A few weeks back I tweeted an article about getting tweens and teens into computer coding and programming. I had no idea there were so many awesome resources available for teens to learn and advance these skills!

I remember when I was in junior high and I took my first computer class. It was a basic introduction to computers but I was hooked. Somehow I just had a knack for using the computer and figuring out things in all kinds of programs. As I went on to high school and college I took more and more advanced computer classes and found that I really enjoyed coding and learning about programming. I think one reason I really liked this topic area was that I had a lot of room to play. I explored ways to use my computer and the web and found that even when I made a mistake it was just a learning experience. I never felt restricted whenever I explored computer programming; I felt (and still do feel) like everything I did on the computer taught me something new. Even though now I have taken about a dozen computer classes I think all of my real and practical learning came from dabbling, exploring, and teaching myself. So when I saw the article about the tools available for teens online to explore computer programming it was definitely of particular interest to me.

Did you know that careers in information technology and computer science administration are projected to increase by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018? That’s faster all other jobs, amazing right?! It’s a great time to be a teen because if you have an interest in this area you could study it in high school and college and then have great job opportunities for the future. In my experience you may only find beginner computer classes in junior in senior high school but in college many schools have a vast range of course offerings in all skill levels and subject areas. If you ever thought about majoring in computer science you might want to check out this list of the top 20 ranked schools for computer science degree programs.

No matter what skill level you are at or how much experience you have you only need patience and passion to succeed in computer programming. Here are some tips for levels of technology talent:

Beginner Users: Start with something super simple like creating a blog. Many online blogs, like Word Press for example, allow you to write entries and edit your own HTML code. Write a blog entry and format it, then look at the HTML code and see if you can start memorizing some of the common codes like bold, new paragraph, inserting a picture, or linking to a webpage. The more you look at the HTML code and understand what it means, the more you can use it and advanced your skills!

Intermediate Computer Lovers: Launch your own website! Having a website can integrate many different kinds of programs and increase your understanding of how they all work together. When I created my first website I learned all of the HTML codes, embedded Flash videos, created picture galleries using CSS code, added games and applications using Java, and then synched all of my favorite websites and blogs together using RSS feeds.

Advanced Technogeeks: Check out game programming. Video game programming integrates advanced knowledge of coding, graphics, animation, and sound. Instead of dabbling though you may want to try this level of expertise with some know-how. This book, Game Programming for Teens, was written by a teen and has everything you need to know about computer game programming. You also might want to check out Robocode, a web-based programming game where you develop a robot tank to battle against other robots in Java or .NET.

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