Our 2020 Summer Code Jam has come to an end. We’re so impressed with the tens of thousands of submissions from throughout the summer and excited to talk to some of our winners about their awesome projects and experiences with Tynker!
Up next is 5th-grader Anay, from the Chicagoland area! He was a weekly winner in weeks 1, 3 and 7. Pretty impressive, right? We sure thought so, that’s why he was one of the eight finalists for our Grand Prize!
Soon to be 10 years old, Anay has always wanted to be a paleontologist when he grows up but is starting to think coding may be the way to go too, since he thinks being a programmer is the best job out there! Let’s learn more about what Anay thinks of coding!
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker?
They have really improved! Now with the Code Jam, I also try doing it a lot myself. I also like coding because it serves as a fun way to learn math, which is one of my least favorite subjects.
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured?
I never actually expected it, you know, there’s thousands of projects! I never expected anything in it.
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? What do you like about it?
My favorite is the project I made for the third week. It’s like a city skyline, which I made with a lot of squares. So and it works on a random basis. So every time you run it, you get a different result.
Where did you get the idea for your project?
My mom helps me with these things. Because she knows a lot. And then I was like, “I don’t know what to do with 20 blocks in!” She’s like, “Draw a skyline.” At first I just made a couple of circles. And then my mom advised me to turn them into squares and randomize them so they actually look like a skyline.
How long did it take for you to complete the project?
So, the first week was really easy because it was only art. It just took me a few hours. The second week was more difficult because I couldn’t come up with a story and then my mom gave me a story. I could only come up with a story in the middle of the week. So I had to spend, like, four days on it.
How do you get inspiration for your projects?
Well, I do play a lot of games. So I always look at them. And then I try to think what sort of games I can make on that basis.
Did you have any interesting challenges?
My third project was the one that I had to do the most problem solving on because I haven’t really worked with the pen too much before. It was a new experience for me. Like when you randomize it, you don’t know where exactly it’s gonna go. So, I had to calculate exactly how big those squares should be or how small. Sometimes when it goes wrong it gets really frustrating, but most of the time I just, you know, take a break and then think through it all.
Why do you like to code?
So I really like it because you can actually do a lot of things for coding. And now I actually think that, in the next few decades, you could actually even control the world with programming!
What is your favorite way to use code? Do you have a favorite code block? My favorite code block is the “Change Effect” thing because it can make you change as an actor without changing the actual graphics, but it seems like you changed it. You can increase something’s transparency or change its color or do other things with it.
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Do you debug it? Show it to someone? Publish it?
So really, since my mom helped me a lot, I always take my projects to her when I work. And when I finish it, she checks it to make sure there aren’t any bugs. If there are, she points it out, and then I try to figure out how to fix it.
What’s the best thing about Tynker? I like that it’s more advanced than other products and has a lot more features in the coding. I love the stage feature which allows you to make platformer games without even having to code.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? It really helps me because now that software controls more and more of our world, learning to make it actually helps you gain power and influence.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Why’s that?
Yeah, definitely. I would advise them to start on Tynker and then, after they’ve mastered block coding, switch to easy languages like Python, and after that, I’d advise them to study Java or C++ or something like that. Right now I’m working on Python. I actually made a game in it myself and then I am studying C++ and I know a little bit of HTML.
Bonus: What’s a fun fact about you?
I really like dressing up in costumes of characters that I really like. I only have two costumes so most of the time, I try to make them from my own clothes, or discarded things or paper.
We also spoke with Anay’s father, Ganesh, to get his take on his son learning to code with Tynker and his achievement with Code Jam! “I was really impressed!” Ganesh told us. “Most of the time, we don’t have to teach him anything, he just learns on his own. Of course, he comes to me (and mostly to his mom) asking for suggestions but other than that he’s really liking it! I saw the Summer Code Jam in an email and I showed it to him and said, ‘Why don’t you try this out?’”
Ganesh echoed what his son told us about them starting to use Tynker initially as a way to help Anay with math, a subject he’s not fond of. “He started reading everything about paleontology and all that stuff. So he was really into those things, and he didn’t want to learn math. So, this is one way we could, you know, channel him into learning a little bit more of other subjects as well.”
Now that Anay has taken such a shine to coding, Ganesh believes his son is better prepared for the future. “Because it’s like in our generation, we didn’t give a second thought about whether we should learn to drive or not right? Coding is like that today – no matter what profession you go into.”
We want to thank Anay and Ganesh for sitting down and talking with us, and congratulate Anay once again for being a Grand Prize finalist. Happy coding!