Coding is everywhere, from the fitness tracker on your wrist to the navigational system on an airplane.

And that means coding is a huge opportunity for teens. If they study it now, they’ll be able to pursue careers in almost any industry.

But getting them to that point is the tricky part, with many parents wondering why teens should code, what coding languages teens should learn, or how to encourage their teens to code. Use this comprehensive guide to help you start your teen on their coding journey.

  1. Benefits of Coding for Teens
  2. Coding Languages Teens Should Learn
  3. Coding Kits for Teens
  4. Coding Gifts for Teens
  5. Coding Books for Teens
  6. Coding Clubs for Teens
  7. Coding Competitions for Teens
  8. Coding for Teens With CodeWizardsHQ

Benefits of Coding for Teens

Coding for teens results in more than a basic knowledge of coding languages or the ability to build sound Minecraft structures. Learning to code produces real benefits for teenagers, such as better performance in school, an advantage on college applications, enhanced critical thinking and problem solving, and career opportunities. 

Coding classes, clubs, and camps available to teenagers provides curriculum and support to learn to code. Students can use their coding knowledge and study skills in other computer science classes and academic pursuits. It’s especially an advantage when applying for college or an internship. Even employers highly value these skills. 

A short list of today’s coding careers includes aeronautics, art and design, data analysis, engineering, information technology (IT), mobile development, product design and development, project management, the sciences, software development, user experience (UX), and web development. That list will only grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts “computer and information technology occupations” will grow by 13% from 2016 to 2026, producing nearly 560,000 new jobs. And as for better wages, MarketWatch reports many of the jobs that require some knowledge of computer coding pay $57,000 or more per year.

Recommended: Summer Minecraft Camp for Kids

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Try our live, online coding classes for kids risk-free.

Coding Languages Teens Should Learn

Many coding languages exist, which makes it hard to choose ones to study. CodeWizrdsHQ recommends teens learn the programming languages commonly used today, such as the following nine. Teens may want to emphasize in one language over another, but they should familiarize themselves with all of them. By learning different coding languages, they will be able to select the right language to the problem they’re solving.

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C# be used to create almost anything, from mobile apps and server applications to video games, making it a general-purpose language. However, it largely belongs to the realm of Microsoft, .NET frameworks, and the Unity Game engine. If your teen expresses interest in any of those things, direct their attention toward the C# language. Learning it should be somewhat easy since it more-or-less reads like English.

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HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, probably is the simplest language to learn. It controls how elements appear on a website, affecting colors, fonts, hyperlinks, and graphics. While simple and easy to learn, it’s powerful. Teens should learn this language, especially if web development piques their interest.

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CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It outlines how HTML elements appear on a web page, which lessens the amount of coding required to run a website. The language saves developers a lot of time and effort, so teens should learn it. It’ll save them hours of work and frustration.

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Most browsers use JavaScript, making this language a must-learn. It also augments web development languages like HTML and CSS, usually adding dynamic elements to web pages. The language can serve as an introduction to front-end and back-end development, too, which further expands teens’ understanding of coding and its job opportunities.o teens should learn it. It’ll save them hours of work and frustration.

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Python can be thought of as a multi-purpose language. It receives use in web development, software development, and machine learning. The third application may explain its recent burst of popularity. Machine learning is a growing industry due to continued investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and applications.

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C++ appeared in the 1980s. It remains a relevant language because of its power—it backs applications like Microsoft Windows, Adobe, Amazon, and Google Chrome. C++ can be harder to learn than Python and JavaScript, but teens should still learn it. The language supports many enterprise systems, and it can be useful for video game and embedded firmware development.

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PHP, a server-side scripting language, sees frequent use in web development, underpinning many ecommerce sites, content management systems, WordPress sites, and social media sites. Its strength lies in its flexibility, meaning there are no hard or fast rules about how to use it. It complements HTML, giving websites additional functionality, and interacts well with databases, especially MySQL ones.

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Teens interested in Android applications will need to learn Java. Java is the backbone of all Android applications. It sometimes is employed as a server-side language, similar to PHP. Java awards other benefits, too, such as being able to run on any hardware and operating system thanks to the Java Virtual Machine.

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Swift is the language of the Apple ecosystem. It’s also a fairly easy language to learn, building upon Ruby and Python. It benefits from some unique advantages, such as checking for errors during development and managing app memory usage in real time.

Your child can learn to code from home.
Try our live, online coding classes for kids risk-free.

Coding Kits for Teens

Many of the coding kits listed here offer a dual opportunity: building robots and teaching teens to code. Some of the kits entail actual coding while others emphasize coding fundamentals and critical thinking skills.



