Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Joey the Future Rocket Scientist

Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Joey the Future Rocket Scientist

Our 2020 Summer Code Jam has come to an end. We were so impressed with the tens of thousands of submissions from throughout the summer and so excited to talk to some of our winners about their awesome projects and experiences with Tynker!

Next up is Joey, a Week 3 Code Jam Winner! He’s a 12-year-old from Iowa, who’s starting 7th grade. When he’s not coding, Joey loves to play football (quarterback, of course!) and he also swims competitively. He’s pretty athletic, but he also exercises his brain. His favorite subject in school is math, and he wants to be a rocket scientist when he grows up… and a video game designer too!

Let’s learn more about Joey and his experience with Tynker and our Summer Code Jam!

How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? 

My technology teacher introduced it to me a few months ago and I looked up the Tynker competition.

How did you learn to use Tynker when you were first starting out? What are your favorite Tynker courses or tutorials? 

I looked at the Tynker community projects. I’d look at their code and how they did it.

How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker?

I’ve gotten a lot better at piecing together blocks to create projects and at drawing with my touchpad.

How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured?

I was at the airport about to get on the plane and my mom showed me the email! I was super excited.

What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? What do you like about it? 

My favorite project is obviously my winning project!


How do you get inspiration for your projects? 

I usually get inspiration from the Tynker community!

Why do you like to code? 

It’s really fun to make games! It’s fun how when I want to create a game, I can. 

What is your favorite way to use code? Do you have a favorite code block? 

I like creating adventure games! My favorite code block is “on start.” You can’t do anything without the “on start” block.

What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Do you debug it? Show it to someone? Publish it? 

I show it to my family first. If they like it, I show it to my friends for their reviews.

What’s the best thing about Tynker? I love that they have competitions where you can win prizes! They also have really good interactive tutorials that teach you to code.

How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? 

I think it prepares me for the jobs I want! I definitely need it to be a videogame designer and probably to be a rocket scientist.

Do you think other kids should try coding? 

Yes, everyone would like it and can be good at it!

Did you have any interesting challenges that they had to figure out – like how to move legs or add the right music?

I had to figure out how to shorten my project to only 20 blocks of code. It started out with 45 blocks.

How did you feel when it was over?

I was relieved because I thought it was my best project so far but I wasn’t sure if I had a chance at winning because there are so many projects.

What do you want to do with your prize money?

I bought Lego London!

Bonus: What’s a fun fact about you? 

I like to play chess! I’ve been playing since 2nd grade and I enter competitions.

Joey’s mom, Mary, joined in and told us about her son learning code with Tynker and what progress she’s seen so far. “He picks things up very quickly!” Mary said. “It’s really good to see what he’s doing. I don’t know how to code myself, so all I can really do is just be encouraging!”

Mary sees a lot of benefits and new skills that Joey is picking up through his adventures with Tynker. “It helps him learn perseverance! It’s good for school and good for life. He’s learning to debug it, and work on it. I think Tynker has helped him develop a passion for coding, which will also be helpful in the event that he chooses a profession that requires a lot of coding.”

“Also, because so much of what he creates through Tynker is self-taught or learned through the Tynker community,” Mary continued. “Code Jam has given him the confidence to know that he can be successful when he puts his mind to it and has allowed him to be an independent learner.”

We want to thank Joey and Mary for taking the time to speak with us about their experience with Tynker. We’re looking forward to more of Joey’s projects and wish him luck! Happy coding!

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.