Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Michael the Coding Pro

Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Michael the Coding Pro

Our 2020 Summer Code Jam has come to an end (although the grand prize winner is still to be announced!). We’re 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 Michael, an 11-year-old from New Mexico who’s headed into 6th grade this fall. Michael’s a pretty smart kid, he likes to code with HTML5 and he’s a big fan of chess. His favorite hobby outside of school? Tynker, of course! He even thinks he wants to go into the coding business himself when he grows up. Let’s hear more about Michael’s experiences with Tynker and the Summer Code Jam!

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

There was a site that provided a link to one of your Tynker games, which interested me so much I created a free account, which then became a premium account because Tynker was so good. I have been using Tynker for about 3 years.

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

I started off by taking some of the free courses, which taught me some. I really liked Code Commander. 

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

The website told me. I was looking at my projects and I thought, wait a minute, why is there a medal by Week 3? I was surprised, then suddenly my mom got an email that I’d won, and suddenly I had a $50 amazon gift card.

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

That’s really hard. I liked this one I made where it was basically a Robot War. It was probably my most complicated one. One of my recent ones I liked was a fireworks celebration, that was also pretty complicated.

Why do you like to code? 

Because it is interesting and fun at the same time. 

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

I think I’m best at games. The level editor is very interesting. 

What are you planning to make next? 

I can’t tell you that until week 6 comes out, because I already did week 5. 

What’s the best thing about Tynker? 

That’s the hardest question you’ve asked me yet. I like almost everything about Tynker. 

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

It has set my career as a coder.

Do you think other kids should try coding? Why’s that? 

Yes, definitely, because it is fun and I think that a lot of kids would like it, and it would also teach them how to get a good job in life. 

What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? 

Do the courses, those teach you a lot.

Have you done a Tynker Code Jam before?

Yes, however I didn’t win that one, but the year before I did, I’ve had 5 featured projects!

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

I was counting and realized I had 23 blocks, so I had to find a way to compress it down to only 20 blocks.  

We also got a chance to speak with Michael’s mom, Della, and get her take on her children’s experiences with Tynker. “They’ve learned so much just by the Tynker programs, they understand all the concepts to coding already,” Della told us. “My husband has been going through an HTML5 JavaScript gaming book with the kids, and he thought he would be teaching them, but they kind of already know! They are going through a coding book for adults really quickly, and it is mostly due to Tynker.”

“We homeschool, so once every two weeks we have a coding day, they just jump on the computers and code all day,” Della continued. “Everyday when they finish school they’re allowed one hour of educational computer time, and it’s almost always Tynker.”

Della told us the story of how Michael wound up graduating from an annual subscription to a lifetime plan! “Michael came into our room and he had been saving all his money for a year to buy a lifetime subscription! He was 6 or 7 at the time, and since it meant that much to him we got it for him.”

Della thinks Tynker has absolutely made Michael better prepared for the future. “As homeschoolers we talk to our kids a lot about what they want to be when they grow up,” she said. “Our kids are both really interested in computers, they can’t believe people get paid to code! I think they have such an advantage over others. I took coding classes in college and they’ve far surpassed me, and they can sit and talk about coding with my husband, who has a coding background. They are definitely very well prepared for life thanks to Tynker!”

We want to thank Della and Michael for taking the time to talk to us about their Code Jam and Tynker experiences, and we can’t wait to see what Michael has in store for us next. Maybe he’ll be working with us at Tynker someday!

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.