Often times we hear news stories about how middle class jobs are slowly disappearing and making way for the tech revolution. Automated jobs are said to be leaving workers without a way to make ends meet as they suddenly won’t be needed anymore.

This, of course, is an extreme scenario and chances are that this won’t happen and if it did, it wouldn’t be sudden or over night.

We believe that coding teaches you way more than just how to code. It teaches you how to think! It teaches you that there’s always a solution to a problem and that collaboration for the sake of one end goal can result in extraordinary creations.

With all that being said, we believe that learning to code will create more jobs instead of taking them away. An article on WIRED titled “The Next Big Blue-Collar Job is Coding” seems to agree.

“When I ask people to picture a coder, they usually imagine someone like Mark Zuckerberg: a hoodied college dropout who builds an app in a feverish 72-hour programming jag—with the goal of getting insanely rich and, as they say, “changing the world.”

It goes on to say that this isn’t entirely accurate and that “The Valley employs only 8 percent of the nation’s coders.”

The reality is, with all the new technologies, courses, and ways to learn how to code (such as after school, in-person programs), that coding is becoming more accessible for people to learn.

It’s as simple as surrounding yourself with the right people. The environment around you has a much bigger impact than you think and surrounding yourself with people who have the same goal likely will accelerate the learning process.

In Kentucky, where you hear about a loss of mining jobs, Rusty Justice cofounded Bit Source, which is a code shop that retrains coal miners into programmers. 10-years ago, no one would have ever thought that a predominantly labor focused workforce could learn how to program but they are.

“Coal miners are really technology workers who get dirty,” Justice says. In due time, there will no doubt be more examples of this across other industries. Coding is a bridge to a new lifestyle and career. Don’t believe the media hype! Coding will only create more jobs, not take them away.

This article will discuss ways to give parents and students some good ideas of how to continue making progress even when they’re not in their coaching sessions as well as helping them to make their sessions more productive. We all know what goes on during a coding session when a student is working closely with their Code Coach® learning, asking questions, and building. We’re not going to discuss those things, but instead are going to focus on what students should be doing outside of their sessions. We do understand that today’s kids are inundated with so many after school activities that sometimes it’s very difficult to do much else other than attend their actual sessions. This is fine so we’re not condemning these kids for being super busy and active. However, if a student does have time we want to make sure they’re aware of things they can do before and after their sessions.We asked a bunch of our Code Coaches® for some of their best recommendations for their students and here’s a summarized list of the top ones. 

Come Prepared

Spend time thinking about what you want to accomplish in your upcoming session. This way you won’t waste the first few minutes of your next session trying to figure out what you want to accomplish.
It will also keep your project work fresh in your mind so that you will have at the top of your mind allowing you to get right into your lesson. Don’t worry about there being a minimum amount of time you have to spend thinking about it. The more the merrier of course, but even 15 minutes prior to your lesson will help.

Pick a new project

When you’re close to completing a project and will be transitioning to a new one, spend time during the week online browsing other projects in the language that you’re working in. Look for some cool projects that would be engaging to you. This is generally a fun exercise anyway, but it will also save you quite a bit of time having to do this with your Code Coach®. There’s better ways to spend your time with your Code Coach® since you can browse projects on your own outside of your lesson. 

Practice Syntax

Syntax is certainly something that you don’t need your Code Coach® to practice. There’s plenty of online sites that have exercises for you to improve your coding syntax. It’s more guided so you can focus on your syntax more and spend more time on your logic and design while with your Code Coach®. An exmple of one of these sites is Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org).

set goals

Always set goals. This is actually just good advice in general. Without goals, it’s always easy to lose focus. This goes for life in general, but especially when learning to code. If you set a goal, you’re more focused and your tasks at hand become more clear. It keeps you on an upward and more narrow path towards your goal. Once you achieve your goal, rinse and repeat and set another goal to accomplish.

visualize and write things down

To help you in achieving your goals, one helpful tip is to visualize it and write them down. Visualization helps you get comfortable and gives you confidence that you can do it. The exercise of writing it down gives you more commitment towards achieving it. So use both of these to your advantage. Each are simple to do and doesn’t take much time at all and we promise they will help you reach your goals much faster.



Build fundamental skills and Project Prep

No matter how good you are, there’s always room to improve in your fundamentals. A great example is if you’re younger and not yet proficient at typing, work on your typing skills. There’s plenty of online typing sites which you can do for free. If improving your fundamentals is too boring for you, work on some of the extra-curricular items for your project such as the images and sprites. Browse for some fun images or use online editors to build your sprites.


