I want people to know that just like Lam, everyone can learn to program. This is a very valuable skill even if you don’t want to go into game development, web design, or artificial intelligence. Now, learning to code won’t be easy. Simple mistakes can turn into lengthy issues. “I feel like [I spend] maybe a half an hour fixing one grammar error…It could honestly just be [that] you misspell something.” Despite this, Lam doesn’t lose faith and wants aspiring coders to know “every coder has experienced the same thing you are experiencing right now.”