Why is a computer programming education important for kids? What can be done with that knowledge? It opens up a world of possibilities, one of which is to build your own software product. Something that excites you and you want to provide the world, whether as a business or free.
Last week was the Teens in Tech Conference, at which the incubator teams presented their products. The Teens in Tech Incubator is a summer-long program that invites teams of teenagers to spend the summer building a software product [disclosure: I am a volunteer mentor for the incubator program]. There is a competitive application process to become one of the four teams in the program. The result is that the teams in the program are the cream of the crop – they are extremely talented and incredibly driven to make their ideas a reality.
All the teams this year had fairly extensive prior programming experience, and a willingness to fill in any gaps in their knowledge as they went. Without this experience they would not have had the audacious goal to create a product during the summer and would not have been a part of the incubator. They would not have gained the experience of defining what customers want, marketing their product, learning aesthetic design, working smoothly as a team, and effectively presenting their ideas. The ability to program opened up a world of possibilities for these teenagers!
This is just one possible route a young student with programming experience can take. Internships, open-source projects, and personal projects are just a few others. Any student that does not learn to program today is limiting their options in the future!
Read more about the teams’ products on the Teens in Tech blog.
There are still a couple days to enter the Scratch Olympic Game Design Contest. Submit your entry no later than Wednesday!