Kids can be inspired to learn how to code by a variety of influences. Personal interests, parents, friends, or teachers can be instrumental in sparking a passion for technology. CodeWizardsHQ instructor, Sam Foster found his inspiration in a relative who was truly ahead of his time and two generations away.

Sam’s Inspiration

“My grandpa had a ton of computers in a room in his house. He’d try to fix them and I’d be there to watch and help him. Initially, I was interested in the hardware perspective and how each piece of hardware interacts with other pieces of hardware.”

Instructor Sam with Grandpa Raymond
Instructor Sam with Grandpa Raymond

Sam’s fascination with tech grew from those early years as a seven-year-old at his grandpa’s house. His exploration led him to an interest in how software in general works and how to use code to make things like games and websites. Figuring out how software works was the most fun for him and that’s the interest that he decided to pursue.  

Sam continued his interest in software and started coding as a teenager. He is currently a Computer Science student at California State University, Sacramento, and is in his last semester. Taking six classes in a rigorous program keeps him pretty busy, but he also finds time to teach kids and teens how to code at CodeWizardsHQ.

The Creativity of Coding

Sam has been an instructor for two years and while he enjoys teaching elementary, middle, and high school students, he finds the Web App Development class for high school particularly interesting. He likes grading projects that are uniquely customized and the high school students in Web App Development are adept at coming through with creative designs.

When asked about specific stand-out student projects, Sam again cites creativity as a measure of success and a middle school student whose capstone project went above and beyond.

“While most of the students’ projects were zombie-themed, there was one student who created a mining project game where the player searched for and mined rocks and depending on what rock was mined, was rewarded with currency. Players could also combine rocks for currency to buy things like faster pickaxes.”

A Future in Technology 

Like many of his students, Sam enjoys video gaming as a hobby, but he admits that with six courses and work as an instructor, he doesn’t get out very often. Sam can only sneak in an occasional game and lists Dota 2 as a go-to option. A self-starter, coding isn’t the only skill that he has picked up on his own. Sam is currently teaching himself a new language. He’s learning Italian and manages to work lessons into his busy schedule.

Sam During a Brief Break in His Last Semester at California State
Sam During a Brief Break in His Last Semester at California State

Beginning an interest in technology and coding as a child has propelled Sam into what will no doubt be a bright future. He intends on becoming a software engineer and he is especially interested in the world of data science. These professions require a great deal of coding creativity, the same creativity that he prizes so much in his students.

Sam is happy to report that Grandpa Raymond still enjoys tinkering with his roomful of computers. Sam has come quite a way since those seven-year-old helper days and he and his grandfather still share a passion for technology. Currently, his grandfather is using a computer that Sam made himself.