Let's shine the spotlight today on kids and teenagers who are building amazing stuffs in tech. We may not always talk about them, but it definitely takes a lot balls to do what they do (combining being a child with school and tech) coupled with the fact that some of them do not hold a job yet.
Salute to every kid and teenager in tech out there, who in this article, I'll be referring to as young generation coders.
Recently, I've been obsessed with checking out profiles of young people building amazing stuffs in tech (between the ages of 5-18), especially Nigerians.
Checking out our top tech muses (Zuckerberg, Bill) we realize one thing, they started really young, maybe not with coding actually, but they got into tech quite early.
When I joined tech, I found out that a lot of techies were pretty young (not that there's anything wrong with starting out later), but I must say, it was really impressive to me, coming from a non tech environment where technology was tagged "distraction".
In this article, I'll be sharing 5 top things I've learnt about the young generation coders in Nigeria:
They are very creative and inquisitive:
With my few years of teaching kids how to code, I've found out that Kids and teenagers are inquisitive naturally, and if this inquisitiveness is properly channeled, they do even better than the adults. I can't explain this in details as I'm not a "brain doctor", but I find it really fascinating the way they make impressive strides when it comes to tech.
They have supportive parents, or mentors at least:
No young generation coder will be able to do so much if they have no assistance from parents, guardians or mentors, supporting them, mentoring and providing them with required resources at least at their learning phase. I remember @SamsonGoddy's speech at TedX Abayi, where he narrated to us his journey through tech, and how his tech career kickstarted through a coding program brought to them by a certain organization which also availed them free laptops.
A lot of them are caught up between school and tech:
This is very glaring as the average school curriculum does not directly support programming. They mostly have to squeeze out a spare time to learn and practice. Some of them are usually caught in the web of family insisting they finish school and their left brain nudging them to drop out.
Some of them have inadequate facilities or resources (eg. Data):
The few who do not have the required parental support and resources struggle to keep up with requirements such as PC breakdown, data, purchasing courses, attending events etc.
There are fewer girls among them.
There are very few female children learning tech.
How can we support them?
Provide them with resources:
As much as you can, offer free resources to them in order to facilitate their learning. Resources could be data, links to free courses, laptops (used or brand new). Lack of laptop is the reason a lot of kids and teenagers are yet to venture into tech.
Hold more programs centered on them
Truth be told, kids and teenagers in tech face a different fight and tech events should tailor some of their sessions to suit them.
Support could come as mentorship, mental health check, checking up on them, encouraging them and so on. They should be helped to take care of their mental health, reduce anxiety and imposter syndrome, and taking breaks to avoid burnouts.
In the coming months I'll be running a profile on some young generation coders who are doing awesome in their fields as a way to shine the spotlight on them, and also to encourage a lot of others who don't understand this yet, that it is never too early to start. They deserve to be celebrated.
Know of any young generation coder (kids and teens in tech)? Reach out to them and support them when you can.
If you know of any kid or teenager in tech doing awesome stuffs, do point me to them by sending me a DM on twitter .