Naoto is a freshman at University of Washington studying Computer Science. He is on our USACO competitive programming mentoring team, teaching the algorithms and data structures necessary to advance. During the pandemic Naoto studied and practiced for USACO by himself and reached the Gold division!
When did you start to code?
My journey of coding started in 7th grade, when I decided to make an RPG game with a group of friends with zero coding experience—I watched countless tutorials just to barely finish a simple 2D platformer (our initial goal turned out to be quite challenging). From there, I began exploring many different branches of computer science such as machine learning, algorithmic programming, web dev, and more!
Why is it important for kids to start coding when young?
I believe programming is the single best way to develop and train your logical thoughts and creative problem solving skills, and developing such skills when young are incredibly helpful in almost anything you will do in the future, including competitive programming, other STEM classes in highschool and beyond, etc.
What advice do you have for kids learning how to code?
One advice I have for kids learning how to code is to have a lot of fun doing it. Programming is merely a tool to create/do something amazing, and I strongly believe exploring its capability in your own way with fun coding projects is the fastest and easiest way to learn how to code.