My son has long announced his intention to create computer games when he grows up. And for a while I treated it the same way as his little brother’s desire to be a cowboy or a rocket driver… nice idea, but it’ll be something different next week.
However, the weeks have passed and he’s still talking of the same thing and getting more and more definite about it, including looking at the subjects he’ll need to study and the best universities.
It seems like a very sensible career choice given how much of our world is online and how fast innovation is sweeping us along. New talent must be a valuable resource. What he’s learned, though, is that there’s no need to wait to get started – the most innovative people in the industry (according to him) are largely self-taught. Therefore, he’d like to learn the coding skills, as soon as possible, please mum. This far, I’d like to think I’ve been able to keep up with his computing development, teaching him and helping him to stay safe. But, given that I can’t quite face upgrading to iOS7, a move into coding is a step too far for me. So, of course, I sent him off to google some resources to help. I was encouraging his self-starting. Before I’d even made a cup of tea and checked Facebook, he came back with information about Code Club which is an organisation that tries to match local volunteers to enthusiastic kids, teaching them to use Scratch, HTML and the like to do fun things. We’re currently working with school to set it up, but there’s lots of other things he could be doing. The developers at Superprof offered their suggestions:
- Give him access to a Raspberry Pi or a computer you don’t mind him messing up.
- Find an interesting task, for example measuring scalectrix lap times.
- Ask around for friends or parents who could help out.
As I’m aware of vague complaints about the quality and consistency of the teaching of computing in schools, it strikes me that – even if the complaints are unfounded rumours – any steps a would-be programmer takes for themselves will help. After all, in such an important and highly competitive industry he would do well to start giving himself the edge as early as he can – particularly when he can have fun as he does it. Here are some other resources he might find useful:
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