When I first started writing code a few decades ago, it was a rather bland affair involving a basic text editor and physical books for reference. I didn't have an opportunity to create anything usable by others until years later and perhaps most importantly in the context of this blog post, I didn't have anyone in my family able to teach me about coding. For many kids today, that last point is still just as relevant as it was in the 80's and 90's with one major caveat - it doesn't have to be. Teaching your kids to code is easier today than ever before with zero experience required.
Since my kids have been around 6 years old, I've been teaching them both to code via freely available online resources, namely code.org and Code Combat. I cannot recommend either of these highly enough; they're both visually engaging, super easy to get started with and they load directly in your browser with no software installation required. When it comes to my kids, my very conference-centric professional life has given me the opportunity to get them involved not just in writing code at home, but becoming a part of the industry by attending events with me. In January this year, that meant getting my eldest (Ari) up on stage at NDC London and sharing what he'd learned with a room full of developers (this video is a good intro to the above-mentioned resources if they're new to you):
For 2020, I wanted to level that up and get Ari more involved in the NDC events I'll be doing in Oslo and London this coming Jan. I didn't just want him talking to adults, I wanted him talking to his own peers as well - other kids. So we decided to run a DevClub for kids at both events and make them totally free. Just bring a kid and a laptop and you're good to go! Ari will be supported by other NDC speakers (including myself) and the wonderful folks from Code Combat are sending us over a pile of stickers to hand out as well. This will be an opportunity for parents who may not have given a lot of thought to the topic before to get their kids started on a path that may one day become both a career and a passion.
NDC Security in Oslo runs from Jan 22-24 and we'll be running the DevClub at 17:00 on Wednesday 22 Jan:
NDC London runs from Jan 27-31 and the DevClub will be at 17:00 again albeit on Thursday 30 Jan: