Get Coding – A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

A fellow usergroup speaker and UK developer, David Whitney,  as recently written a book called Get Coding, which aims to get young kids of around 10 years old to start learning programming, and more specifically web development with HTML 5, CSS, and Javascript. The book teaches these by developing small websites and games.

Get Coding - A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding
Get Coding – A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

The quality of the book is exceptional and it is all taught in a bright, colorful and engaging style which I think works really well. I am currently working my way through the book and I hope that when my daughter is a little older she can also start to learn from this book and others like it.

The book progresses at a sensible rate that I think kids will be able to easily digest and you end up with fully working software. Naturally a book this size won’t teach you everything about HTML, CSS and Javascript, but it serves as a fantastic introduction to each of these and because of the fun, colorful and engaging style it should encourage kids to hack around with what they have built and hopefully learn a lot more.

The programming world these days seems to mostly lean towards the web, so the choice of technologies in this book is sensible and should hopefully help to create our future software development workforce. Learning at a young age from resources like this or even mature resources like Pluralsight and Lynda is much more valuable than formal school education as it is more fun (in my opinion) and encourages kids to experiment instead of fitting into a rigid curriculum.

Go and get a copy of this book for your kids, or buy it for friends who have kids and help to inspire them, it really is not an expensive book which really helps lower the barrier to entry.

The book is available from most book shops and Amazon UK and Amazon US

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Slides for my NDC Oslo Talk : .NET Data Security – Hope is not a Strategy

Stephen Haunts Presenting at NDC Oslo
Stephen Haunts Presenting at NDC Oslo

I have just finished my talk at NDC Oslo on .Net Data Security. I have made the slides available on this blog. You can also grab some Sample Code in C# that goes along with the talk. Feel free to use any of the code in your own solutions.

The talk went very well to a packed room that had to have people standing as there were no seats left. I am very pleased with the result.

I covered a lot of ground in the talk, but if anyone is interested in following up on the techniques I discussed, then I have a course called Practical Cryptography in .NET which goes into a lot more detail than the talk.

If you don’t have access to Pluralsight but would like to watch the course, then please get in touch with me via the contact page on this blog and I can sort you out with a 30 day, unlimited access trial card for Pluralsight.

Finding Your Lightbulb Moment

I feel lucky that I have had a very diverse career where I have worked in many industries from Computer games at companies like Argonaut Software, Core Design, Electronic arts through to financial services companies like Egg Bank, and Dollar Financial and then in healthcare at Boots / Walgreens. Now I am working for a young and very exciting tech start up called Buying Butler.

Last week I was looking back to when I was a kid and tried to remember what that lightbulb moment was that set my career on its own trajectory. What started it all off? When I was a kid, around 14 years old I wanted to make computer games and Me and a good friend, Chris, would spend most of our spare time working on these games, but this was just a hobby. For me the catalyst that started my career moving when either me or my Dad, I can’t remember specifically who it was, found a small advert in a computer magazine from small start-up publisher looking for people who had developed computer games.

dark mission
One of my first computer games, Dark Mission

This was in the Commodore Amiga days. We got in touch with them and showed the game me and Chris was working on called Dark Mission. It was an isometric shoot-em-up / adventure game very heavily influenced by the film Aliens.  This small publisher called GKS Design wanted to release our game. I don’t think I have ever been so excited. This was around the time of us doing our GCSE exams at school, so we would split our time studying and developing this game.