Bitsbox is a subscription box that teaches teens computer science principles like coordinates, functions, operators, and parameters. Each monthly box features a new CS concept along with a hands-on project devoted to it. The subscription is affordable, ranging from about $16 a month to $40.

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CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit

An Amazon’s Choice product, the CanaKit is designed for the do-it-yourselfer. The kit comes with a quick-start guide, but teenagers are on their own after that. For best results, the CanaKit should be paired with one of the Raspberry Pi books mentioned later in this guide.

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NaCoDrone Pro Kitme

The CoDrone Pro is meant for the teenager who loves flight and programming. The kit includes everything your teen needs, from the drone itself to the controller powering it. As teens learn programming basics like loops, conditionals, and variables through online tutorials, they apply the concepts to the drone, giving it a literal lift-off.

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Kano Computer Kit

The Kano Computer Kit guides teens through building a mini-computer. Once built, teens can use the device to code art, music, and games with the Python and JavaScript languages. The Kano also connects to an online community where teens can collaborate and compete with other Kano users.

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LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox includes 840 LEGO pieces so that teens can build and program one of five robots. The combination teaches teens how to approach building products and solve problems, such as getting their robot from Point A to Point G.

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littleBits Base Kit: Rule Your Room

llittleBits proves the smallest object can be the mightiest. Teens learn engineering and problem solving by turning everyday objects into “interactive inventions.” The kit contains instructions for eight inventions and one challenge, which should all inspire teens to create their own littleBits designs.

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Piper Computer Kit

The Piper Computer Kit requires teens to build and code a computer before they can play a Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft. They can then enhance their computer game with different types of “power-ups.” This kit features a higher price tag, but it’s worth consideration since it instills creative confidence and technical expertise.

Coding Gifts for Teens

If you wish to encourage a teen to code with a birthday or Christmas gift, consider purchasing one of the following items. Some provide fun for the whole family, as in the case of the Code Master board game. Others involve robotics and programming, giving teens an appetite for hardware and software design, engineering, and application development.

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Anki Cozmo Robot

The Anki Cozmo Robot may remind teens of WALL-E, the beloved Pixar robot. With Cozmo, teens use the Code Lab to program the robot to perform tasks and complete objectives. As teens interact with the robot, it gets smarter, showcasing new personality traits, skills, and games.

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Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game

Mattel’s Bloxels integrates the physical and digital worlds with “Build Your Own Video Game.” Teens initially use designs included in the kit to create games and then “digitize” them with the Bloxels Builder app. Once they’re familiar with Bloxels, they can use the game board, color blocks, and app to build and code their own games.

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Code Master Programming Logic Game

Code Master is a traditional board game with a computer science twist. Teens and parents who play the game learn programming logic, as well as develop computational and problem solving skills. With 10 maps and 60 levels, the game play changes frequently, which keeps teens motivated to learn and win.

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Code: On the Brink

Code: On the Brink places teens in the role of programmers. Their objective: Be the first to guide their robot from the starting point to the finish, all while working within certain fixed requirements. The game tests teens’ understanding of programming concepts. It also unleashes problem-solving skills as teens progress through 40 challenges that range in complexity and difficulty.

ozobot evo

Evo App-Connected Coding Robot

The Evo robot’s simple appearance belies strong performance, as evidenced by top reviews from publications like TechCrunch, Wired, and PC Magazine. It features Bluetooth Smart, LED lights, and a variety of sensors. Teens can affect those items through OzoBlockly, Evo’s programming platform.

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Meccano-Erector M.A.X.

M.A.X. combines robotics and a programming platform. Teens can use the platform, plus the robot’s built-in artificial intelligence (AI), to create a one-of-a-kind robot that responds to their prompts. When they tire of the traditional M.A.X., they can reassemble its 332 parts into another robot.

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Sphero SPRK+ Robot

An Amazon’s Choice product, the Sphero SPRK+ aims to entertain and educate. The robot comes equipped with the Sphero Edu application, which allows teens to improve their coding skills. Teens begin with simple commands before moving onto block-based programming. Eventually, they move from coding blocks to writing in JavaScript.

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Wonder Workshop Cue

The Wonder Workshop Cue looks like an alien robot with its glowing lights, tripod base, and head. Teens first get acquainted with the robot through its emotive AI. They then move into adjusting the robot’s behaviors with games and challenges that start with block-based programming and end with JavaScript.

Your child can learn to code from home.
Try our live, online coding classes for kids risk-free.

Coding Clubs for Teens

Coding clubs provide safe and fun learning environments. In them, teens learn about computer science; apply their knowledge to hypothetical problems; and develop relationships with other students. The clubs often feature a mentorship component, too, which encourages teens to persist with their coding studies.

