Ebaad is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Computer Science. He recently finished an internship that most kids would love to have: a software engineer at Roblox! As a former Platinum USACO competitor, Ebaad specializes with Breakout Mentors students studying for USACO.
When did you start to code?
I first started to learn how to code in middle school. I watched some youtube videos outlining C++ fundamentals, and how to think about programming in an object oriented fashion. From there, I took some high school courses, including AP computer science, did some game development in Unity, and participated in competitive programming competitions such as USACO and UIL competitions in Texas.
Why is it important for kids to start coding when young?
Learning to code at a young age is important because it helps develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity. It also prepares kids for a technology-driven future, where coding skills are increasingly in demand across various industries. Additionally, early exposure to coding can inspire a passion for STEM fields and empower children to create and innovate in a digital world.
What do you find rewarding about teaching kids how to code?
The most rewarding part about teaching kids to code is helping them get to the “A Ha!” moment where things start to click. The learning curve when initially learning programming fundamentals, whether it be loops or OOP, initially seems daunting, but whenever a concept clicks, you start to see how to apply these concepts to numerous situations.
What advice do you have for kids learning how to code?
The strongest advice I would say whenever initially learning how to code is to not give up. A huge frustration within the programming industry in general is whenever you can’t get something to work, or things just aren’t clicking. It’s always important to keep in mind that given enough time, anything is possible (whether it be understanding a bug, a programming concept, or solving a programming problem). If you keep on putting effort into it, you’ll eventually be able to master the skills you need to become a proficient programmer.