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  • FIRST POST
    • Imnoexpert
    • By Imnoexpert 13th Jun 17, 3:01 PM
    • 279Posts
    • 118Thanks
    Imnoexpert
    Son 14 into coding - help
    • #1
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:01 PM
    Son 14 into coding - help 13th Jun 17 at 3:01 PM
    Apologies if this is the wrong place - do feel free to advise where else to post this.

    Son has the coding bug. Seems to be good at Java and Python. Teaching himself C++ (but finding it tough) and Javascript. Getting into Linux and HTML. He also seems to have learnt more about databases in 6 months than me in 20 years!

    He is now earning money writing Java plugins for some guy he applied to over the internet. Seems legit.... He's been paid $40 this week and is getting repeat work so maybe he's doing ok!

    So to the teckies on here
    Any pitfalls in what he's doing?
    He's outstripped my knowledge how does he get mentored?
    How do we support and encourage him?
    What should he do next?

    I should say school aren't very helpful and that he plans to do Maths and IT at GCSE and beyond and is quite hard working and motivated.

    Thanks for any help
Page 1
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 13th Jun 17, 3:19 PM
    • 2,522 Posts
    • 1,671 Thanks
    AndyPix
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:19 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:19 PM
    Well done him !!


    Getting the coding bug whilst young is great and will set him up well for a good career in IT if he so desires ..


    He seems to know what he is doing as he has chosen the best languages to learn
    Yes CPP is tough, but encourage him to stick at it as if he wants to be a serious programmer when he starts to work then that is what he will likely be using.


    All the major software packages and latest blockbusyer games are all coded in CPP ..


    As he is already earning money from freelancing, give him a massive pat on the back and support him and encourage him just by supporting what he is alrady doing.


    What he should do next is keep doing what he is doing, get some good solid GCSE's and then look for an entry level job in his preferred career.


    I have worked in IT for 20 years and I see no advantage whatsoever in any A level or degree level qualifications in this subject
    Getting practical experience is WORLDS better


    Edit : If he is going to be interested in creating web sites/apps then PHP is also very useful to learn and quite easy to grasp


    Edit Edit : Getting into coding whilst young, the temptation is always there to lean to the "dark side" - eg "with my skills, i wonder if i can force my way into this system etc"


    Pay close attention if he ever starts talking about "Kali Linux"

    And , does he know what he is actually creating for this internet guy ?
    Java plugins can be precursers to viruses and other attacks - just so you are fully aware


    GO HIM !!
    Last edited by AndyPix; 13-06-2017 at 3:26 PM.
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • angryparcel
    • By angryparcel 13th Jun 17, 3:22 PM
    • 910 Posts
    • 515 Thanks
    angryparcel
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:22 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:22 PM
    if he is earning then he should be declaring it even at 14.
    if that is what he is into then the next logical step would be The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification

    http://www.ukmicrosoft.com/microsoft-courses/certification/mcse-server-infrastructure.html
    • ringo_24601
    • By ringo_24601 13th Jun 17, 3:26 PM
    • 16,858 Posts
    • 27,379 Thanks
    ringo_24601
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:26 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:26 PM
    Once he's learnt to code - he'll also want to learn to 'software engineer' - how to design and plan things, test them properly ect. That's the stuff people won't generally teach themselves, but it's important.

    Self-teaching is the way ahead.

    Maybe learn more from https://www.codecademy.com/ or Lynda.com

    Career-wise - he could do with learning a 'stack' e.g. Apache/Java, Microsoft/C#

    I'm gradually getting my 8 year old into it with Scratch
    • Lukoind
    • By Lukoind 13th Jun 17, 4:15 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Lukoind
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 17, 4:15 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 17, 4:15 PM
    I have started at 14 by myself, didn't had any supportive parents in that field to help me out, when I got stuck. Now I'm 19 and very happy with my early startup . I would suggest for your son to start with Java and see, where it goes next . You can search up on youtube:

    Java Programming Tutorial Thenewboston
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 13th Jun 17, 8:24 PM
    • 656 Posts
    • 343 Thanks
    Neil Jones
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 17, 8:24 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 17, 8:24 PM
    School might be unhelpful because its not really the sort of thing they can do now, that was scrapped in 2015:
    http://schoolsweek.co.uk/government-to-scrap-gcse-and-a-level-ict-qualifications/

    Its direct equivalent schools wise appears to be GCSE Computer Science, but I dare say not all schools are able to offer it.

