Teaching children online programming: services and opportunities

The modern world is arranged in such a way that production, business and the service sector maintain a consistently high demand for the profession of a programmer. We need online services, control systems, automation, etc. And we cannot do without a specialist who understands what algorithms are and how to describe them in C ++, C #, Python, and sometimes even half-forgotten Pascal or even Fortran. (at the time of this writing, its latest version was released in 2018). The good thing about programming is that it is quite accessible even for children. There are services where they are taught the basics of programming from elementary school age.

Prospects and future career for young programmers
To enter the profession, a diploma of the corresponding education is not always required. On sites that offer freelancers work, they are interested exclusively in experience and implemented projects. Applicants are asked to show what they can do and how familiar they are with the desired programming language or software package. The author of the article is personally acquainted with the 15-year-old genius, a classmate of his son, who already at such a young age takes part in international projects and earns good money in them.

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However, this does not mean that you can learn everything in programming on your own by taking courses and online lessons. Freelancing is not for everyone. In serious international companies like Yandex or Google, you will certainly be asked not only to demonstrate your experience, but also to present a diploma confirming your education and qualifications.

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This is due to the fact that the diploma will not only confirm the acquired knowledge, but will also become proof that you are capable of consistent and constant work. In addition, secondary and higher education is also a complex of knowledge obtained not only in a narrow field, but in a wider range. And, what is even more important, the ability to apply them in practice – in applied problems.

Therefore, even the most talented nugget programmer is highly recommended to obtain a diploma of education. First, you will have to go from narrow tasks to decisions about the architecture and system of complex projects: from juniors to team leads.

 

Nevertheless, the path to the profession of a programmer is quite possible and necessary to start from an early age. Fortunately, there are now many online services where they teach programming in classical lessons or reveal the material and set tasks in a playful way. Let’s analyze the most popular and well-known at the time of this writing.

Code.org

Code.org is a school where children and teenagers can learn the basics of computer science and programming algorithms. There is no need to write code, programs are assembled from ready-made blocks: “perform the action”, “repeat”, “if the condition is met, do something.” Nevertheless, you can get acquainted with loops, jumps and other secrets of programming.

Particularly worth noting is the “Hour of Code” section, which deals with tasks: for example, how to draw animated pictures (of course, in the Code.org software environment) or program Steve’s actions from Minecraft. That is, here you can get basic programming skills without wasting time studying an entire course.

The resource is completely free, but only partially translated into Russian. Core courses on Code.org are recommended for children aged 9 and over. But there are also lessons that the authors consider available to children from 4 years old .

Scratch

Scratch is no longer only an online environment for learning programming, but a language in which it is quite possible to create scripts, animated stories, simple music and games. Scratch is available as an online service, and there are applications for computers and Android devices.

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The site contains many lessons and examples of what you can write in Scratch. The programming language is popular in schools due to its consistency and clarity. The authors of the project recommend Scratch to children and adolescents from 8 to 16 years old, in addition, there is a version of the ScratchJR language for children from 5 years old. It is available on Android and iOS .

What is important, the service is completely free, lessons and descriptions are almost completely translated into Russian, although the programming environment itself is English. In addition, Scratch is a popular programming environment, and there are many examples of code written in this language on the Internet.

If you are interested in video tutorials on Scratch and other simple programming environments and useful programs, you can also recommend the Youtube channel Codim.Online .

Snap!
If Scratch is developed at MTI (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), then Snap! created by employees of the California Institute at Berkeley. Visual programming environment Snap! reminds Scratch, unsurprisingly – Snap! started out as an adjunct to this language.

 

The main difference between Snap! from Scratch – the ability to create your own blocks by combining a sequence of commands in them, that is, create subroutines and nested functions. No wonder about half of American schools have switched from Scratch to Snap!

Unfortunately, the service is not Russified, but it is completely free. Just like Scratch, Snap! recommended for children and adolescents aged 8-16 years.

Learning programming languages
Scratch, Snap! and other services with a high element of gamification, of course, are interesting. But if programming is really interesting, and a child or teenager plans to connect his life with programming, you need to move to a higher level. There are many paid courses, including for schoolchildren and adolescents. Alternatively, there are also a lot of free or inexpensive resources where you can learn programming for free, if you wish.

GeekSchool Educational Courses

GeekSchool is a project of the educational resource GeekBrain, designed for children 6-17 years old. For study, courses are offered, ranging from mastering a computer (working with mail, graphics and office programs) and ending with programming in Scratch, Python, Java, scripts for Minecraft and working with automation systems on Arduino.

Courses at GeekSchool are paid. For example, Scratch training was estimated at 25,000 rubles. The level of knowledge corresponds to the official free course on the Scratch website, only everything that is on the official website and free Youtube channels is told by the teacher in the format of a webinar lesson. There is an opportunity to evaluate the educational process by signing up for a trial lesson.

Kodabra

Just like GeekSchool, Kodabra offers kids ages 7-17 to learn Scratch, Python basics, Roblox, Minecraft JavaScript scripting, and Unity games. Various levels of training are available – from beginners to advanced users.

The cost of classes, declared on the Kodabra website, starts from 723 rubles / hour. It should be noted that similar lessons and programs can be found for free on the Scratch website, as well as in Stepik courses and videos on YouTube. The advantage of Kodabra is classes with a teacher in the format of a webinar, while on alternative free resources you will have to study the lesson on your own.

Codemika

Similar paid programming courses are offered by the Codemika resource . On this site, they want to get 2,500 rubles a month for a Scratch program for students in grades 1-4. The entire course is designed for 8 months. The teaching principle is similar to Kodabra and GeekSchool – these are webinars with homework. Preparation is at the level of free courses.

