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Question for Techies: Best Things to Learn
#1
Hi! My 8-year-old son is in love with coding. He has mastered Scratch and is now learning Python. I'm wondering how to guide him in the future, like what coding languages would be wise for him to learn or other things that go along with that. I'm working on the personal hygiene and listening skills, but I'm not sure how best to guide him on the tech side of things. Also, if I wanted him to become a Wordpress master, what would be the path to get there? (I won't force him into Wordpress, but I'd love to have him to help me with my blog.)
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#2
I am not an expert like some here, so heed their advice over mine, but I will say this:

WordPress is made up (at least the vast majority of it - there might be some elements of others) of four languages: HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript, so I would have him learn those (PHP is particularly important, but it isn't too useful, at least in my experience, without the HTML framework to work inside of).
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#3
(11-22-2019, 09:59 PM)mysonx3 Wrote: I am not an expert like some here, so heed their advice over mine, but I will say this:

WordPress is made up (at least the vast majority of it - there might be some elements of others) of four languages: HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript, so I would have him learn those (PHP is particularly important, but it isn't too useful, at least in my experience, without the HTML framework to work inside of).
Just to add on to this, HTML and CSS are not programming languages. HTML is a markup language and CSS is a style sheet language. Both are incredibly easy to learn. Much easier to learn than any programming or scripting language. I would definitely learn HTML if you are wanting him to be able to help you out with anything web related. CSS, not so much. I had tons of fun staying up late into the night (or, technically morning) designing entire website layouts with CSS, but I wouldn't say categorize it as important depending on your (and his) goals.

I'd say cyber security, both the slightly more boring blue-team side and the exciting breaking into things red-team side are excellent things to learn for anyone getting into technology, but may be a little difficult for an 8 year old. Honestly, everything depends on goals. This field is incredibly vast, so the "best things" to learn are going to be different for everyone.

For things that an 8 year old may find fun, I'd go with hacking (maybe), programming is good so PHP and Javascript for web-related (and of course HTML), Java and Python for computer and phone applications, and maybe get him an Arduino or Rasberry Pi to let him play around with hardware.
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#4
(11-23-2019, 04:27 AM)Elitis Wrote: I'd say cyber security, both the slightly more boring blue-team side and the exciting breaking into things red-team side are excellent things to learn for anyone getting into technology, but may be a little difficult for an 8 year old. Honestly, everything depends on goals. This field is incredibly vast, so the "best things" to learn are going to be different for everyone.

As an expert in this field, you CANNOT learn Cybersecurity without having background knowledge in other areas of IT (coding, networking, systems administration). I think Python is an excellent start, as it is not only a very flexible language, but also requires good coding habits (e.g. proper spacing and indenting for readability) that will likely carry over to other languages. HTML, CSS, JS et al are likely going to be good knowledge to have for years to come. PHP is good to know, but still has a stigma of making it easy to code badly.

I would get him an old PC or two, or something similar (Raspberry Pi maybe) to let him tinker with the stuff outside of coding. Networking and OSes (Linux, Windows, etc.) are also great baselines to have and understand, even if you're "only" a coder.
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#5
make games in python
1: games are fun
2: he can see results fairly quickly (he adds a few lines of code, he sees results)
3: this will force him to learn math because he'll have to calculate trajectories and angles
4: he'll learn graphing and pathing algorithms (this is not graphing like making charts or making graphs like (x, y) points --- this kind of graph means connections between things -- think of it as moving from point A to point B --- https://www.redblobgames.com/pathfinding...raphs.html and https://www.redblobgames.com/pathfinding...ction.html )
5: python is uses in data science
6: python is used in artificial intelligence
7: python is used in web programming

> like what coding languages would be wise for him to learn

when I started programming many years ago Java and C# didn't even exist
now they're two of the biggest languages around
so I don't think learning specific languages is such a big deal
who knows what will be popular when you kid graduates high school ?
I only recommend python because its used for so many things and that's what's important -- learning things, not languages --- if you know things then you can translate that knowledge into other languages --- if he knows data science, statistics and math in python well then he can do them in java and C# in just a couple of weeks

here are two books

https://inventwithpython.com/invent4thed/

http://inventwithpython.com/pygame/

the author streams and codes lives often (there is a chat feature, but i've never seen chat be kid unfriendly)
https://www.twitch.tv/alsweigart

there's also
http://programarcadegames.com/

he can start with basic text games with python
then move onto pygame or pyxel

https://github.com/kitao/pyxel

https://www.reddit.com/r/pyxel/

of course this is all software development and programming

you might also want to get him into basic hardware with a rasberry Pi
https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/proj...ot-antenna

of course hardware costs money
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Raspberry+Pi+..._sb_noss_2

https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/proj...tting-up/2

https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/proj...-pi-using/

https://www.reddit.com/r/raspberry_pi/
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#6
(11-23-2019, 01:16 PM)bluebooger Wrote: of course hardware costs money

Yes, it does, but getting a couple old off lease desktops (or even thin clients for re-purposing) from Ebay and a $10 network switch will be a very worthwhile investment for someone who's interested in learning the tech.