    Being self-taught can be extremely efficient though, you can do it anywhere and it demonstrates self control, discipline and the ability to learn. Back in the day I taught myself Visual Basic through college but these days the languages are a bit more complicated if they're built on the .net framework, in my experience anyway.
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 13th Jun 17, 8:28 PM
    • 4,416 Posts
    • 3,298 Thanks
    glentoran99
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 17, 8:28 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 17, 8:28 PM
    if he is earning then he should be declaring it even at 14.
    if that is what he is into then the next logical step would be The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification

    http://www.ukmicrosoft.com/microsoft-courses/certification/mcse-server-infrastructure.html
    Originally posted by angryparcel
    spot the fun sponge, I doubt he is earning over his personal allowance so doesn't need to declare anything
    • Imnoexpert
    • By Imnoexpert 14th Jun 17, 2:45 PM
    • 279 Posts
    • 118 Thanks
    Imnoexpert
    • #8
    • 14th Jun 17, 2:45 PM
    Thanks for your advice
    • #8
    • 14th Jun 17, 2:45 PM
    Thank you all for your kind words and advice.

    Andypix
    Love your enthusiasm - it matches my son's. I will pass the advice about PHP. He is more a programmer than designer at present so although he has knocked up a website it's the server side rather than the website angle that appeals to him. The plug-ins seem legit. and as far as you can we have checked things out. Of course it's not like when I had a paper round as a kid. The customer is in Italy.

    You are dead right about the temptation to hack. He has been tempted and found wanting! The school Admin system having the password "Admin" didn't make things hard for him! He also lacks the common sense to cover his tracks. He has now been told!

    As to not going to university I hear where you are coming from but the pressure from society, education, family, and the kids themselves is all about higher education. Vocational training in the country is a definite Cinderella.

    Angryparcel
    Noted. I'm better with money than IT so have all this sussed.

    Ringo, Lukoind
    He uses code academy and is clearly good enough with Java to make money at it.And yes youtube is something he uses a lot too. The software engineering side is a point well made, and my concern. He needs to do things right and learn best practice.

    Neil
    Luckily the school do computer science GCSE but it is quite 'low level' His teachers are suggesting looking at the A level syllabus. I agree about the value of being able to manage your own learning.

    Anyway his next job is a $60 one so watch this space.... and thanks again.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 14th Jun 17, 3:12 PM
    • 25,460 Posts
    • 10,099 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    • #9
    • 14th Jun 17, 3:12 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Jun 17, 3:12 PM
    My college weakpoint into their system was the password "teacher".

    Simple buffer overflow and the password. Oh dear...

    Your "buyer" could be reselling your sons work. Create a unique email address and use it for nothing else, then sneak a copy of that email into the source.

    The problem with protecting stuff these days is it can often take you longer to try and protect it than it takes someone to crack it.

    Like certain websites that leave access to certain PHP files that lists usernames of people online. Not exactly a security threat, but even users who select not visible online are on the list.

    If they make that mistake, what other mistakes have they made?

    It maybe i think differently when it comes to computers. Try stuff that a lot of others wouldnt think about. Using off the shelf forum software allows others access to the source or a list of files. Then you work through what does this file do, where is it stored and can i create this file a links a different URL to it?
    Last edited by forgotmyname; 14-06-2017 at 3:18 PM.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 14th Jun 17, 3:27 PM
    • 7,693 Posts
    • 1,770 Thanks
    50Twuncle
    Apologies if this is the wrong place - do feel free to advise where else to post this.

    Son has the coding bug. Seems to be good at Java and Python. Teaching himself C++ (but finding it tough) and Javascript. Getting into Linux and HTML. He also seems to have learnt more about databases in 6 months than me in 20 years!

    He is now earning money writing Java plugins for some guy he applied to over the internet. Seems legit.... He's been paid $40 this week and is getting repeat work so maybe he's doing ok!