In Summary, always try and use your time wisely. If you have some spare time in between your lessons there’s so many things that you can be doing to continue your progress and to allow for your Code Coach® to focus on more critical things during your lessons. And remember, even if it’s just 15 minutes of free time that you have, you can still use it to your advantage.

By Camille D, age 16

Create comprehensive websites simply by dragging and dropping, using Anvil – a Python-based service that takes a multifaceted approach to full-stack web development.  Even with other platforms such as Squarespace and Weebly dominating the ecosystem of drag and drop-based web development, Anvil provides a direct path for users to not only master the art of website creation, but also actively learn the Python language.

Anvil was built by Meredydd Luff and Ian Davies with simplicity and efficiency in mind—using Anvil, all the time it takes to learn the cornucopia of languages typically employed in web development (HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, etc.) can be eliminated.  Anvil was also designed for users of any level of experience with Python—aspiring developers may learn Python concurrently while using the service.

With its abundance of resources and manuals, Anvil’s teaching algorithm passes all tests.  Anvil’s video tutorials1 each give comprehensive procedures on how to use their features, from their multi-user app capabilities to business analytics.  For those like myself, however, who believe in the worked-example effect, the service also introduces an array of premade templates2 with which users can experiment and learn the ropes of building web features with Python.  An Anvil-specific code documentation3 is also accessible through the main page, pictured below, and is structured with an introduction on using Python for the site and a brief set of instructions for each module, component, and function.

UI design in Anvil both starts and ends in its online IDE, whose facilities streamline the workflow of both front and back-end development.  Among the most convenient features of this IDE is its toolbox from which all the fundamental web components such as links, calendars, and text, are dragged and dropped.

Learning to code can open up a lot more doors for you than a lot of other careers. Because of that, you’ll have way more options than you would in many other careers. Companies will pay more and you’ll have your pick of where you want to live. Some cities or states pay a lot more than others but where do they pay the most?

 Seattle, WA Seattle, WA

The rankings, courtesy of Glassdoor:

  • Seattle, WA: With a real adjusted salary of $105,735 and 4,205 job openings.
  • San Jose, CA: With a real adjusted salary of $100,989 and 2,017 job openings.
  • San Francisco, CA: With a real adjusted salary of $99,751 and 2,232 job openings.
  • Madison, WI: With a real adjusted salary of $97,236 and 105 job openings.
  • Raleigh, NC: With a real adjusted salary of $94,142 and 416 job openings.

It’s no surprise to see San Francisco and San Jose near the top. Seattle reigns as the highest but isn’t too far ahead of either San Jose or San Francisco. The two biggest surprises are Madison, WI and Raleigh, NC.

Of course, you don’t have to move to those cities. The cost of living is higher and some coders elect instead to live in a city with lower cost of living.  The moral of the story, if you can code, you might have a high paying job waiting for you!

Naturally and intuitively you would think that coding is just for coders. Who could blame you since only coders code right? That’s an obvious assumption, but you’d be incorrect in making this assumption. Everybody can code now! And actually everybody should learn to code now! 


At theCoderSchool, the goal is to help teach coding to all kids. That’s right, “All” kids. We are not just trying to teach kids that want to major in computer science in college or only those that want to work as a software developer when they grow up. The target is absolutely all kids. We believe that all kids will benefit from learning to think like a coder.


Language Agnostic

The key is to be language agnostic. Don’t focus on forcing your child to learn a particular language such as java or any other language. The better thing to focus on is teaching them to improve their logic and problem solving skills and to think like a coder. The logic skills that they learn can forever be utilized, whereas the nuances of a particular language that are learned may end up useless. It’s quite likely that any language they’re learning now will be defunct by the time they’re in college or in the workplace. There’s certainly not a lot of value in knowing the syntax of Pascal or FORTRAN which are two of the languages that I learned at a young age. The more important learning is what comes to mind when presented with a problem such as “How would you write a program to write out all prime numbers from 1 to 100?”. The logic that enters your mind is what’s critical and can be employed in any language, and even a new language that hasn’t been invented yet.The logic to solve the prime number problem will always remain the same. It’s the languages that will keep changing, so no reason to focus on a particular language as a young child. Learning to code is not about memorization of the nuances of a coding language, but rather learning logic skills and how to solve problems. Now that we know this, we can better understand why coding isn’t just for coders. And of course why learning to code would benefit anyone. 


Learning to code will improve a child’s ability to solve problems. This can be helpful in places that are not so obvious. For example, it can help kids with sports. Beyond the physical skills needed to play a sport, many times sporting events are decided by the mental toughness of the athletes. By learning to think like a coder, children learn to solve problems which is a skill they can use when strategizing their X’s and O’s even in sports. They will be better equipped to change their strategy to fix something that is not working. 

