5 ways how web developers can inspire kids in coding
January 14, 2022
Web development is a lucrative field with skyrocketing growth. With a median salary of $77,200 and a fast annual growth rate of 13%, web development can undoubtedly offer job security, plenty of professional growth opportunities, and — as all passionate developers know — a rewarding career. Developers are needed in practically every field, especially as modern technology use grows.
However, a smart career isn’t necessarily one that instantly sparks interest, especially not in kids and teens who think with their hearts. Companies around the world are experiencing a shortage of qualified developers. If you want to play a role in building the next generation of developers — a cohort that should ideally be larger than your own — you need to encourage the youth to fall in love with programming. Here’s how web developers can inspire kids in coding.
Run a coding camp
For many students, web development can be a daunting career path. Learning a new language, whether it be Spanish or Java, is always a time-consuming process that may feel incredibly complex. However, when you break down complicated processes into bite-sized lessons and give students hands-on coding experience, you can show children and teens just how capable they are.
Running a coding camp — or working or volunteering at one — is your opportunity to show students that web development isn’t as scary as it seems. You can guide kids and teens through fun activities like building websites or creating games and simple tools on Python. Your camp attendees will feel proud of their results, which may encourage them to keep creating, learning, and pursuing a web development career.
Speak at schools
When you love your career, others can hear the passion in your voice when you speak about it. One way to inspire kids in coding is by finding opportunities to speak at schools (like career days) and share what makes your job so great.
Before you speak to students, create a list of speaking points you don’t want to miss. These speaking points may include the perks of going into web development, why your career makes you feel fulfilled, and exciting facts about what you do in your day-to-day. Consider what got you into web development in the first place — bonus points if your interest started when you were a kid or teen yourself.
Don’t forget to describe potential career paths during your speaking engagement. Students may not be able to envision their future in web development without concrete examples. For instance, you could mention how young developers could build the next Google or create processes that change the field forever. Touch on intellectual property laws and how any great idea should be patented to protect its creator.
Offer age-appropriate resources
When children show interest in coding, offering educational resources is an effective way to nurture that interest into a long-term career goal. However, young children need significantly different resources than older kids or teens. While kids thrive with highly visual online resources, older students can learn text-based programming that’s more practical for their future careers.
Always consider how age-appropriate a resource is before you pass it on to passionate young coders. Resources that you may seek out (or create) for students include online coding games and activities, educational apps, and digital workshops for kids. For older kids, you can even find STEM internship opportunities, where they can exercise their development skills.
To ensure kids grow up in an environment that lets their coding skills thrive, offer web development resources to parents, too. Share how parents can continue leading kids through coding activities at home or gain development knowledge of their own to pass on to their children.
Gamify the coding experience
Kids don’t necessarily get excited when they think of work. However, games are bound to pique their interest and desire for instant gratification. Encouraging kids to learn web development can be as simple as turning education into a game.
For instance, if you run an after-school coding workshop, you can offer kids stickers for each lesson they complete, then allow them to trade those stickers in for prizes — for instance, treats, toys, pens, bookmarks, or coding-related rewards.
When you gamify the coding experience, make sure to set clear goals. Kids and teens should know what they’re aiming to achieve and what they’ll earn when they achieve it.
Inspire the next generation of developers
Web development is a booming career field, and getting the kids and teens interested in it early on is the best way to build the next generation of coders. As a web developer, you can seek opportunities to inspire students directly, perhaps by offering hands-on experience at a coding camp or speaking passionately about your career at schools. Alternatively, you can offer educational resources to children and their parents to help their skillsets expand. No matter which path you take, you can play a direct role in encouraging kids to pursue a thriving and rewarding career.
About the author:
Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
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