This is a guest post from high school student Ethan Eirinberg about his experience learning to code, and how he’s now encouraging other students to do the same with his recently launched creative coding competition, CreateHS.
When my brother was a freshman in high school, he wanted to create an iPhone app. Much to his surprise, building a simple iPhone app was a complex task. To get him started, he bought lots and lots of boring books. After 2 years and 19,000 lines of code, he finally released his app to the Apple app store.
His app inspired me to learn how to code. But two years, five huge books, and 19,000 lines of code didn’t sound appealing. So I went online to learn, but I didn’t know where to start. This process was extremely frustrating to me.
I waited until high school. Much to my surprise, when I entered high school, there was no programming class that I could take. In fact, there wasn’t even a club I could join to learn coding. In the meantime, while looking for solutions, I saw an article that said that Treehouse was giving away accounts to their website. Unfortunately, it was only available to college students. I passed it on to my brother.
About a month later, he called me to let me know that he had won! He was ecstatic. As was I. As soon as he returned home from college, I begged him to let me try it. I must have spent hours that night watching video after video. I’d learned more in a couple hours than I had with all the other websites I had tried.
I had finally found a solution to my problem. I began to think… “if I had this problem, I bet other kids in my school did too”. I set off to create a club. But who could teach it? I surely wasn’t good enough yet. So I called Treehouse to ask if we could use their website to teach us. I was ecstatic to hear that they were as interested in teaching high school kids as I was. I went to the student activities coordinator at the high school to get the club started, but I needed a teacher sponsor. After months of searching and planning, we finally started the club. We were so lucky that the only computer science teacher (AP Computer Science is only available to upperclassmen) agreed to sponsor it.
Last year there was a total of 40 members, but I hope for it to continue to grow this year. This past summer, I spent time thinking of new ways to motivate the club members. I thought it might be a good idea to get the members involved with competitions, but as I looked for competitions in which they might want to participate, there were none that encouraged creating. They were all based on solving problems.
So I decided to create my own. CreateHS is a website that encourages high school students to submit entries to the monthly challenges provided. The beginning challenges are to create websites with specific functionalities. The entries are judged on creativity, challenge requirements, and design. With the continual support from Treehouse and other companies, I hope to grow CreateHS to a global scale.
To learn more about CreateHS, check out its featured article on ReadWrite.