Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Noah’s Not Puzzled By Code!

Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Noah’s Not Puzzled By Code!

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 Noah, a Week 7 Summer Code Jam winner! Noah is a 14-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who’s headed to high school this fall! Noah wants to utilize his creativity as either an actor or a coder when he grows up. 

One of Noah’s favorite hobbies is solving puzzles — in fact, it’s part of what makes math his favorite subject in school because in a certain way math is just solving puzzles. We think those same puzzle-solving skills are what makes Noah such a great coder!

How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? I actually was kind of bored so I just started looking up educational games just to keep my brain up and running and I found Tynker. So, I just ran it by Dad and I was like, “This looks cool!” 

How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? What are your favorite Tynker courses or tutorials? I was introduced to it at school, through Hour of Code. But what I like about Tynker is just that there are many ways of coding that you teach – like, blocks, JavaScript, Python, HTML, you know, all those things.

I first went to one of the courses, which was the JavaScript course, and I decided to do that game. I did run into some blocks. So I looked at other kids’ games and just saw how they programmed it and learned from it. 

How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? I actually know how to code! I can understand a little bit more, but this really helped me to learn it more in-depth.

Where do you get the idea for your project? How long did it take you to make? I think I first started doing something else that was two-playered. And I was just like, “Oh, this is too hard to do a computer because there are people who are by themselves and they need to play it.” So I thought, oh, a hockey game, or air hockey would be very fun. And so I just tried it and I thought of that. It took me about two to three days to do it. But they were longer days. 

How do you get inspiration for your projects? They mostly just pop in my head! My little brother Wesley is very creative and all that. So he’s like the brainstormer for me.

      

Why do you like to code? I honestly don’t exactly know. I love to create things that people can enjoy. So coding is a big part of creating things that people can enjoy.

What is your favorite way to use code? Do you have a favorite code block? I really like broadcasting. That was my favorite. Like, “Wow, this is so cool.” It’s just like, when something’s done, then you can broadcast out do something else, and it just works. And that really made me appreciate everything that normal video game makers do and the games I’ve played so far. That’s a lot of work!

What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Do you debug it? Show it to someone? Publish it? I did show it to Dad first. He corrected me on my spelling because sometimes I do make mistakes. 

What’s the best thing about Tynker? Like I said, it’s a lot more explaining about a lot more things. It just gets you a broader vision of everything and everything you can do. And it basically lets you run wild and do whatever you want, basically, with computer stuff. So that’s what I really like about Tynker.

How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? I think it will help me if I ever go into video game designing or anything computer-related and probably even acting because you kind of can see the director’s point of view of everything in coding that. 

Do you think other kids should try coding? Why’s that? I think they should, just to test out if they like it or not, you know, just because you never really know until you try it. I’ve learned that a lot, especially with roller coasters. But you never really know until you try it that you like it. So I think it’s worth it to just get on Tynker and see what they have for you.

What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? Take it slow. Don’t go into the advanced versions yet, because I did start doing that JavaScript one, and that was an advanced course. And then I was like, “I don’t really understand this quite so well yet.” So I did go to Turing’s Tower or something easier to understand the concepts of every block and every coding thing. And then I went back and said, “Oh, this is what that means.” So, like, just start slow and do the beginner classes, you know?

Also, I’m always like, “Apply for things!” because when I looked at the Tynker Code Jam, I was just like, “Ah, there’s probably a lot of people there and I’m not even going to be considered.” But I was considered, apparently! That’s what I learned. Don’t be afraid to try out new things.

Did you have any interesting challenges that you had to figure out? Something that really got me blocked was trying to move the puck so that, when they hit it, it just flies all over the place, you know. That’s when I referred back to some other community projects that really helped me understand how to make the puck move.

How did you feel when their parents told them that they won? That’s a funny story. We did look at the live stream of week seven. And they showed games out, as they normally do, as the like most high ones. And then they have that list of other winners. But I didn’t – I completely missed my name in it. So the day after or the day after that, Dad got an email about how we won and we were just like, “Whaaaat?”

What do you want to do with their prize money? I actually spent it! What I used it for was earphones. They’re for school, they eliminate other sounds. They’re sound cancelling. 

Noah’s dad, Nathan, joined the conversation and expressed how he felt about Noah learning to code. “I am super proud of him,” Nathan tells us. “He’s so cool. Noah is my super-focused child, so I’m not terribly shocked because when he finds something that he really likes, he just laser-focuses on it and goes.”

“Noah has two brothers and a sister, so he’s the oldest,” said Nathan. “And so of course, if I had to buy Tynker for one of them, I had to buy it for all of them. And then I finally broke down and bought them the lifetime memberships so that they could just code their little hearts out. Wesley will run in and interrupt me in the middle of work and just say, ‘Look at what I coded! This is amazing!’ So just stuff like that. It’s really cool.  

Nathan continued, “I like that you all send emails telling me ‘Hey, Abby is doing a really good job. And Logan did awesome. And Wesley and Noah achieved this,’ because I don’t have time to go through the whole platform. So, that’s really helpful because that allows me to encourage them as they’re going through the processes.”

Nathan believes that using Tynker is going to make Nathan and his brother and sisters better prepared for the future. “I really don’t know how to code very much at all. So, it’s kind of fun watching him do stuff that I don’t really understand,” Nathan explained. “I’m really excited for him when he gets to this high school pathway of coding, because he will have a major leg up on the rest of the kids who haven’t started coding already. I think he’s going to crush it when he gets in there!”

We want to thank Noah and Nathan for taking the time to speak with us about their experience with Tynker. We’re looking forward to more of Noah’s projects and wish him luck in high school! 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.