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ok Tweeps, you`ve got a 16 year old girl
June 10, 2021, 8:34 pm
ok Tweeps, you`ve got a 16 year old girl who is interested in Software Engineering. She doesn`t know what she wants to do ultimately, but she`s pretty sure it`s not WebDev. Where do you point her?
Even the web dev might not that important it`s always good have some experience with them
algorithms are always fashionable and this page is as awesome as it was when i was 16
If she`s also into science, there are several fields that rely heavily on software developers - astronomy (I`m sure or could point her in the right direction), physics, biology
Mobile development! Lots of great tutorials and its fun to build something that works right away and you can show off!
In the context of SaaS apps, there is a backend work that can be quite fun and challenging. The other is product development (think physical devices) which is where I started my career 20+ years ago. Very fun and crazy hard.
Backend software development. Aeronautics or orbital/space mechanics. Weather forecasting, cool complex dynamical systems. Always needs complex software models.
Women in Tech group? Because the last thing I`d want to hear if I were in her shoes is "girls don`t program" or other such nonsense. And because she`d meet a bunch of women with different backgrounds to connect with.
If shes a visual learner, Definitely Python for starters! The Ladies Hacking Society is based in the UK but a lot of our events are online or recorded for our YouTube channel. They are primarily aimed at adults though so recommend you review first in case there are any stray swear words
Happy to mentor esp in AI.
if she wants to learn the fundamentals of web development with html and css!
Apple and only Apple. SwiftUI to be precise.
aspirations in computing is an amazing community for young women.
I will try to answer this seriously, but it will take a couple of tweets. Comp Sci has several different areas which appeal to different people. Think about music; some like the structure of classical opera, some can jazz, or are into the musical theory of pentatonic scales.
+1 to all the people talking about camps. i was a robotics camp counselor and while i didn`t think much of it at the time, i`d end up running into past campers as a college student years later and they were freshmen or touring the school and planning on pursuing STEM
If she is at all interested in voice assistants I would introduce her to Alexa programming. It has a variety of complexity levels and teaches a lot of concepts and the ability to earn income as a solopreneur if it is popular.
My go to would be freecodecamp.
I think the Android community is pretty welcoming. There are tons of blogs and podcasts about how to get started, and best practices. If she`s not interested in UI work, then we need more folks on the tooling side of things (Gradle, CI).
Electronics, embedded systems, iot, et al. If there is a local robot club she could join, that could be a fun foray into all sorts of programming challenges. And with opportunities to make friends and find mentors. (Not to mention events!)
Kind of unorthodox but at that age I was fascinated (I still am) with emulators y cheats. You put a HEX code in a place and suddenly you have infinite lives?! What about data visualization? That can lead into data science, data engineering. The visual aspects make it very interesting. Or a completely different direction: back-end (APIs, databases, business logic, business processes). Or: devops, infrastructure, automation, tooling.
Yet another recommendation for 6? years later, Im the proud mom of a SWE. :)
If shes interest in pairing it in some beginners electronics the platform might be a great start. Games can be a fun one to get into, as it has a lot of options fjr all interests. IoT & robotics have hardware you can buy but program to do a ton of things
Join or form a school robotics team. Good community and good intro to tech. The orgs like FIRST robotics are a great experience for that age. It can be a bit tricky if the team is established and the girl is new. Teams like that may or may not provide scaffolding for newbies.
Mobile. Specially iOS is well documented and was good for me to change from music and audio programming to making apps.
Consider getting her an arduino project starter kit. With that she can explore physically building an object, electronics, software development, and robotics. She might decide she likes the entire scope of that or migrates to one specific aspect.
XR , an amazingly vast greenfield both from creative and technical standpoints
Arduino - easy to get started with really fun projects, very easy transition into embedded programming, will forever understand operating systems in their proper context, and the projects will be tangible in the real world (e.g. fun to show off!)
What does she enjoy about software engineering? Is it writing programs that do something? What does she not like about WebDev?
This is awesome to see
My daughter is starting University in September, she`s been keen on STEM for years. I tell her our ecosystem is huge, I suggest: Scrum Manager, DevOps/Kubernetes, AWS/Cloud Architect, ML & Data Analytics. Women are under represented. ENCOURAGE HER. She can do anything!
Mobile app development or Blockchain development :)
Installing Linux is a great point to start learning all sorts of things about computers for a curious mind.
I have a feeling that cybersecurity is going to be a huge field in the coming decades. It doesn`t seem like the easiest thing to get into on your own, but some high schools do offer courses in it.
