Part I: Experts Share Their Encouragement For Kids Getting Into Website Coding

In celebration of of our commitment to get kids excited about coding technologies in 2015, we’re asking experts to share their perspective on what technologies are most important within their careers and offer some motivation to our youngest generations. Here are some highlights of a few great perspectives we’ve received so far.

Based on your company’s focus, what skills would be most important for our youngest kids to start learning as soon as they can?

Everything a young person needs to begin blogging is readily available on the Internet and mostly free. Students don’t need to wait until they’re in college to learn web programming, they can dive right in and get started now. A basic understanding of HTML, CSS and PHP are useful to get set up, but they aren’t required. Ever hear the term “trial by fire”? WordPress is so easy to set up, a person with relatively NO experience can get running quickly. Once established, the fun part begins as you can dissect your blog and create something wonderful.

Pat Mallon is a writer and comic artist for the pop culture blog, Plarko.com. Though always a writer (author of the “Seefer Elliot” series) and artist, developing a fundamental understanding of web code allowed him to make a career from his everyday hobby.

Solving problems. If you have a great idea, splits these ideas into small pieces. It helps you solve the problems quickly and effectively. Just like in our Turn Off the Lights browser extension, first develops the dark layer, the color and then the smooth effects.

Stefan Van Damme is owner and lead developer of the Turn Off the Lights online brand. Turn Off the Lights helps everyone who doesn’t want to be disturbed by the content around the video player such as on YouTube.

I work with a lot of people who are new to programming as a profession. They haven’t developed their programming skills yet so I’m looking at aptitude toward creative problem solving, attention to detail, and quality of writing. Programmers are writers. As far as tech skills go, start with HTML+CSS+JavaScript. That combination of web technologies is easy to learn, can do amazing things like run fast-action video games and works on anything with a web browser. The only tool you need to practice it is a web browser. Kids who catch on can advance to a more sophisticated language like Ruby.

Kevin Curry is a computer scientist and entrepreneur working with early stage web startups. As a volunteer for Code for America and local tech Meetups, Kevin helps organize free learn-to-code classes for the community. Kevin is the creator 3Scape, a web site where anyone can make and share 3D stories, games and gadgets.

If there was one piece of advice you would leave for kids looking to learn coding for future career opportunities, what would it be?

My advice to anyone wanting to blog someday would be to spend $10 and get a domain name from a company that offers free shared hosting. Upload WordPress. Sure, using the platform given to you on WordPress.com, blogger.com or tumblr.com is easier, but it won’t teach you much from a coding perspective. Once you have your own WordPress site, you’ll have the keys to a playground that will make your blog truly come to life. – Pat Mallon

Learn from other developers, and improve your code. Have a problem and can’t figure it out how to solve this, the change is big that another developer have already solved this issue. Communicates with others and they can provide you tips or a workaround. – Stefan Van Damme

Stick to fundamentals and never stop learning. The pace of technology is fast and required skills shift but lots of things are common in any environment. It will help you tremendously if you can recognize and rely on fundamentals and standards as you navigate a rapidly changing environment. – Kevin Curry

Thanks to our experts for sharing some motivation for students. Stay tuned to our blog for more great tips from experts throughout the year.

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