    So to the teckies on here
    Any pitfalls in what he's doing?
    He's outstripped my knowledge how does he get mentored?
    How do we support and encourage him?
    What should he do next?

    I should say school aren't very helpful and that he plans to do Maths and IT at GCSE and beyond and is quite hard working and motivated.

    Thanks for any help
    Originally posted by Imnoexpert
    What country are you in ?
    You mention GCSE's and $'s
    I assume the UK and USA ?
    How does being paid by a foreign company work with UK Taxes ?
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 14th Jun 17, 3:51 PM
    • 2,522 Posts
    • 1,671 Thanks
    AndyPix
    I will pass the advice about PHP. He is more a programmer than designer at present so although he has knocked up a website it's the server side rather than the website angle that appeals to him.
    Originally posted by Imnoexpert

    Same as me exactly, thats why I advise PHP .
    PHP is what does all the "nuts and bolts" stuff on a website when someone clicks something etc
    It has nothing (much) to do with design, and everything to do with the workings of the site


    PHP controls what happens on the server, BEFORE the web page is served to the browser


    As to not going to university I hear where you are coming from but the pressure from society, education, family, and the kids themselves is all about higher education. Vocational training in the country is a definite Cinderella.
    .
    Originally posted by Imnoexpert

    Higher education is totally pointless for a career in IT.
    After many years programming and consulting, I am now the IT manager for a big global enterprise.
    I wouldnt look twice at a CV that has 3 years of university on it compared to 3 years actually doing the job at an entry level position.


    Im not talking about vocational qualifications either, i am talking about real world experience in an entry level position.
    Learning the job whilst on the job if that makes sense.


    Experience in this game counts for everything

    He will follow his own path and you are doing great by supporting him, Im just telling you my take on things as it will be someone like myself that he sits infront of when he applies for that job
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 14th Jun 17, 4:04 PM
    • 7,693 Posts
    • 1,770 Thanks
    50Twuncle
    Same as me exactly, thats why I advise PHP .
    PHP is what does all the "nuts and bolts" stuff on a website when someone clicks something etc
    It has nothing (much) to do with design, and everything to do with the workings of the site


    PHP controls what happens on the server, BEFORE the web page is served to the browser





    Higher education is totally pointless for a career in IT.
    After many years programming and consulting, I am now the IT manager for a big global enterprise.
    I wouldnt look twice at a CV that has 3 years of university on it compared to 3 years actually doing the job at an entry level position.


    Im not talking about vocational qualifications either, i am talking about real world experience in an entry level position.
    Learning the job whilst on the job if that makes sense.


    Experience in this game counts for everything

    He will follow his own path and you are doing great by supporting him, Im just telling you my take on
    things as it will be someone like myself that he sits infront of when he applies for that job
    Originally posted by AndyPix
    This is NOT IT - It is programming - which is a completely different path !!
    • Lokolo
    • By Lokolo 14th Jun 17, 4:09 PM
    • 19,711 Posts
    • 14,706 Thanks
    Lokolo
    Higher education is totally pointless for a career in IT.
    After many years programming and consulting, I am now the IT manager for a big global enterprise.
    I wouldnt look twice at a CV that has 3 years of university on it compared to 3 years actually doing the job at an entry level position.


    Im not talking about vocational qualifications either, i am talking about real world experience in an entry level position.
    Learning the job whilst on the job if that makes sense.


    Experience in this game counts for everything

    He will follow his own path and you are doing great by supporting him, Im just telling you my take on things as it will be someone like myself that he sits infront of when he applies for that job
    Originally posted by AndyPix
    Disagree completely. Yes experience is lot more valuable but it is not completely pointless what so ever. A lot of jobs in IT do require high levels of education, especially in a big corporate company. My company pays very well in IT but there's no way in hell I would have got this job with the pay I was on, without a degree, especially in early 20s.