Personal Life

A second not so obvious example is that learning to code can help children dealing with personal problems too. It teaches them to never panic and how to break large problems down into smaller ones that can be solved one at a time. It also teaches them that if they’re persistent and keep solving the smaller problems eventually a very large problem can be handled and solved. This same mentality will also without a doubt help them when dealing with personal problems completely unrelated to coding.


A third example is that in the workplace, those that have learned to code will on average make more. “Jobs requiring coding skills pay $22,000 more than positions that don’t, and the demand for employees with such skills is expected to grow 12 percent faster than the overall job market during the next decade.” according to Burning Glass Technologies. The findings from market research firm Burning Glass Technologies also shows nearly 7 million job openings in the U.S. required coding skills last year, representing 20 percent of the total market for “career-track” jobs. Coding is quickly becoming a necessity in positions outside the tech industry that never used to require it, including finance, manufacturing, health care, and art design. It’s getting tougher and tougher to escape.


In summary, I have to refer back to the title itself. Simply put, coding isn’t just for coders! It
truly is for and will benefit anyone that learns it no matter what professional field they are
targeting. As always, if you need some help or guidance in learning to code, don’t hesitate to utilize one of our Code Coaches®.

Learning to code is a process that won’t happen overnight. It’s true that some people get it faster than other things just like everything else in life. The reality is that everyone has to go through the necessary steps. Remember, learning to code is the process of learning how to think and skipping steps doesn’t mean you’ll get to the end faster.

Actually, there is no true end when learning to code. There are always going to be problems to be solved, processes to improve and new languages to learn. Learning how to do this quickly and efficiently is what learning to code is all about.

While coding can be frustrating, it can also be very fun and rewarding. The worst thing you can do is stress out about not learning something fast enough or getting mad at yourself for getting stuck on a single concept.

Learning to code takes time. You will get stuck on one concept for months and then one day it will click! When it does click it’s one of the most refreshing things that will happen to you. In other words, you’ll have an epiphany. Once you have the foundation in place, learning another language becomes much easier than it did the first time.

It’s also very important to take it one step at a time. Skipping steps could frustrate the learning process. How do you eat an elephant (if you ever wanted to, of course)? One bite at a time! Coding is like one massive never-ending elephant and stuffing too much in your mouth at one time will create an unpleasant experience.

Practice makes perfect but trying to be perfect will hurt your practice. Break stuff and mess up and you’ll learn faster. Make sure it’s in a structured environment, preferably with a code coach®, who can explain their thought process as you learn to fix it along the way.

Finally, learning with a group of people with the same end goal in mind makes coding more fun and much easier to learn. Coder school is an excellent after school environment that lends itself to learning how to code much faster than doing it by yourself.

Mindset tips I wish I knew when I started programming

PlayCanvas has been a great platform for teaching kids javascript at theCoderSchool. But before we get further into it, let’s set the stage with a little background information. Javascript is is a high-level, dynamic, weakly typed, object-based, multi-paradigm, and interpreted programming language. Wow, how many technical terms were in that description. Simply said, JS is awesome! It’s one of the core backbones of the World Wide Web. That’s really all that’s needed to be said right?

For obvious reasons the drag n drop languages such as Scratch and Snap are the best introductory languages as kids these days are starting into coding even before being able to type. However, as kids become ready for their first typed language, theCoderSchool is finding that a lot of them are choosing JavaScript. 

JS as a First Typed Language

Kids really enjoy and do well learning JS as a first typed language. It’s one of the easier and more engaging languages to help kids make the transition from drag n drop into typed coding. It allows their code coaches to keep them more engaged by introducing graphical programming more easily. With that said, the difficult part is to sustain their interest. Our code coaches at theCoderSchool have found that using the PlayCanvas platform has helped give their students a longer term engagement and focus. 

Why PlayCanvas Works

PlayCanvas is an opensource 3D game engine. It’s also a cloud-hosted platform which allows for easy accessibility from anywhere anytime simply from a browser. With everything that PlayCanvas offers, probably its most effective feature is its interactive 3D capabilities. The engine is capable of rigid-body physics simulation, handling three-dimensional audio and 3D animations. It allows kids to interact with 3D. Need we say more? It’s super engaging and fun while at the same time provides exceptional learning. It also challenges kids to build games and see other games that were built as inspiration.

project Ideas

One fun project idea that we’ve done is to allow your student to design and even 3D print out their own fidget spinner. We took a shortcut and uploaded an initial design into Blender, but in PlayCanvas you can do your own design or base it on a template as well. The basic design with the end caps is 3 separate design pieces (this is important if your going to 3D print it). Then allow your students to add a logo or their name to it which is always something kids love to do. Once you get the final design you like, it’s great if you have access to a 3D printer to print it out. If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can always outsource it at a reasonable cost. Don’t forget that you will need to purchase the ball-bearings separately. How can you go wrong when introducing the most popular fidget spinner combined with 3D printing. It’s a double win-win combo! 

