The school year is chugging along, and Breakout Mentors has already paired dozens of kid coders with new coding mentors. For some students, this is their very first time programming and others we have worked with for years.
Our goal is to personalize the coding education for each student. Instead of setting classes or tracks that are never a perfect fit, we provide a one-on-one mentor to smoothly pick up the kid coders current experience level.
We want give you an idea of the range of students, programming languages, and skill levels. Here are a few kids and teenagers who started with a new mentor this school year.
Two 13-Year-Old Girls Hesitant to Try Coding
Some of our students aren’t so sure if coding is their thing. Maybe even think it sounds dull. The personal connection and guidance with Breakout Mentors can be a great way to dive in, especially with a friend.
These two middle school girls tried coding sessions over the summer with our personalized camp format: a mentor traveled to their house in Piedmont for 3 hours a day for one week. By the end, they made solid progress learning Python and enjoyed their first experience with coding. Now, they are meeting 2-on-1 with a UC Berkeley mentor each week.
An 8-Year-Old Boy Diving into Scratch
3rd grade is the youngest age we work with, usually doing Scratch drag-and-drop coding. This student from Fremont has a father who is a professional programmer and showed him a little already.
Even though his father could teach him, they want the consistency and fun factor of meeting a mentor at Stanford University. He used the popular programming language to learn basic coding concepts and make interactive games.
A 12 Year-Old Girl in Berkeley
We love providing young girls a female role model. It is hard to quantify the power of spending time with someone who is passionate about STEM and exemplifies what is possible with consistent effort.
This particular student is learning Python on weekends. She previously did a little coding at home with the help of her father and coding book, but finds the personal connection with a mentor a much better learning experience!
An Experienced 14-Year-Old Learning Java Over Video Conference
The student has been with Breakout Mentors for 3 years, starting with Scratch, then Python, and now Java. This is a pretty typical progression for our kid coders who stick with it. Now he is working on some more advanced concepts while still making fun projects.
They live in the Bay Area, but with four kids, traveling to the college is tough, so he meets via video conference.
An 8th Grader in Los Altos with After-School Coding Experience
There are more ways than ever to get started coding, which is excellent. Wherever that spark of interest comes from, take advantage of it. However not all of them are effective long-term – whether for learning or deepening interest.
Breakout Mentors recently started with an 8th grade boy who was learning Python in a semi-private after-school coding center. They were coaching him through a project that was way too advanced for his couple months of experience, and when he sat down with our mentor, we knew he needed to master the fundamentals first. Our Stanford University mentor travels in-home on weekdays.
A 15 Year-Old Girl Coding with Breakout Mentors for Years
What happens after a kid learning to code has mastered the fundamentals? The obvious option is more advanced Computer Science, for example, covering many concepts in the AP CS A course. We certainly do this with some students, but more often, we feel it is valuable to focus on an area not covered by their high school or college coursework.
She is set to learn full-stack web development with one of our most experienced mentors – a former course assistant at Stanford now working for a startup in San Francisco. This focus will allow her to see how coding is used in the real-world, not just in the classroom. She is very creative and will be equipped to showcase her projects plus participate in fun events like hackathons.
A Boy Working with Breakout Mentors for 8 Years
Another extremely advanced student is starting with a new mentor this school year. The Breakout Mentors Founder Brian Skinner worked with him when the business was just getting started. Now he is in high school, but over the years, he has progressed through Scratch, Python, Java, data structures, basic algorithms, Unity, full-stack web development, and iOS.
The breadth of his knowledge is already impressive; now, he will dive into a completely new area: data science and machine learning. He is paired with a UC Berkeley senior with an impressive internship background and the ability to simplify math and theory to the student’s level.
What About Your Son or Daughter?
As you can see, Breakout Mentors isn’t a tracked one-size-fits-all learning experience. Many kids 9-11 learning Scratch and 12-14 learning Python or Java. However, the students who have worked with us for years can advance at their own pace and tackle advanced material after mastering the fundamentals.
If you want to learn more, the only way to sign up is by scheduling a phone call with the Breakout Mentors Founder Brian Skinner. Be sure to plan, even if you are considering it for November or January.