Education & Training

My Child Wants to Become a Programmer: What Should I Do Now?

Today’s parents are certainly not surprised by a child’s desire to tie his or her life to IT. After all, there are plenty of success stories and opportunities in this field. But not everyone is lucky. And while teenagers dream about creating their own Facebook, a computer game or a time machine, their parents are seriously puzzled by the question of how to maintain their flashed interest.

In the case of programming, age is almost irrelevant. You can start developing in this area even at the age of six.

Where to begin?

In the variety of IT professions, it is easy to confuse even an adult, much less a child. A developer, tester, system architect, interface designer, analyst – all of these people are involved in one way or another in creating an IT solution.

Does he like computer worlds, but the existing ones are already cramped? Maybe he wants to make his own online store or application? Impressed by the success of a friend who is a video blogger and wants to understand the art of editing and animation? A short conversation will narrow down the field of search.

Online or offline?

Teaching programming in our country is available from the age of six. Some programming schools take children even younger, if they can read. For young geeks a lot of methods have already been developed that make the immersion into the world of IT as interactive as possible.

The so-called visual programming languages, among which Scratch and Google Blockly are popular all over the world, are aimed at training logical skills and give a general idea of the principles of programming.

At the same time, in a short time children manage to create their first project – a simple game or a cartoon.

Teenagers have a richer choice and are introduced to “adult” programming languages: Python, JavaScript, C#, web technology stack, and the basics of 3D. Graduates can boast of their own games, websites, chatbots, neural networks, and knowledge of programming languages.

Python would be a good place to start, since it was developed as a language for teaching programming. If a child likes complex tasks – you can master a classical engineering stack: C++, java. For those who are interested in seeing the result right away, the frontend development of sites is the right choice. If the IT sphere attracts, but you do not want to get into the code, you can consider the interface design.

Another argument in favor of off-line is the development of soft skills:

  • teamwork,
  • delegation of tasks,
  • planning,
  • presentation of results.

These skills are as much in demand on the market as knowledge of programming languages or technologies.

Getting to know IT companies

Being immersed in an environment can have an impressive effect on a child. Seeing with your own eyes how a job at an IT company really works, or getting an internship with a famous software or game developer is definitely an item on your young geek’s wish-list.

Communicating with established professionals, and even in their territory, will definitely help with career guidance and keep you motivated to keep coding. Getting into an IT company is not that hard. Large corporations welcome guests and arrange excursions for schoolchildren.

Large IT-festivals, where children not only learn firsthand about IT professions, but also get acquainted with like-minded people, are also worth visiting. It also makes sense to go there to find a mentor. Yes, experienced professionals who participate in such events, are quite responsive and inclined to dialogue.

Olympiads

The success of American programmers in sports programming cannot be overlooked. Teams regularly participate in the world’s largest ICPC-level championships and just as regularly win them.

In the case of teenager, participation in programming olympiads is another opportunity to test the strength of the existing knowledge and to understand, maybe Computer Science, but not an industrial programming in some company, is what you need.

Regardless of the result, participants develop essential skills which will be useful everywhere: working under stressful situations, searching for non-standard ways of problem solving, team work.

Hackathons

If an Olympic programming seems too fundamental and serious, one can start by taking a closer look at hackathons. This format of events has long been available not only for adults, but also for young programmers.

The difference, as a rule, is the duration. Children’s teams have six to ten hours to complete a hackathon task.

During this time, the team passes all the stages from generation of ideas to the creation of a product prototype or MVP and the public presentation of the result.

Choosing a college

Where to go is a vast topic, and in some families it takes years to find an answer. It is not so important what exactly the teenager will choose – fundamental computer science, administration of information systems, software engineering, mathematics and computer science or, say, business informatics – it makes sense to master mathematics and physics. Without this knowledge, it will be difficult to succeed in the profession.


Author’s bio: Jean Hartley is a professional content writer working for several brands. She is the right person to write my essay for me free. Jean provides an assistance for students and has over 6 years of experience.


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