Students in grades 5-6 are offered to create 2D games in Python, and for schoolchildren from grades 7 to 11, students and adults, the course “Java developer” is provided. The duration of the classes is the same 8 months, but the cost will already be 4,900 rubles per month. Codemika does not have trial lessons, but there are open lessons where you can get acquainted with the educational process.

School of programmers

In general, this school operates offline in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But she also has an online platform that accepts children from grade 2. Tuition is paid, and, starting from grade 5, you will first have to pass entrance exams, according to the results of which the child will be taken to the course.

The school teaches the fundamental basics of programming, gives an extended course in mathematics and is engaged in programming at the Olympiad level. Unlike GeekSchool, Kodabra and Codemica, the school of programmers is engaged in serious preparation, giving not just general skills in a semi-game form, but developing mathematical abilities and understanding of algorithms. Only there will be less gamification, but more serious educational process. The school is paid, the cost varies from 41,300 to 44,800 rubles per year.

All listed schools – GeekSchool, Kodabra, School of Programmers and Codemika – have an official educational license. Now let’s move on to the options with free lessons.

Codecademy

The service will help you learn the syntax and basics of programming in JavaScript, Python, Java, C ++, C #, master SQL and understand HTML. Codecademy started out as a completely free resource, but unfortunately, a significant portion of the lessons are now in the paid version. The Pro subscription costs $ 16 when billed annually. However, a large number of free classes remain. For example, tuition in the basics is almost always free of charge. The resource is available in English only.

Codecademy is convenient in that you do not need to install software packages and editors to write programs. Everything works online. The service is formally oriented towards adults. But, for example, the basics of Python that can be learned on this site are fully consistent with the basic courses recommended for learning from 9-12 years old (For example, the author of the book “Python for Children and Parents” Bryson Payne believes that programming in this language can be learned from 9 years old).

HTML Academy

On the HTML Academy resource, you can learn web development, that is, writing code and scripts for sites. HTML, PHP and Javascript are offered for study. The resource is in Russian, all exercises are performed online. There is one drawback: a significant part of the HTML Academy lessons are available by subscription, and advanced experience and knowledge can be obtained for a separate payment. At the time of this writing, the subscription costs 4590 rubles per year or 590 rubles per month. Nevertheless, this resource is recommended for teaching, including for children, since the lessons are given in a very accessible form.

The site offers a convenient office for teachers of informatics, which can be used in the educational process. On this resource, children will be able to get acquainted with HTML .

Stepik

Stepik is an online course covering a wide range of disciplines. It started out as a resource for teaching programming and IT, but now you can find courses there in a variety of areas.

A significant part of the interesting, understandable and useful courses on this site are completely free, provided that you do not need a certificate or diploma of completion of the course. At Stepik, you can learn Python, C ++, Java and Javascript, understand algorithms and SQL, understand what neural networks and Big Data are.

The peculiarity of Stepik is that it offers text materials, video tutorials, as well as tasks with the help of which the acquired material is checked. In fact, this is a standard educational process, only conducted online. To learn programming, you will have to install the appropriate applications, for example, Python.

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Stepik is good because all courses are taught in Russian, in addition, there is a mobile application, so that lessons can be studied not only on a desktop or laptop, but also from a smartphone.

This site is believed to host courses for students. But, in fact, you can find courses for schoolchildren on Stepik. For example, Generation Python: A Beginner’s Course .

“Open education”

Open Education is a very useful and necessary project for learning programming, mathematics and many other sciences. This resource hosts courses from leading Russian universities, such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, ITMO, and the Higher School of Economics.

Courses are structured in the format of video lectures, text, tasks, tests and creative assignments. The peculiarity lies in the fact that courses are not always available, but at a certain period, tied to the academic year. For example, at the beginning of September, courses on Javascript, algorithms, C ++ and others begin. If you do not enroll on time, you will have to wait for the launch of the new course. At the same time, any person can enroll, the educational process is completely free. If you need a certificate, you will have to pay for it. The document can be used for transfer at any university.

Lectures at Open Education are designed for students. Therefore, it is better to get acquainted with the courses if you already have a certain level of preparation. However, there are basic courses that tell, for example, about working with HTML from scratch. These courses are recorded by highly qualified teachers, so they are made very high quality and affordable. Lessons will be quite within the power of children who have mastered the basics of programming in Scratch and want to develop further. For example, the course ” Web Programming ” is similar in content to the HTML Academy courses.

Yandex.Practicum

Although Yandex.Practicum courses are generally paid, basic knowledge, for example, the basics of web development or the Python language, can be obtained here for free. The initial level will be quite within the power of children of 9-12 years old (depending on their level of training).

The service is good because the training courses are written in the form of accessible dialogues, with insertion of videos and in place with selected tests that help to better assimilate the material. Plus Yandex.Practicum is a well-made program. The downside is the too high cost of a full course of study. For a full Python course, for example, they want 85,000 rubles. In Open Education, similar knowledge can be obtained free of charge.

What’s in the future?
What will you get after online training? It all depends only on your desires and aspirations. Any courses are just the foundation, the main thing is regular practice and solving applied problems. Please note that, in addition to those described in the article, there are other projects that prepare programmers for different tasks: developing games, computing codes, interfaces or hardware, for example, microcontrollers. And every day there are more and more of them.

How to start working?
To begin with, you should find small projects and tasks or implement your own ideas, for example, scripts for Minecraft. Experience will gradually accumulate, and the tasks will become more difficult, more interesting, and you will be paid good money for solving them and writing code. The good thing about programming is that the coding skills are universal and international. An experienced programmer is able to find a job anywhere, regardless of country. So the profession of a programmer is interesting and very promising.