It’s the perfect time to set new goals for 2020. While you reflect on all you’ve accomplished in 2019, we encourage you to set a resolution of learning how to code in the new year. Whether you are familiar with or a complete stranger to the concept of coding, this post is for you! So, why exactly would learning this skill be a great move for the turn of the decade?

Knowing how to code unlocks many job opportunities.

It’s true! Being skilled in coding is a very desirable skill in the tech industry. It provides you with the means to understand the language that is used to program the tech that impacts your life every single day. What a commodity!

Learning the skill would provide you with a meaningful challenge.

Sure, it’s easier to coast and avoid learning new things, but where is the fun and fulfillment in that? Learning how to code is definitely a challenge. You will struggle and fail sometimes, but it’s all part of the process and you will come out better for it. You’ll gain a new perspective on the world around you and exactly how tech plays into it.

You’ll potentially be able to craft solutions to real-world problems.

The world of tech development is ever-evolving and ever-expanding. Coding is foundational in those functions. By knowing how coding works (and how to do it yourself), you could flex that skill by, for example, crafting an app or website for an organization that helps people in need. Your options on making an impact on the world around you would be virtually limitless!

You’d become part of a powerful, supportive, and collaborative community.

Coders love collaborating on their development projects and are always in constant communication with each other. Whether you’d be struggling or excelling in your endeavors, you’d have a knowledgeable and skilled network supporting you the whole way through. It would provide you with the opportunity to create fruitful professional and personal relationships alike.

Let’s be honest, the reasons to learn coding far outweigh the reasons to not. Part of living a well-rounded life is committing to being a lifelong learner, and coding is a great choice for deciding where to focus your efforts. We hope this post has inspired you to consider learning this interesting and all-important skill and we also hope you have a fantastic start to the new decade!

If you’re a part of the coding or tech community and you have a milestone coming up that you’d like to celebrate, organizing your party around a computer theme is a fun and interesting choice! Continue reading for some tips on how to make yours the best it can be!

Craft well-designed and tech-oriented digital invitations.

The first impressions your potential guests will form of your party will be based off of the invitations you send out. What better way to reel them in than flexing your design skills and interest in tech by creating interesting and relevant ones?

Choose a relevant color scheme and matching decorations.

Blues, greens, and neutral colors are great choices for your color schemes. You can choose or order a banner that is related to your party theme as well – for example, one that says “Happy Birthday!” (or something similar) spelled out in keyboard squares or binary.

If your party will have assigned seating, you could create tags for the guests’ tables that feature a picture of an open laptop with their names and assigned seats. For an extra flair, you could orient the guests’ cutlery in paper or plastic sleeves that display fun sayings, such as “have a byte,” or design placemats that look like mousepads.

Order food items that relate to the theme of the party.

For example, you could order cupcakes that have a power on/off symbol on each of them. Another interesting choice are cookies that are iced and decorated to look like keyboard squares. If your party will feature a cake, you could choose to order a custom-designed one that will look like a PC tower, monitor, and mouse on top of a circular or square base that is designed to look similarly to a desk.

Choose interesting party favors!

Everyone loves party favors, and by providing ones that are related to your theme choice, you will help your guests have more fun! Order laptop stickers, mousepads, mice, flash drives, or other interesting computer accessories. It’s your choice on whether to order custom designed favors that represent your event, but chances are that your guests will be more likely to use generic (but still visually appealing) favors on a regular basis after your party.

Parties are meant to be fun and engaging celebrations. Regardless of the event you’re celebrating, there are so many ways to express your love of computers in your party planning! We hope this post has given you some inspiration for your next big get-together.

Tech-driven careers are high in demand these days with all of the technological advances we’ve made in just a short ten years. Twenty years ago, our cell phones and laptops were big enough to be used as weights! So if you’re thinking about joining ANY techy career, there are some things you need to think about; one of which is “Do I have the skills required for this industry?” What are these skills, you ask? Take a look!

Communication.

You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, of course I know how to communicate” — but do you, really? Communication is more than speaking casually in a conversation; it’s being able to relay your thoughts, information, and ideas clearly, creatively, and confidently! Especially in a world where you may be speaking, writing, or presenting to people who don’t understand technology languages, it’s important that you can translate effectively and make it as easy as possible for others to understand. That is going to be one of your biggest strengths, as well as giving this information and your thoughts through a creative outlet that doesn’t put people to sleep.

Teamwork.

This is one of those skills that everyone says they have — because you think that if you can work on group projects in school, you can work as a team at a professional job, right? Wrong! While there are some jobs that allow you to work by yourself for most of the time, and then occasionally work in a small group to get a project done, most tech jobs require constant teamwork, and oftentimes you have to rely on other people to get their work done so YOU can get YOURS done.

Organization.

While we’re sure you’ve heard this quite a bit, organizational skills are incredibly important when entering the tech world. Even an “organized mess” would do — so long as you have a system and can find anything in any given moment.

