Coding provides the basis for a whole world of technological systems and devices used in our society today. For many, learning to code is the first step they take in their quest for a career in video game design and development. There are many languages, each used for different gaming platforms and attributes. Here are a few of the more notable languages you should learn if you plan on making games for a living.

C++

The quintessential coding language for developing video games is C++. It has been used for years by PC and console game makers. While learning C++ can help you grasp other languages, it should be noted that it’s not an easy language to learn. Once it is learned however, you will have the ability to create complex graphics in games engines like Unreal, Unity, and Sony’s PhyreEngine.

C#

The language is basically added power for developing games on Windows and Xbox, since the language was developed by Windows. The majority of games using C# are developed on the Unity engine, which is used for, among other things, training simulators and software created for first responders. Because Unity utilizes visual actions and is not made for asset-creation, C# is a good language for beginners to learn.

Objective C

The explosive growth of cell phone use and development has no doubt made mobile gaming a contender in the traditionally console dominated war for gamers. Objective C is used in creating games for OS X and iOS, anything played on a MAC, iPhone, or iPad. The language is used in the frameworks Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, with the app development software Xcode relying on it almost exclusively. Master it, and you’ll be making the next Candy Crush in no time.

Java

A great language to learn if you’re just getting into video game coding, Java is a computer programming program that’s been around for a while. Java isn’t widely used in video game development, but it is the main programming language used to make mobile Android games. Web-based games also use Java, in conjunction with Flash.

HTML5, CSS3, and SQL

Along with Java, several other web programming languages are key to developing web-based video games. HTML5 for instance, can be used interchangeably with JavaScript in some instances. CSS3, the newest form of CSS, can be used in conjunction with HTML5. SQL has more back-end processes including trophies, achievements, save points, and other means to measure data during the game. These languages will be your best friend if you’re interested solely in the web game market.

Whichever language you decide to learn, each can be mastered through practice and use of training materials provided both online and in coding schools. Video games are constantly breaking new ground, so staying on top of new languages will put you at the forefront of the industry.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” These words were once said by legendary salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. Coding is not sales, but there is one thing that the two share in common… the idea that you can be successful while also uplifting those around you, maybe even changing the world in the process. There are many movements and lines of work that lie at the intersection coding and philanthropy.

Here are a few of the ways that you can help change the world with your coding skills.  

Life-Changing Robotics

It was only a couple of years ago that bionic limbs were just the stuff of films and video games. Fast forward to our present day and we’ve come further than we ever thought possible. The implementation of 3D printing has done wonders when driven by smart software. Coding provides the basis for fluid movement and creates a prosthetic more familiar to the user than what has traditionally been available to them.

Conserving the Environment

Renewable energy continues to be a hot topic and will no doubt remain on everyone’s minds. Luckily, equipment systems and emission tracking software is making big strides toward a cleaner planet. Coding is also helping promote the survival of the earth’s diverse and fragile wildlife. Artificial intelligence and complex databases tracking animals real-time can accurately document their growth, falling numbers due to deforestation or poaching, and even the onset of life-threatening natural disasters like wildfires and red tide outbreak.

Charity Coding

Imagine coming together with a group of coders for 48 hours of researching and developing prototypes in a quest for coding greatness! Sounds a little over-the-top, but hackathons are responsible for some serious real-world solutions implemented today. Starting in the late 1990s, hackathons are aimed at developing new products or solutions to existing problems. It wasn’t long until people realized these events could do more than just drive sales. Many non-profits don’t have the money or manpower to fix their tech problems. Hackathons and other charity coding initiatives give back to these organizations that are too busy focusing on helping others.

How Else Can You Help?

Someone taught you to code, either a school, a mentor, or an instructor developed program online. You now have a gift, and you can share it with the world. Help those around you, maybe a friend who has a struggling business online, or an artist trying to create the optimal website to showcase their work. A piece of advice, or some suggestions from an expert like yourself (don’t be so modest), can bring them success. If your knowledge can improve the life of the person one screen over from you, then you’re already doing your small part to change the world.

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that their kids often find it easy to get into a new activity or hobby without much prodding from parents. This is especially true for activities  like sports or music. However, when you mention programming for kids, the reception can be lukewarm. Most people wouldn’t really put the words “exciting” and “coding” in the same sentence – especially those who haven’t tried it yet.

Of course, we know how fun and empowering coding is, but the problem lies in helping kids see past misconceptions about coding to see how fun it really is! Fortunately, we have 4 surefire steps that will turn that “no way” to a “fine, I’ll try it out, I guess.” And trying it out is all you need – once a kid or teen experiences the fun in coding, they’ll be singing a different tune.

The Lowdown on Coding

So what is this coding thing, anyway? Well, remember how humans communicate with other humans through the use of language? It’s just like that. The only difference: instead of communicating with a person, you are communicating with a machine. This is why when you learn to code, we use programming languages. And if you look at these lines of code and don’t understand a single thing, it’s okay!  It’s just communicating with the computer

Imagine going to a foreign country with a different language. Of course, understanding what’s being said is hard because you don’t know the language. However, once you start learning the language, everything starts to make sense! It’s the same thing with programming languages – it looks like gibberish until you start to learn the syntax and methods of speech.