A second project idea falls within the lines of the more traditional gaming genre which is always a hit with kids. You can have your students build anything resembling one of their favorite video games and you will almost certainly have a happy camper. You don’t have to build out the entire game. Most of the time, just replicating a few key features and functionality is enough. Here’s an example. It’s a 3D game where you control a spaceship and shoot asteroids.What’s not to like?

Last, but not least, is a third fun project that a student built which is quite creative. They created their own original game with an objective of navigating a watermelon down an unbalanced plank through spikes. Is that out of the blue or what? Check it out here.


In summary, one of the primary keys to kids learning will always be interest and engagement. There’s lots of great platforms and new ones keep popping up everyday. We’ve highlighted PlayCanvas as one in particular that works well, but more importantly, use whatever best suits you and your student to keep the both of you excited. There’s certainly no shortage of fun project ideas, and if you need some extra guidance don’t hesitate to utilize one of our Code Coaches®.

Lose 10 pounds?  Exercise more?  Be more positive?  I got one – how about learning to code?

Learning to code is about so much more than just making a lot of money. It’s challenging, fulfilling, teaches you to think and helps you make improvements to the world you never thought imaginable.  With that being said, everyone needs to make a living some way or another. That’s the nice thing about learning to code as the jobs pay a lot more than anything else. How much more do they pay?

“Jobs requiring coding skills pay $22,000 more than positions that don’t, and the demand for employees with such skills is expected to grow 12 percent faster than the overall job market during the next decade” –Burning Glass Technologies

Teaching and learning to code has become a global movement. Getting ahead of this trend can help position you for a very long and lucrative career in any number of fields, including of course coding. How did Burning Glass Technologies figure this out? They analyzed 26 million online job postings published in 2015 that were posted on job boards, newspapers and websites. They combined this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Data from the College Board suggest not enough students are getting an early start in the field. Only 2 percent of students in the College Board’s advanced placement program studied computer science last year, and only 22 percent of those students were female. Computer science was the fastest growing Advanced Placement test in 2014 and 2015, however, as the number of students taking those tests increased 25 percent.”

At Coder School, we can help you get ahead of these trends and carve out a long lucrative career in any industry – including computer programming.  So if you need a great New Years Resolution, maybe learning to code fits the bill!

 Green Tree Python.  Just like the language.

Green Tree Python.  Just like the language.

Are you wondering what programming language you should learn? Python may be the best one you could choose. David Robinson, who is a data scientist at Stack Overflow, claims Python could be the fastest-growing major programming language around.

Python became the most visited tag on Stack Overflow just this past June. The US and UK lead the charge as it holds the top spot in both countries. It’s top two behind Java or JavaScript just about everywhere else.

At this rate, Robinson predicts that Python will be the most visited tag in 2018. R, Go, Rust and TypeScript are also accelerating but at a much smaller rate than Python. Robinson doesn’t think that more means better. Looking at these numbers simply helps us all understand the developer ecosystem and how it could be changing.

At theCoderSchool, Python is one of our go-to languages when it comes to transitioning kids away from Scratch.  Using cool online platforms like Trinket or PixelPad and local libraries like Pygame, we’ve got our own unique way of helping get engaged into a typed world from a drag n drop world.  After all, drag-n-drop is awesome, but you gotta get typing at some point right?

Learning to code is important. Everywhere we look, we’re implementing technology and/or software into everyday things to improve our lives and change the world. Computers are now used to automate everyday tasks, make us more efficient, build amazing things or help us keep in touch with loved ones.

Everyday household items like your lights have code in them to save energy and set the correct ambiance in whichever room you want it to. Our cars have software in them to make parallel parking easier, connect to the internet and eventually drive themselves. Who would have ever thought a company like Airbnb would change how we traveled or Uber would change the way we got around the city? It’s an exciting time as industries such as finance embrace technology to make it easier to manage our finances and prevent unnecessary fees.

While learning to code is extremely important, learning to think is the primary benefit of learning to code and what really ends up impacting the world. The process of learning to code lends itself to a new way of thinking that has resulted in everyday improvements in life we never thought possible. Some of this, such as the hyperloop or the smartphone, are straight out of a sci-fi movie. When you learn to code you can literally think something into existence!

Check out this TED talk video called “Teaching Creative Computer Science” for kids, a great talk about how Comp Sci education for kids is focusing too much on the technology, and not enough on ideas.  Sure, learning Java or Python is great – but how about that big picture?