I am not a big fan of them because there is so much work out there. You could be getting paid to code (and learn) rather that doing a hackathon.
In addition, the only way you get coding chops, is by building real apps for real clients. One thing a lot of developers miss, is that being able to manage a project has a lot to do with managing non-nerd clients … you only get that experience in the real world.
I used to see the same sort of thing in martial arts, where certain styles are really big into drills and exercises. The problem is, that they put much less (if any) time into actual fighting.
… Then they take a beating when they are unlucky enough to mix it up with someone who spent his time sparring, rather than running through drills.
That said, the more code you write the better, so codathons will improve your abilities no doubt … but nothing compares to the real thing. Pick your analogy! 🙂
Everyone knows that kids who learn to code, will have a big advantage in the workplace and in life. Besides the fact that coding is a valuable skillset with an amazing number of high paying jobs, the mental training that comes with learning to code cannot be underestimated.
Homeschooling your kids in code
If you don’t know web design and coding, you need a structured curriculum that will gently teach your kids. Courses have to be easy to understand, fun and practical. Yes, practical: nothing motivates kids to learn when they see that they are building real things.
… What’s more fun for a kid, to learn to drive a go-cart, or a real car?
Which coding languages should kids learn?
Teaching your kids to code in any language is great, but I would say the most important and effective languages to teach are the languages of the Web:
Besides being used to create all the world’s websites and web apps (ex: google, facebook, amazon), these coding languages are also a popular choice in creating games and mobile apps that work on iPhone, iPads, Android devices and even Windows mobile devices.
Another great thing about these languages is that they are visual: students see their code come to life in real-world projects. This touch of reality is far more engaging than writing code that moves a character around a screen in a simulator.
I’ve been coding since 1994, teaching code since 2003 and helping schools teach code over the last 6 years. That experience teaches you a lot about teaching. If you want to easily home school your kids in code, feel free to check out StudioWeb.com.
To get the best outcomes with students (and yourself!), here are my top 3 code teaching tips:
1- Write real code, not ‘lego’ code.
2- Use real coding tools, not code simulators.
3- Build real projects from start to finish.
1. Write real code, not ‘lego’ code
A funny thing happens when students write real code: they start to learn not only how to code, but they learn the concepts behind the code. What I’ve seen over the years is that trying to hide the code from students with block based code teaching tools slows the learning process.
Everyone knows that you should be constantly training your brain, especially as you get older.
Why is learning to code, much better than Luminosity?
Learning new skills gives you maximum brain training impact. Not playing a game that is doing same thing, over and over again.
Learning to code will actually teach you valuable skills! Skills that can get you great paying jobs – part-time or fulltime.
The science is clear, if you really want to keep your mind nimble, you have to challenge your brain with new things. Not only will learning to code train your brain, it will also give you a valuable skill that is in super high demand!
… Why work at Walmart, when you can code from the comfort of your home, and earn much more money for your time!
Full disclosure: I own the interactive code training system Studioweb, and I’ve been teaching web design and coding since 2003.
… I don’t know about playing games, but I do remember from university (I majored in psychology,) … that learning a new skill, is a great way to help the brain. When you introduce the brain to new concepts, or expose your body to new motor skills, you are basically telling the brain, we need more brain power to survive! So the body adapts accordingly.
So if you want to stay mentally sharp, exercise the brain by learning new skills. I would suggest both physical and mental skills. Don’t do the same old same.
Playing a game, or learning a skill?
Since I’ve never used them, I really can’t say what impact Luminosity (or any other brain-games,) has on the brain. But what I would say, instead of playing a game, why not help the brain by learning a valuable skill!
Coding for baby boomers
Instead of playing games (that might not help the brain much it seems,) you’d be better off learning to code to stimulate the brain. At the same time, you will be learning a valuable skill that is in huge demand!
I know that football is America’s ‘national sport’, but why would you want to subject your kids to (highly likely,) brain damaging football?
Instead, if they learn to code, not only will they avoid brain damage, they will in fact be working out the brain, strengthening their mental capabilities overall!
My numbers are a little off (you can get the updated figures on Google,) but the average football player has a career that last about 3 years. The average player makes $500 000 a year. And for what? A damaged brain, and likely other lifelong (and often times painful) physical injuries.
… Kids who learn to code on the other hand, might get carpal tunnel … but nothing a good keyboard can’t fix!
How about the money?
All coders will out-earn most professional football players over their careers. It’s not even close. For this comparison, I’m taking a huge leap of faith, and assume your kid (or you,) are one of the rare people who actually win that lottery ticket, and become a pro football player.
So, how much do coders make?
With a little experience (3-4yrs) a good developer can make $100K + … and that’s for an average coder, nobody special. Since coders don’t get smashed in the head, or get their elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles ripped apart … they can go on coding happily for years, making the big money. And it’s all pain free.
So, I am about to release my new series of courses designed to teach total beginners web development. I’ve been coding since 1994, and teaching code since 2003 – these new courses are the best work I’ve ever done!
I decided that I had to do something different with these new courses; no point in doing the same old thing I’ve been doing for over ten years … basically what everyone else is doing now.
So, what I came up with is a new style of course, something that incorporates what I call Immersive Quizzing. Basically, with the Immersive Quizzing, you will learn to code much more easily, and much more quickly than you thought possible. My beta testers are all loving it, and they tell me they would not want to do video courses without the Immersive Quizzing component.