Every parent wonders what their child will be when they grow up.
While it's difficult to make predictions about what our kids will gravitate towards later in life, computer programmers are a special breed and many of the traits that point to success in the field often develop early in childhood.
I've taught children as young as six how to code, and I'm amazed at how many of the characteristics that developers rely on are present at this early age.
If your child displays the seven traits listed below, you may have a budding computer programmer in your household:
1. They are fascinated by computers and technology.
This might be a little obvious: If your child loves working with computers and technology, it's more likely they'll pursue it as a career.
These days, most kids are born with a smartphone in their hands. Future programmers, however, want to understand technology on a deeper level. When a child comes into one of our coding classes asking questions about how or why things work, or how they can use technology to solve problems or create something new, I know they're already halfway to a career in computer programming.
2. They like working on a team.
Many people imagine computer programmers as anti-social misfits sitting alone in dark cubicles staring at computers for hours on end. This antiquated and erroneous stereotype completely misses the mark in today's high-tech workplace.
The best programmers have outstanding communication skills, and love working in teams. Successful programmers need to be able to explain complex ideas and collaborate with others to complete projects. If your child enjoys teamwork, engaging with their peers, and explaining things to others, it might prove they have a bright future in programming.
3. They enjoy teaching themselves.
In this age of digital disruption, technology is developing at breakneck speed. Successful programmers realize quickly that they need to be adaptable and skilled at teaching themselves in order to stay ahead of the curve.
As a teacher, this is a difficult one for me to admit: There comes a point when your students have to be able to grow and learn on their own. Children who can learn things by themselves are on the right path if they want to be programmers.
Does your child like learning new things on their own? Or perhaps have they taught themselves how to play an instrument or the rules of a complex new game?
The ability to self-teach propels programmers to research open source content, participate in community forums, and master cutting edge skills.
4. They're good at solving problems.
At its core, computer programming is about identifying and solving problems.
Does your child often propose ideas, inventions, or other solutions for problems? Does she enjoy strategy games and puzzles?
Children who enjoy problem solving games and who demonstrate the patience, persistence, and grit to tackle difficult challenges may gravitate to computer programming.
5. They pay attention to the details.
Even the simplest computer programs contain complex functions that require a detail-oriented mind. The deeper you go in programming, the more intricate the procedures become, and small changes can make a huge difference to the end result.
Kids who can process small details will find it easier to succeed in programming.
6. They know how to fail.
The best computer programmers fail at every turn. Much of computer programming is about trial and error -- creating problems or making mistakes and then learning how to solve them. It can be frustrating, which is why your child needs to be able to fail, and fail often.
Whenever a student runs into a coding problem or an error in our coding classes , I sometimes see them become frustrated or upset. But the ones who can step back and find the problem, attempt to correct, and move forward, are often emboldened by their mistakes, instead of discouraged.
Children who know how to fail, and more importantly how to learn quickly from their mistakes, will be more likely to take risks and be successful programmers.
7. They are creative and love making things.
Good news, parents! All those Legos you bought your kids might be paying off.
If your child loves building or making new things, they might be a true computer programmer. Programming is an inherently creative endeavor, and just like a Lego set requires multiple building blocks to make something new.
At our kids coding academy, some of our most advanced students are talented artists, musicians, and writers.
If you have a creative child who likes to write songs, make up stories, or draw new worlds, this creativity may transition well to computer programming.
Take the Quiz
If you'd like to see if your child is destined to become a coder, I've created a fun, easy quiz here.