They ask me for advice on where to go with this new found skill. And this is what I tell them (taken from an email I just sent a young women I met on Tuesday):
My advice is to treat coding as a hobby like some people treat photography, painting or knitting
Make stuff and keep making stuff. You will get better, have fun, and, who knows, you might make the next Tumblr!
The more that society understands coding as a learned and honed skill like sculpting or painting, the easier it is going to be to get young people interested and excited about it. And by making it into a hobby as opposed to homework, good things can and will happen. As Chris says in his post:
Business people vote with their dollars, and are mostly trying to create near-term financial returns. Engineers vote with their time, and are mostly trying to invent interesting new things. Hobbies are what the smartest people spend their time on when they aren’t constrained by near-term financial goals.
So my hope is that all these young kids who are learning to code this summer keep coding when they go back to school this fall and treat it like playing the guitar, something they want to do when they get home after school, because its fun and because you can make awesome things with it.