Driven.

Some tech jobs can be thankless, especially when you’re involved in the back of a project, working on things the client and customer will never really see. You have to be driven enough to know that your part is still important, and therefore it needs to be done. You have to have the self motivation to push passed the ache of sitting in front of a computer all day!

Though these may not seem like “skills” they can certainly come in handy for any tech-based career. With these in hand, you’ll be able to conquer your new professional life!

We all want to be able to type faster — it not only saves us time, but it also just makes our lives that much easier. Sure, you can practice, but if we can’t train our brain to follow along, then there’s really no point, right? Well, as it turns out, there ARE ways to put your brain through a mental boot camp and bump up those typing speeds.

Physical training.

It sounds silly, and we promise it’s not anything like what you do when you’re training your body — there are no weights to be lifted here! Instead, use your eyes. When your brain uses both the left and the right hemispheres during a task, it increases memory as well as muscle function; so the trick here is to move your eyes to the left and then the right repeatedly. You’ll find that, after doing this little exercise for only a moment, your typing will become faster and more fluid.

Practice.

That’s literally one of the easiest ways to get better at typing, but you have to be practicing correctly. That means using your fingers in the right positions, avoiding looking at your fingers as much as possible, and sitting straight.

Fix your mistakes.

Some people say not to look back — just type until you’re done and then fix what needs it. This is doable if you’re trying to work solely on your speed, rather than your memory as well. Typing and playing the piano are both right- and left-brained involving activities, so it’s important to train your brain to memorize the keys and how it relates to the word as a whole. Rather than fixing the single letter that was wrong in your word, go back, erase the whole word, and re-write it. You’ll be able to look back and see the progress in just a few sessions!

Sleep.

This is probably one you’ve heard before — and that’s because it’s true! Make sure you’re getting enough sleep before you tackle looking at a screen for long periods of time; the strain on your eyes will make it easier to miss things and harder to concentrate.

Keep up the brain training.

By that, we mean keep looking at complicated pictures, keep buying puzzle books and finding solutions to apparently impossible problems. The healthier your brain, the better. Keep these things in mind the next time that you want to alter any skills you may have, and you’ll find yourself changing into a magnificent person sooner than you think.

The word “coding” has a lot of connotations with it — with many leading to “hard work!” It can be a challenge, but challenges offer incredible opportunities. A lot of young coders, before they even dip a toe into the coding world, ask themselves, “What about coding is cool? How can it be fun at all?”

Here’s your answer!

Coding makes you feel good.

People learn to code for a variety of different reasons — the money, to create, to help people, to challenge themselves, etc. Some people just like being able to have fun with what they’re doing! Coders who do the work professionally and as a living have said that some days, you feel like you don’t know anything because of a new challenge or something you have yet to master, and then there are other days where they feel like they ought to be riding down from Mount Olympus on a flaming chariot. When they see the result of their work helping others or creating something new and fascinating, they can’t help but get the warm fuzzies all over. It’s just good.

Coding continuously shapes your brain.

Learning something you enjoy isn’t the same as learning something for school, because you don’t like all of what you’re studying. When you sit down and pick apart something, and exercise your brain to absorb this new information, it’s really quite enjoyable! You walk away feeling like a genius. Not only that, but your brain will also reap the benefits of coding with an increased memory function and problem solving skills, among other things!

Coding comes in many different forms!

You’ve probably already learned some coding without even knowing it through games and toys. Have you ever heard of Minecraft? It teaches you basic coding concepts through a very immersive game that can be played individually or in a team. LEGO can do the same, especially if you have the Edison Coding Robot, an add-on for the blocks that also teaches you many different coding techniques — from beginner’s algorithms to advanced coding languages!

Not everyone may consider coding as a hobby at first, but to put it simply: coding is fun. For many, many different reasons, and worth giving a try at least once! What have you got to lose?

If there’s one thing that is often overlooked when it comes to instruction, it’s class size. A lot of people don’t even realize that there is a greater benefit to the student when smaller class sizes are in effect, rather than the large 20-something average you find in most public K-12 classes. In large universities, you’ll find even bigger classes! But here’s why these small classes matter so much:

1. More one-on-one attention.

It can be difficult to pin-point where to even begin with large classes, and most times, the students won’t get the same level of face-to-face conversation and guidance that they need in a large room. In a smaller class, your questions get a considerable amount of time for detailed answers. Should you be having a hard time with a concept, the instructor has the time and the ability to tailor the lecture or lesson on the spot and help you or your classmate grasp what you had both previously missed.

2. You get to know your classmates better.

Believe it or not, getting to know the person you’re learning alongside is extremely beneficial to your learning; not everyone learns the same, so you may take away something that your classmate didn’t, or vice versa, and not only does this give you a teaching or learning moment, but it also makes it possible for every student to succeed.