The idea of talking to machines may seem like something straight out of a sci-fi film, but the truth is, humans have been doing it for a long time! But we’re not talking about bloodthirsty artificial intelligence like in “The Terminator.” Through programming languages, humans can give orders to computers and make them perform different types of actions based on the situation.  The computers can do normal commands and calculations exponentially faster than humans, without getting tired, burnt out, or talking back.

What’s In It For Them?

So why should you encourage kids or teens to take up coding? There are so many hobbies and recreational activities out there, why should kids choose coding? For one, coding allows kids to bring to life things that normally would be impossible. When it comes to creativity and imagination, kids are a bottomless well. They can be superheroes one day, and futuristic androids the next. They can have dragons for pets and dwarves and elves for sidekicks.

Coding empowers kids and teens, allowing them to unleash their imagination and turn their fantasies into reality! Of course, this doesn’t mean that coding will magically give your kids superpowers, but it allows them to create a superhero from scratch, armed with all the powers that they wish. They can build artificial worlds where they are the hero and they’re off to a wonderful adventure together with their comrades.  And when you put it that way, maybe they can be superheroes themselves!

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go ahead with these 4 easy steps to pique your kids’ interest in the fascinating world of coding.

Step #1: Make Coding Fun Again!

A lot of youngsters care a lot about what others think about them. And cool is a word that some wouldn’t associate with programming; in fact, a lot of kids think coding is boring and only losers or nerds do it.

How do you combat this? Simple, just make coding fun for kids and teens. It’s actually as easy as it sounds – think of all the things that kids find cool, and associate it with coding.

Let’s take, for example, Minecraft – a game that’s popular with the kids. So what does Minecraft have to do with coding? Well, Minecraft is written in JavaScript, a popular programming language. In Minecraft, players can code inside the game itself! You see, the game has an item called a Command Block, where you can input lines of code. With Command Blocks, players can do anything from spawning a mob, or even create a fully automated farming system.

Kids as young as 7 years old are learning to input basic codes using Command Blocks to make Minecraft more fun. While Minecraft is one of the most obvious examples of how cool coding is, it’s not the only one. Kids and teens love games and gadgets, and these things run using lines of code. Youngsters will find it fascinating that these seemingly magical contraptions operate using a code, and with enough training, they can pull off the same feat!

Step #2: Coding and Real Life Applications

You can also get teens and kids hooked on coding by using practical and relatable examples. Let’s be honest – lines of gibberish don’t really mean much at first. However, they will understand things better if you take situations and examples from real life.

Kids are generally easier since they are curious and creative, but, they also have a short attention span. The same is true for some teens, so when you’re explaining certain aspects of coding, simple and linear examples are the best. For example, if you want them to explain conditional statements, ask them what they would do if their classmate Bob suddenly invited them to have lunch. Bob’s a nice guy, but not your closest friend, so will you go? No? Then what if Bob said he’ll pay for your lunch, will you join him then? Probably yes. Explain that the example is the basic concept of conditional statements. The computer’s actions depend on what conditions are met and what events are triggered.

Step #3: Simplify the Process

If you start talking to kids and teens about variables, arrays, and algorithms, all you’re going to get are blank looks. Even ordinary adults with no programming background will find it difficult to understand. Programmers have their own language, with different terms and word definitions. For ordinary folks, a bug is an insect. For programmers, a bug is a break or error in the program. To get kids interested in coding, you have to speak their language. Use simple terms! Don’t worry, once they know enough about programming, they will become more familiar with the advanced terms.

Also, if you want kids and teens to love coding, you should put them in an environment that’s conducive for learning. Not all mentors and guides on the web are good for kids and teens. Some are targeted at adults and require a faster pace. What you need is a learning environment that’s specifically designed for kids and teens. Here at Coder School, the pace is a lot slower. The focus is not on learning as many things as possible, but to make sure the students are having fun.

Step #4: Coding Classes For Kids Turn Coding Into A Social Activity

Loneliness makes things less fun for kids and teens, and they are more likely to quit an activity if they’re doing it alone. Although it’s possible to learn coding through YouTube videos, it isn’t as fun as attending coding classes for kids. Aside from finding new friends, they can maintain their interest for coding because they are surrounded by other kids and teens who all love coding.

With coding schools, kids and teens are encouraged to work together as a team. Instead of coming up with a project or small program on their own, they join forces to build something truly amazing. As they say, two heads are better than one!

A Note To Parents

There are actually parents out there who discourage their kids from coding. Some parents fear that if their kids get attached to coding, they’ll lock themselves in their rooms and forget about social interaction, physical activities, and family. This is simply not true. A lot of youngsters do tend to keep to themselves, but this is mostly due to their personalities as opposed to being a side effect of learning programming languages.