Examples (as of today, anyway):
I use one of these as my home firewall with a quad core NIC zip tied to the top:
https://www.pcliquidations.com/p20365-hp-t610-amd-g (dual core AMD, PCIe slot, up to 16GB RAM, 2 SATA and one IDE Slot)

Others:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-T620-Quad-Co...3619553423
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LENOVO-ThinkCen...2625649646
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Optiplex-7...2816761119

Also, if you're willing to buy in bulk (I know this company will take an offer for $55):
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-4-Dell-W...2541370133
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#7
(11-23-2019, 12:08 PM)quigongene Wrote:
(11-23-2019, 04:27 AM)Elitis Wrote: I'd say cyber security, both the slightly more boring blue-team side and the exciting breaking into things red-team side are excellent things to learn for anyone getting into technology, but may be a little difficult for an 8 year old. Honestly, everything depends on goals. This field is incredibly vast, so the "best things" to learn are going to be different for everyone.

As an expert in this field, you CANNOT learn Cybersecurity without having background knowledge in other areas of IT (coding, networking, systems administration). I think Python is an excellent start, as it is not only a very flexible language, but also requires good coding habits (e.g. proper spacing and indenting for readability) that will likely carry over to other languages. HTML, CSS, JS et al are likely going to be good knowledge to have for years to come. PHP is good to know, but still has a stigma of making it easy to code badly.
Of course, I did say Cyber security may be a bit difficult for him at this point. And he does have some background knowledge (however small) in programming/scripting. Adding on to that basic ability and teaching him how to program securely may be an option for him. I'm not suggesting he learn how to secure an entire enterprise domain at this point.

Funny enough I avoided Python for years growing up due to its odd syntax. I was so used to C-style syntax, everything else just seemed wrong. Although I was already using spacing and indenting anyway lol. And PHP would be excellent for him to know if OP wants some help with Wordpress.
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#8
I at his age I'd concentrate more on his enjoying the process than learning marketable skills.

One thing I'd suggest is Unity. He'll learn a lot about 3D, plus be able to create games for both PC and mobile devices. He'll have fun and learn a lot. It's totally free for personal use.

Another approach, if games isn't his thing, is getting him an Arduino starter kit. He can build all kinds of cool projects and learn C programming at the same time. He can level up into robotics after that.
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#9
My recommendation and take would be to get the basics under your belt, what I mean is the beginner's programming languages of choice - I would choose C, C++, Java, Python as these four are the ones most used at the current time. Here are some FREE resources you may be interested in as they are a small part of what I am reading.

You want the "basics" before you jump forward, I highly recommend reviewing what's available on Khan Academy/Udemy (when there are FREE courses being offered for Intro to Programming, etc) See below: The first link shows the same 4 programming languages I recommended, but instead of just C, it recommends C#. C# is for .NET framework, C can be more useful.

W3schools Web Developer Tools: https://www.w3schools.com/
Free Code Camp: https://www.freecodecamp.org/
SoloLearn Code: https://www.sololearn.com/
Code Academy: https://www.codecademy.com/
C++ Resources: Learn C++ - http://www.learncpp.com/

1) Purchase a cheap kit such as the Kano PC Kit, it's got hardware for your kid to setup and install the OS and teaches basics to programming, if you want to splurge a bit, then the best kit would be another brand/model called the "Piper". Another option is to have the kid try the Raspberry Pi or another alternative as mentioned... Heck, splurge and buy both the Kano Kit and Raspberry Pi 4.

2) Purchase a used laptop/desktop, install Endless Os (Linux) onto that. Download the smallest version as it's about 2GB, the English or language versions with "extras" are too much to start off with and is at least 10GB large, you can add to it whenever you need to to basic one. This is the cheapest option vs buying the Asus (Hack) laptop for $299 USD or just the USB Key at $39 with an updated/modified version of Endless Os. Link: https://www.hack-computer.com/
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#10
By the time that kid reaches old enough for a job there will be paradigm shifts in technology. According to davewill at his age let him focus on the process rather than marketable skills...especially in the realm of web monkeying where frameworks change so soon with 'coders' (hate that word) being obsessed with technology making so much frameworks every day or two. Its a nightmare...

If he learns the process and concepts it can help more. When I was his age, I used to experiment with 4000 series logic chips and what not. The logical concepts I learned there have helped me with programming, logic design, hardware design and cause of that learning C, VHDL and Ladder logic was a whole lot easier.

I agree with Davewill as well, with a hardware starter kit. I might not choose the Arduino though as 8 bit AVR isnt really too sure ofca future since Microchip bought Atmel and 8 bit itself is becoming a specialized niche for EEs building very deeply embedded things like power supplies and what not and maybe far edge nodes in IoT.

Mikroelektronika has the MikroC or MikroBasic for ARM. Let him focus on learning ARM chips, cause those wont change anytime soon even with RISC V on the way and after he can move up to STM32 or NXP or TIs toolchain and they are like the 'apple' of embedded design, everything just works for a beginner.

If you insist on learning marketable skills, cant go wrong with embedded design, C and C++ isnt going anywhere anytime soon, even with a major shift likely to occur in Web development.

As for games he can learn unreal engine. Blueprints lets you create console quality games without writing a single line of code and its also free to download and use and using both it and unity, it feels more fluid than uniity and looks better.

And please dont focus too much on cyber security, thats a field AI is most likely to disrupt and will go through the most major shift. By the time your son is 23, cyber secutiy will look nothing like today. But I can gurantee some company somewhere will have some thingamaboob being developed right now in C or C++ that would need updating or redesigning.
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