    A lot of Comp Sci. degrees offer sandwich years where the student works for a year, which is also very useful.
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 14th Jun 17, 4:22 PM
    • 2,522 Posts
    • 1,671 Thanks
    AndyPix
    This is NOT IT - It is programming - which is a completely different path !!
    Originally posted by 50Twuncle
    And your experience in this is ???
    Disagree completely. Yes experience is lot more valuable but it is not completely pointless what so ever..
    Originally posted by Lokolo
    OK, not pointless, but VASTLY inferior to the same time spent in real world scenarios
    especially in a big corporate company
    Originally posted by Lokolo
    Applying for a job in the big corporate company where I am the IT manager -
    Higher education means nothing apart from that you know how to take exams - just another CV for the no pile


    Anyway - I dont want to detract from the OP getting further opinion by argueing - This is just my own experience and opinion gained by living the life that we are discussing.


    Others opinions are just as valid
    Last edited by AndyPix; 14-06-2017 at 4:25 PM.
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 14th Jun 17, 4:25 PM
    • 13,014 Posts
    • 11,085 Thanks
    paddyrg
    For what it's worth, I got into programming aged 10 on a borrowed ZX80, and quickly bought my own ZX81. Via all kinds of distractions I ended up working for a BIIIIIG IT company, then left IT to follow different directions. I mention this for context as I've consulted for huge cash and I've done it for fun and seen it all from a few sides.

    The comment from Ringo about the difference between programming and software engineering is actually a really big one. At the moment I've no doubt he's hacking together bits of sample code, and getting results - results in limited cases, very likely getting results when things are going along the ideal path, but in terms of testing, error recovery, management interfaces, etc it's very unlikely he's got that stuff down yet. A lot of developers twice his age don't have that stuff down yet.

    For now he's enjoying discovering that computers are slaves, but when he wants to step up, it's about planning, scoping, error handing and testing, code repository use, all the stuff surrounding the coding that separates the professionals and hobbyists.

    Is he into Arduino? It's a really good way to become better at coding as the microcontrollers compilers speak C, but have additional libraries to simplify things at first, then you can go deeper to get get more out of them. The great thing with Arduino world is that for a few quid you can sense and affect the real world, all the sensor circuits etc are readymade to be compatible. Want to sense a candle going out and print the time to an OLED screen for some reason? Under a tenner for all the parts, all the code samples are written, and you're able to do it in an evening in your bedroom. Microcontrollers have limited programme space, so you start learning to be efficient, which is good practice.
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 14th Jun 17, 4:27 PM
    • 2,522 Posts
    • 1,671 Thanks
    AndyPix
    ^^ Great post Paddy
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 14th Jun 17, 4:27 PM
    • 7,693 Posts
    • 1,770 Thanks
    50Twuncle
    And your experience in this is ??
    Originally posted by AndyPix
    25 years of being an IT engineer - proper IT - Not "programming" !!
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 14th Jun 17, 4:31 PM
    • 2,522 Posts
    • 1,671 Thanks
    AndyPix
    25 years of being an IT engineer - proper IT - Not "programming" !!
    Originally posted by 50Twuncle

    So you are saying you have no experience in the subject being discussed ? Or the route to employment
    And judging by some of the questions you have asked on this forum, I may have to rethink my idea that experience makes a good engineer.


    But lets save that arguement for another day, this thread is very positive and its great that the OP is researching this for his/her son
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • johndough
    • By johndough 15th Jun 17, 12:29 PM
    • 649 Posts
    • 250 Thanks
    johndough
    Hi

    Hope this helps...

    https://github.com/antirez/kilo
    http://viewsourcecode.org/snaptoken/kilo/05.aTextEditor.html

    A text editor in less than 1000 LOC with syntax highlight and search.

    I struggle just to understand counting to a thousand, so I cannot verify if it's less than thousand, much less what it's about, arf arf.
    • culpepper
    • By culpepper 15th Jun 17, 12:35 PM
    • 3,845 Posts
    • 6,957 Thanks
    culpepper
    Yay well done to him.
    My son also has an interest in coding. He took C programming at evening classes some years ago .
    He doesn't work within IT at all but he has studied LISP and uses it when he wants to create software for use in simplifying tasks in the field he works in now and finds it very usable on modern machines even though it is a very old language . Maybe your son might find that language interesting too.
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