Meet Niki Durey, an enthusiastic instructor at CodeWizardsHQ, whose coding journey is as inspiring as her teaching style. Niki’s story isn’t just about becoming proficient in programming languages; it’s about inspiring a new generation to explore and excel in the world of technology.

Early Sparks of Interest in Coding

Instructor Niki Durey
Instructor, Niki Durey

Niki’s coding adventure began somewhat unexpectedly in the 8th grade, sparked by a proactive math teacher during the Hour of Code and an introduction to Scratch. This early exposure to Scratch, a programming language designed for beginners, was her gateway into the world of coding. “It was like a switch clicked in my brain where I was like, Oh, I could make something that does something,” Niki recalled. This revelation led her to dream about creating video games, turning a casual interest into a lifelong passion.

Self-Taught Expertise and High School Exploration

Initially self-taught, Niki used online resources to delve deeper into coding long before she received formal instruction. By the end of middle school, she had already created a 2D version of a world generator, reminiscent of her favorite game, Minecraft. High school brought more structured opportunities, including joining a robotics team and learning Java, followed by Python. These experiences not only refined her coding skills but also mirrored the progression she now advocates for at CodeWizardsHQ, learning concepts in Scratch and then Python. During high school, Niki took college-level courses in software and game development, further expanding her knowledge and passion for coding.

After high school, Niki applied her skills practically, taking on a significant project to overhaul a company’s website as an intern. This real-world application of her skills was a prelude to her future in teaching. After finding CodeWizardsHQ through a job search, she saw an opportunity to give back. “I saw CodeWizards, and I thought I would love to be able to give back in that way, to give kids that same experience that I had, especially since they teach so much earlier than even I got to learn,” she explained.

Teaching Philosophy

Niki’s teaching philosophy mirrors the CodeWizards approach. She believes coding is as much about problem-solving and creativity as it is about technical acumen. “One of my favorite things that I’ve learned in teaching is that failure is not a bad thing,” she explains. Niki values the process of learning through failure, teaching her students that setbacks are just stepping stones to greater understanding and success. 

Her classes are interactive, encouraging students to experiment and learn from each interaction. Whether it’s explaining code to a rubber duck to debug a problem or designing their own websites in HTML and CSS, Niki’s students get a holistic learning experience that is both challenging and rewarding.

Beyond CodeWizardsHQ

Niki and family
Niki and Family

Outside of teaching, Niki continues to pursue her passion for game development and storytelling, working on personal projects that include game design. She is also an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and game master, where she brings stories to life, weaving narratives and guiding players through complex, imaginative worlds.

Niki Durey’s journey from a curious student to a passionate educator highlights the transformative power of coding education. At CodeWizardsHQ, she not only teaches coding but also inspires her students to see the possibilities beyond the code. As coding becomes increasingly integral to our digital world, educators like Niki are crucial in shaping the innovative minds of the future, making coding accessible, enjoyable, and impactful.