Point her at some stuff from or on breaking software for test/QA. Was my first job in tech and something I still love to do.
Swift & Mobile Dev for Apple Platforms!
If no one has mentioned it, my 9-12th graders have really enjoyed learning with for video game development. I typically start them off in 2D. Why not console (command line) dev to start? E.g. .NET Core Console? It`s where a lot of devs started...
probably point them to something like .. safe, supportive space to learn and likely has mentors and asshole free discords and things to network in.
I didn`t come into my own until I had corporate data to play with. It was all abstract "I like computers, but not this kind of programming" until I got a job and was making PEOPLE around me happy every day by being good w/ the info systems (CRM, etc.).
Well it really depends on her interest. Does she wanna make her own game? Does she have tons of ideas for apps? She doesnt have to know yet what she wants to do later, just help her start her intial idea. And when she has that heureka moment and watch it run, she`ll be hooked.
Theres great quick start courses and tutorials for data science, learn about interacting with api and file systems while keeping cool story stuff. I built a web app to analyze song lyrics for the last 10 years, very extensible. Twitter sentiment analysis is like the go-to
Im obviously biased but smart contracts. Building legally binding smart contracts at her age will definitely land her a solid job after school and she won`t be stuck in one vertical.
if she has no experience coding, codekingdom eases them into coding by modding roblox or minecraft. they learn java. kind of fun actually. from there she can branch out to other languages and see what clicks
Yes, it looks cheesy and may be for younger kids, but the interface makes it look/feel easy even though you can do some advanced stuff there. It`s a language that`s easy to learn/use without having to worry about code grammar.
I recommend the amazing Low Code PowerPlatform a lot Great Community, a lot of free resources to start and you can extend it with Pro Dev if you want to go into that direction -> it has something for every type of maker Great course to start Maybe something down a design route, something like shaping the user experience and interface. Having an understanding of software engineering and the technical limitations of what can be done is very valuable when designing!
watch `s twitch stream! At Python - focus on versatility and let them find their focus!
Don`t know her level of knowledge; depending on where she`s at, you could do worse than Apple`s Swift Playgrounds.
Maybe toying around with an Arduino kit. Not sure if it`s a fit for a 16 year old. But could be fun. Starting with making LEDs blink, have some sensors connectected.
How about machine learning and deep learning?
Machine learning or IoT
+1 on finding communities, online or in her area-- people she can chat with about what her direction is. For general learning, udemy, Mike Meyers A+ course-- I learned too late that the basics of networking and hardware inform how you build software. Colt Steele for JS.
Away from Twitter . Maybe Python, the language is quite easy to pickup and quite widely used.
Buy her a Rasberry Pi kit with case. The first thing she needs to do is assemble the hardware and install an OS. There are thousands of projects she could try at home with huge learning along the way. Look up Magic Mirror, Open Media Vault (NAS), Pi-hole for starters. Enjoy!
Security, distributed systems, robotics, mobile engineering, system architecture. So much really. Or explore further with data science, AI, ML, DL.
Tell her to check out our free program, App Academy Open! She can start to build her programming foundation and find the languages or particular skills she`s most interested in.
tell her about the series of games named hack run and see how she feels about that kind of stuff (cybersecurity related things)
Oooh! So I think CodeAcademys JS/HTML/and CSS courses were great for getting me onboard with a lot of the frontend basics! Their Python course is also REALLY good!
First, whats she loves in computer? So, with that you can guide her to the right path maybe, robotics, home intelligent, mobile (iOS of course ahahha) and btw, she is right about not work with webdev ahahaha
WOW!! I jumped in a couple of meetings and came back to see that, once again, the tech community really came through for me!! Thank you all, I cant wait to read through these replies!!
Network w/ your tweeps that are not web dev software engineers. See where you can engage the 16 y/o w/ them. Someone who is older and cool giving tips + just letting me hang out w/ them powerful It seemed to have a positive impact on me. I wanted to be like them.
When I was an art student, I took an intro to Unix course. Learning to write bash scripts and making my own to do useful stuff was nothing less than pure joy. It was this that lead to me majoring in CS. It shattered the boy-geniuses-only myth for me.
kubernetes... if she can fix that ecosystem she`ll be set for life!
Start with Harvard`s CS50 -> any thoughts?
Scanning the replies, many of the suggestions are about beginner friendly *tech* or structured learning. But a lot of the suggestions, especially from women, are about finding beginner friendly *communities*, and exploring different interests, to find what she likes.