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After-School Clubs

Many schools either provide or partner with external organizations to offer after-school clubs, including ones specific to coding and computer science. To find out what’s available at your teen’s school, visit with the school office. Its assistants and secretaries usually have a running list of after-school clubs open to students.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Many Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) provide computer science and coding activities thanks to Google’s CS First. Google designed CS First for youth ages 9 to 14, with the goal of teaching them to express their ideas through computer code. CS First includes everything BGCA volunteers need to host the class, from lessons plans and instructional videos to physical awards like stickers and certificates.

Price: Free

coding for kids free, coderdojo


CoderDojo, an international club, provides a relaxing and safe environment in which kids can learn to code. Dojos are free to attend and open to kids ages 7 to 17. At the dojo, participants learn to build websites, develop applications and games, and explore opportunities in the tech field.

Price: Free

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Local Library Clubs

Many local libraries offer computer science classes. Parents interested in such opportunities should visit with their local library to find out what’s available. Many libraries also allow cardholders to check out computer equipment, such as Raspberry Pi kits.

The Clubhouse Network club

The Clubhouse Network

The Clubhouse Network is an international community of clubhouses. These clubhouses entail a safe and free learning environment where teens from underserved communities can learn about technology. Participating teens also work with mentors, which builds confidence, develops new skills, encourages creativity, and motivates them to seek out new career opportunities.

Price: Free

Your child can learn to code from home.
Try our live, online coding classes for kids risk-free.

Coding Competitions for Teens

Coding competitions deliver inspiration, motivation, and collaboration. The third quality might seem odd, but most coding competitions require a team, rather than individual, effort. As a result, teens learn to work together even as they push toward the completion deadline and a potential prize.

Carnegie Mellon club

Carnegie Mellon CS-STEM Network

The Carnegie Mellon CS-STEM Network hosts competitions semi-regularly. These contests typically combine computer science and robotics, a timely integration as job opportunities in artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to rise. Some of the competitions emphasize other intriguing technology applications, such as urban planning.

Price: Free



The U.S. Army hosts the eCYBERMISSION challenge, a competition for 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students. Participating students form teams of three or four individuals from the same grade-level and state, with an adult team advisor, usually a teacher. The team studies a problem in the local community; selects a Mission Challenge that addresses the problem; and submits the completed challenge in a Mission Folder. Exceptional Mission Folders typically receive state, regional, and national awards.

Price: Free

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Google Code-in

Google Code-in is an annual, global competition in which teenagers ages 13 to 17 are introduced to open source software development. Google partners with select open source organizations, and they determine a list of tasks for teens to complete during the contest period. Successful completion of tasks rewards different prizes, along with practical knowledge about coding, documentation, research, and user interface design.

Price: Free

Imagine Cup

Imagine Cup

The Imagine Cup, put on by Microsoft, is a global competition. Teens form teams and devise technology solutions that shape how people live, work, and play. Teens compete for prizes and, of course, the prestigious Imagine Cup.

Price: Free


Technovation Challenge

The Technovation Challenge forms teens into teams that ideate, build, and sell an app that solves a problem in the local community. The competition occurs every year and is open to girls between the ages of 10 and 18.

Price: Free

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Teen Hackathon

Teen Hackathon encourages teens to learn about and apply technology to the real world. Teen participants usually visit with companies to learn about a specific technology. They then apply that technology to their proposed solution. In the final phase of the hackathon, the teens present their solutions; receive feedback, a little like Shark Tank; and earn prizes.

Price: Free

University Interscholastic League

University Interscholastic League (UIL)

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) at the University of Texas at Austin holds annual computer contests on a regional level. The contests comprise two parts, a 45-minute written exam and a two-hour programming contest. The first focuses on the individual’s grasp of computer science concepts while the second emphasizes shared knowledge and team collaboration. First-place teams move onto the next level of competition, usually a statewide meet.

Price: Free

USA Computing Olympiad

USA Computing Olympiad

The USA Computing Olympiad runs contests throughout the year. Participating teens receive four hours in which to complete the current contest. Those who successfully complete the contest can move onto more advanced competitions, including the US Open and the annual International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI).

Price: Free

Coding for Teens With CodeWizardsHQ

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CodeWizardsHQ offers coding classes on various days and times, making it easy to find a class that fits your schedule. Teens log into the class at the appropriate time to receive instruction from a live instructor. They then work through several problems together before working independently. The lessons build progressively, ultimately leading to internship opportunities.

It’s time to teach teens to code. Get started today by either exploring a class or purchasing a book, kit, or gift. Anything you can do to get your teen excited about coding will benefit them in the long run. They will become computational thinkers, creative problem solvers, dedicated collaborators, and innovative leaders—not only in the tech industry but also the world.