10 year old twins programming?

This past summer I had the dreaded conversation that software developer parents have with their 13 year old children.  No not about the birds and the beesIt was the programmer conversation...  My 13 year old is a runescape gamer-- part of a community that is 5 million users strong for a single on-line game!  It bothers me that he spends time on a game when he could be playing outside.  Granted he is active in sports, the combination of Web, Playstation and media content dejour causes me to constantly say things \*are\* different today.  The discussion started with me telling him that runescape is a Java app. "What's that?" he replied.  So I downloaded NetBeans onto his computer.  Then I showed him how to build a simple Java app and then run it in the JVM on his PC.  His first exposure to programming at 13... I was 18 when I was exposed to FORTRAN IV on punch cards.

I'm waiting to see if my son picks up from being "on" the code as a user and embraces being "in" the code as developer. He is pretty savvy already.  He has taken full advantage of Google Pack (always free - no trail versions or spyware). I asked him what tools in Google Pack are most applicable to his school work.  Hands down he uses the office productivity suite called StarOffice the most.  My son is getting along nicely with his PC and the free software he uses on a daily basis.  I'm waiting to have the virtulization discussion with him next, but let's wait and see if he wants to be "in" rather than "on."

Not to be left out my twin 10 year old daughters wanted to be "in" on something that they do not understand.  There is a great research project called SCRATCH being driven out of MIT that enables elementary school children to create games, interactive media and animated stories via drag and drop programming. With a little investigation I discovered the engine behind this tool is an open sourced LAMP stack.  My twins are now programming away using this fabulous tool to expose young children to programming.  I suggested my son experiment with SCRATCH as a precursor to NetBeans.

So in a weekend I was able to expose all 3 of my children to programming via free and open source software.  That made me think why wouldn't the same apply to novice adults and businesses. Free and open source software enables one to experiment with no entry barriers other than a person's time.  A computer is a barrier but pubic access to  computers at libraries and university locations is widespread. I did a search on the web to see what free and open source stack  I could find related to storage.  I was able to find a product called FreeNAS. Granted this product has some limitations, but I'm sure someone will enable a commercial viable product around an open sourced os using commodity hardware.  In fact, FreeNAS won an Info World Bossie Award along with some other recipients...

My son teaches me every day that things are different than when I was a youth.  Land line phones no, Wireless Web-based devices yes.

He is right... things are changing.



One career day I tried and failed to get a friend's teenage nephew at all interested in what hardware and software engineers did. Bored, and just marking time doing a mandatory career day visit. Then I mentioned how long ago I had poked the executable of a program to cheat on a multi-player game as a joke on the co-workers I played with. Really?! Would that work on other games? How did you do it? Please tell me about machine instructions and how I can learn assembler! It's a a matter of the right motivation.

Posted by Walter Bays on September 13, 2007 at 09:50 AM EDT #

I had my first computer at 9. At 11, I was programming away on my first drawing program, then on a word processor (both in Commodore Basic 3.5)

At 13, I was writing relocation routines in 6502 assembler. When I wrote my first routine, I was pretty proud of the fact that the whole relocation routine was only 52 bytes... nothing a few strategically placed BEQs couldn't handle (:-)

Of course, I was beat up shortly thereafter by older coders (14-18 years of age) which managed to fit a whole depack routine in only 48 bytes of assembler code.

Posted by UX-admin on September 13, 2007 at 07:48 PM EDT #


Posted by ahmed on April 25, 2008 at 01:41 AM EDT #


Posted by ahmed on April 25, 2008 at 01:42 AM EDT #

hey im 13 you think u can send me instructions on how to get started?

Posted by mitch on June 13, 2008 at 03:26 PM EDT #

i was programming at 10. Now I'm 15 and i programming 3d game

Posted by seba000 on July 21, 2008 at 10:23 AM EDT #

All our products are brand new, with the excellent service from our laptop battery of customer service team.

Posted by laptop battery on September 19, 2008 at 10:35 PM EDT #


Posted by amer on April 24, 2009 at 07:12 AM EDT #


Posted by aaaba on July 07, 2009 at 01:34 AM EDT #

I am 13 and i want to progam a computer game (3d) that is on a disk. Do you have any suggestions? Iv wanted to progame for a long time can you help me?

Posted by rowdy on January 01, 2010 at 09:12 AM EST #

When I was 11 I started to program. At 12 I got a mac and began learning C and Objective-C. I recently learned G.A.S. assembly. Now I don't know where to go with coding. I have managed to do many difficult things that older programmers failed to. My most recent project was making an AVI video and audio encoder. I thought it would be a large summer project, but I coded it in C in about 2 hours.

Posted by Jon Shlieshenboch on May 10, 2010 at 05:25 AM EDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.

The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.


« July 2016