Have her take a look at they have resources resources for different skill levels: You can also start her off with her own blocks set like or Software development is broad, I would look into local teen/girls software dev clubs or hack-a-thons to immerse her into the industry. In the DC area, is a phenomenal place to start.
Perhaps unorthodox, but Id say LEGO coding. I`ve been listening to pdcast called Darknet Diaries, and really wish I`d gone into cyber security now. The stuff they do sounds so fun!!
I would start by identifying what she is interested in and applying software engineering to that. That`s the fantastic thing about software, it can be applied to any area of interest
There are many local and high school robotics teams.
is a great competitive and supportive environment where kids can learn fundamentals of robotics engineering. It tends to focus more on the hands-on construction than on complex programming but it`s still a great introduction.
Teach her to count cards, tell her its for Data Science, and then go to Vegas when shes 18.
Python. Plenty of jumping off points from there, from sysadmin to data science to game dev to robotics or embedded. Lots of books and videos from to get her started.
Inventor`s Kit can get your feet wet creating gadgets with a mixture of electronics and code is a robotics competition; teams are based in schools DorkBot is a meetup that a lot of hackerspaces have. Turns household appliances into fighting robots
C++, maybe look for a hand-on building course or mini-bootcamp, SQL Server, etc. She can do games dev or enterprise from there
See if theres a near her, or help her start one if not
What about cyber security. The demand is sky high and there will always be a job for her.
Ask her what she enjoys the most about software engineering. Might give you so clues as to what she`d most enjoy doing. If she has the time, you could have her look up different parts of the profession and see where she lights up the most.
-Scratch. Build some basic programs and see if that`s fun for her. -Spend $30-60 on an Arduino starter kit that seems up her alley, to build practical projects IRL. -AP Comp Sci. -Any of a number of books from the library, starting w "Secret Coders," then books by language
Data Science - there are a lot of well-priced online boot camps. (And super expensive ones too!)
Robots, process automation, dataaaaaa!
I found mobile pretty deep into my career. Honestly if she doesn`t want to do webdev there are a million and one options. I`d say she needs to just describe the technologies she finds cool to herself and let that be the guide. Take some intro CS. etc...
She should align her programming with her other interests.
Point her to and watch her tell you shes more interested in web dev
I would see if her school has a FIRST robotics team! is also a great resource!
Python maybe? Could write some command line tools perhaps. If she is interested in games, Unity and C is a little harder to get started in, but would probably be very rewarding.
Join a robotics club? In my area before the pandemic there was a Meetup for ROS. Robust AI or Southie internship? Diligent Robotics RoboticsAI AutonomousSystems I know very little but when Im done with this is where my spare time will go
and Kode with Klossy is free and when our org served as a host site, the students seemed to love it. Built by Girls has a rotating mentor ship program that can help expose her to professionals in different roles. (Not sure if its free?)
hook up one of these for funsies Games might be another option if she`s into them, though there are more horror stores about game dev work hours than any other field...
Buy Raspberry PI robo kits on Amazon. Plenty of options. Lots of YouTube.
maybe embedded systems? arduino programming is pretty cool and fun as a learner, and programming for small computers could lead to really cool jobs in robotics, agriculture, space, kids toys, manufacturing, and on and on. here`s a cool overview: To her room. jk. Tell her to checkout Unity and Roblox level building. My boys love that. I think it`s a pretty cool spring board.
Maybe some Unity tutorials around game dev?
Depends on why not web dev and whether shes already had that I made a computer DO something moment Oh, and Windows? Mac? Neither? Traditional teen project is games, I hear good things about PICO-8 if shes interested in that
Oh and this is the last thing Ill throw her way. offers free career consults for girls her age. They get paired with women in the industry who have all kinds of different roles. Itll give her a chance to figure out what she might be interested in doing
has a great mentor program that can introduce her to other areas!
Data science, Information architecture are two I frequently suggest to those who are interested in software engineering but are looking for something different
Paging First thing in my mind, cyber security Im sure will need her help in the future
and both hold free summer camps and other programs for girls like her! Id also suggest she play around with DevOps/automation/data science? What are her interests outside of software engineering? That usually helps me think of how to bridge and apply into software. (eg if shes really into sports there might be some cool advanced stats she can analyze and game logs to scrape and chart)
Home Robotics. By the time shes 20 this should be a hot market
Mobile`s not a bad place to start ;-)