Coding may even encourage kids and teens to go out and explore more. After all, you can’t get inspiration for new coding projects inside your room. A lot of programmers go around, observe their surroundings, and take note of everyday problems that can be solved by a program. This is what coding is all about – solving everyday problems using a program. And you can’t find problems to solve inside your room.

On the other hand, some parents really want their kids to start coding. This is especially true for parents who are programmers. However, kids and teens have their own minds and you should take care not to overstep your boundaries. Sharing your love for coding is fine, but don’t force them to like it. Your reasons for loving programming languages  may not be the same as your child’s, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll love it less. Allow them to discover how great it is on their own and simply be there to offer support and guidance when they need it.

Do you have a budding developer on your hands? Nurture and develop their love for coding by signing up for a class at any of our locations nationwide! Alternatively, you can try us out by taking advantage of our free trial lesson today!

You’ve probably started to hear about the benefits of learning to code and are wondering if it’s right for you. Without a doubt, one of the biggest questions crossing your mind is “will it be boring?” Like any new skill, the initial steps will always seem a bit menial and repetitive, but eventually you harness your true power and you’re never the same. (Remember fidget spinners?)

But, what about when coding is your job?

Well, the same rule of thumb applies. Coding is a skill that unlocks a whole world of possibilities and makes it possible to even create whole worlds online, at theme parks, and in video games. It’s literally the building blocks to so many things we use in our daily lives, which puts incredible power at your fingertips. For certain people, the entry level tasks of a coding job will be frustrating at first, there’s no getting around that fact. The work will challenge you to solve problems through repetition, and force you to have a keen attention to detail. But, if you’ve looked into coding for some time now, then you probably find excitement in these challenges.

The great thing about coding jobs is that they are not resigned to one industry. Web and software development jobs are expected to grow 44% by 2024, which means there’s going to be a lot of open positions in startups, engineering firms, and even game studios. While there are major differences in each industry, each requires the use of basic coding.

It’s important that you don’t get caught up in all the intricacies of coding and focus more on the result of your hard work. As a computer programmer you will have the chance to create everything you see on the internet, along with things the world hasn’t even seen yet! Since coding is the basis for all systems, you can end up creating totally new systems and solutions for any problems that arise in your job. If you love social media, think about how great it would be to develop Instagram’s newest feature, or a new filter for Snapchat. Imagine helping other game developers design the next Super Mario or working in a mobile app company that’s creating the next addictive game.

Coding is not for everyone, but it’s also not reserved only for “tech geniuses.” If this was the case, we wouldn’t have all the technology that allows us to be creative, connect with others, and make money. Your journey begins with a basic knowledge of coding, but you decide where you want to take that knowledge and apply it. What others may find boring about a coding job, you may see as the path to endless workplace solutions and lifetime opportunities.

Coding has gone from seeming like a form of mystical magic to a skill taught around the world to children and adults. No longer seen as some unattainable skill reserved for scientists and wiz-kids, coding is gaining popularity across a wide range of industries and communities. Here’s why you should join the thousands of people who have made coding their latest hobby.

Learning at Your Leisure

Coding can be learned from the comfort of your own home – all that’s required is a computer and, in most cases, an internet connection as well. Adults and children can attend classes online, through Meetup groups, and with a private instructor. You can also learn coding according to your learning style. Visual learners will find YouTube videos extremely helpful, while those who retain information easily can access hundreds of articles about the subject online. Kids have even more choices for learning to code and can even attend a fun after-school program at an organization like ours – the Coder School – which specializes in introductory coding.

Job Opportunities

The importance of technology has been evidenced in the growth of STEM jobs throughout the past couple of years, and it shows no signs of slowing in the future. Software engineering, web development (front and back-end), video game design, and mobile app development are all jobs that require coding knowledge. Even if you don’t plan to work in these specific industries, many employers will see coding on your resume as a bonus, making you a better candidate for the job.

Another Tool in Your Toolbox

One of the great things about coding is that you can apply it to a whole range of other hobbies and projects. If you enjoy writing blogs, coding will allow you to customize your layout, so it appeals to even more readers. Are you interested in making your own video games? Programs like Stencyl, Unreal Engine, and even Roblox Studio can be mastered with even the most basic coding skills. What may seem like a series of numbers and characters assembled in random patterns is actually a portal to endless creative possibilities.

The Ultimate Puzzle

Were you the kid who immediately completed the puzzles on the back of the kid’s menu? Do you play Zelda games without throwing the controller in frustration? Are Sudoku and word searches your idea of a good time? If you answered yes to these questions, then you’d almost certainly enjoy learning to code! Coding is the ultimate puzzle, you are trying to figure out the best way to make the language come to life on a screen or in a machine’s movements, and that involves a ton of problem solving abilities. Like any good puzzle, the results will make you feel proud, and motivate you to start on the next problem.

Want your child to learn coding? Coding skills can be facilitated and mastered during free time as an exciting and productive hobby.