3. Less distractions and disruptions.

It’s hard to keep an eye on a classroom full of over 30 students, and we’d bet money that there are some that aren’t interested, and don’t want to learn. Those students will find a way to entertain themselves, and, like a wave, send disruption throughout the room. In a smaller class, a teacher can ask each student individually what they’re thinking, how they got to a certain conclusion, etc.

4. Your classroom becomes a community.

Due to the smaller numbers, you can turn to anyone and ask a question, and everyone will be able to leave input without the other person getting drowned out. Class discussions and debates are an important part of learning, and with less people occupying the room, the involvement of each student goes up.

Small class sizes are a blessing, through grades K-12 and all the way up to Graduate School, it’s been proven over and over again how good they are for learning, increasing moral, confidence, and overall grades and work quality. Once you start taking classes with a limited headcount, we promise you won’t want it any other way ever again!

We often hear the saying “our children are our future,” and we just roll our eyes because it’s hard to think about someone who can’t legally drive or vote or do anything remotely “adult” being in charge of us all.

But we need to.

If your child is on the cusp of graduating high school, or fresh and new to the world, we as adults need to think about how we’re preparing them to run the world, because, well, they will in one way or another. So how can we prepare our future leaders? Here are some ideas.

Education is a big deal when it comes to shaping our young minds.

Of course our kids are going to school — that’s kind of a mandatory thing — but are they enjoying it and taking away everything they can from it? We, as parents, guardians, teachers, neighbors — whatever — need to make learning fun! Let them explore their interests but also try to make their dislikes less of a chore. Introduce learning games, songs, or hands-on learning activities for older students. Keeping a balanced life between extra-curricular activities, elective courses, and other studies is also incredibly important, and when one takes over the others, it can cause a fall in grades, lack of sleep or proper nutrition, and even depression.

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics. S.T.E.M.

There is a real push for STEM activities now more than ever as the world around us moves forward into an age of technology. STEM education teaches teamwork and problem solving techniques, as well as encourages experimentation, knowledge application, and adaptation. It’s not a “nerd” thing anymore; there are real benefits to STEM education. Who knows, maybe your kiddos will find that they enjoy it!

The Arts.

With the same energy we praise and push STEM education, we also need to promote “the arts”; countless studies show how important it is to expose a child to a world of art, music, theatre, and the like as well as the classical reading, writing, and math. While it’s not something we should throw at the students and hope something sticks, let them explore both ends of the spectrum. An engineer can love theatre just as much, and maybe in the future, apply it to a career.

And lastly, emotional support.

Our future leaders will not be able to thrive without a support system, just as adults cannot thrive without one. While they may be smaller, students are still human and need that little bit of love. Teach them how to handle stress in a healthy, productive way — what coping mechanisms work for them as an individual? There are other ways that we can support and help them develop emotionally, such as encouragement, praise, and taking a genuine interest in their passions. Adults are the embers beneath their fire that keep them going when they run low, and the more we build them up, the better they will do. With these things in mind, we can help shape the leaders of tomorrow’s world, today.

You never really know what’s out there until you search for it. That’s probably the very paraphrased version of a wise proverb, but in this case, it’s literal! If you love technology and, honestly, you kind of have to at this point in the world’s evolution, you need to know that there are way more items out there for you to experience! Not just a phone or a tablet, but other cool tech tools for your main devices, and it’s like living in a spy movie. Take a look!

Portable battery banks.

These aren’t just those small blocks you saw dangling from a phone every once in a while, these things are legit. They’re compact, but have enough power to charge up to three devices at once! Some even have the charging pad, a USB port, AND a charging cable. Some banks are brand specific — Apple products, Andriod, etc — so be careful which one you buy!
P.S. The singular portable chargers are still very cool; they can come in cool designs like a keychain, or a carabiner (those metal hooks you use in backpacking or rock climbing).

Bondic.

It’s not something you would think about, but this pen uses liquid plastic to weld, repair, and build just about anything. It’s especially good for any techies who love to get into hands-on projects. Try using this next time you want to build a computer!

Drones.

These are basically the remote control cars of today, and are insanely cool! They run from small “toy” sizes, to large machines that are used in insurance claims, military operations, and other things. If you have an affinity for robotics or programming, definitely get your hands on one of these guys.

Photography lenses.

Believe it or not, they make extensions for your smartphone to turn your photos from good to unbelievable! They just snap onto the front of your camera, and give you a wide variety of effects, from fisheye to wide-angle! Add in a timer and a tripod, and who needs an old-fashioned camera?

Bluetooth speakers.

These are a necessity for anyone who likes their music. While these are more of a luxury, you can definitely put them to good use for a movie night in the living room, or a party at the beach. So long as you have a phone, you can pair it up to just about any Bluetooth device. Did I mention that they come in cool shapes and colors? Some are even water-proof and can float!

There are many different tools and fun little things out there to make your digital world a better one, all you have to do is give it a look!