It’s truly rare to see a young coder/hacker. While I started when I was 16, not everyone is ‘geek’ enough to do so. Partly to do with this is the whole not cool factor, but a good part is to do with the fact that languages are many, most of them not being easy to learn. If you target a learning group of say 13–15 years old, try and find me a tutorial on the web which caters to this group, and can get them programming quickly, even basic programs un–helped.
Not rocket science
It’s a known fact that kids learn the fastest when they’re young. So, not aiming for these young kids is making everyone lose out on so many potential coders, we probably cannot imagine. Given the right language, training and a friendly push, everything falls into place. Even if it means starting out with BASIC, or LOGO. It’s not particularly rocket science, and doesn’t take much to understand when someone starts getting interested. Advanced concepts like pure Object oriented programming can be kept for a later date. Don’t tell me they won’t understand
int i = 5;
Hackety.org has released a version o.4 of a Ruby starter’s guide. It’s basically a friendly way for kids to learn the basics of programming, using Ruby. Ruby has pretty straightforward reading–English type syntax, so it makes the learning curve flatter. I downloaded the guide for myself, and am mighty impressed by the sheer simplicity (while not compromising power) of Ruby. I’ll surely be looking more into that, later :)
Get it rolling
We need more efforts like Hackety Hack, which aim to help out and start early with the teaching thing. Once the concepts are in place, other languages become easy to understandNot learn though. I think Ruby is a good language to get started on since the syntax is simple, but not to continue using if you want to progress with learning concepts. Acquiring the knowledge of a language and the basic concept just needs a bit of time and practice.
Kids have more time than grown ups do sadly!