Meet Sophie: Programmer by Day, Author by Night!
Why is eleven-year-old Sophie known as Purpleberry on Tynker? Because “Blueberry” was already taken! Sophie is in 6th grade and hails from Canada. She’s an animal lover who has a cat and volunteers at the Humane Society, draws and writes in her free time, and loves being outside.
Sophie’s always been interested in computers; she told us, “When I was in Grade 1 no one could find the on button for the Chromebooks and I was already playing computer games!” However, Tynkering is what really piqued her interest in coding. Now, she’s become one of the most talked about users on our site! We’ve seen many projects commemorating her work – kids love Purpleberry’s fun, beautifully animated projects. As her dad John said, “She has an amazing imagination, you see it popping up in her projects!” We had the chance to speak with Sophie and ask her about her amazing projects.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be so many things! I want to be an animal rescuer, an author, and maybe at some point some sort of programmer! I really don’t know which way to go because I love all of those.
What’s your favorite subject in school? Well, for one I really don’t like gym, so that’s not my favorite, just to get that clear! I like science, it’s fun. I would’ve liked Language Arts but what I was learning this year wasn’t that fun. I like math, too – I don’t really have too much of a favorite subject!
Why do you like to code? Creativity! I don’t know what to do with all my ideas except write them in stories, but it makes them even more real if you code it.
What are you planning to make next? I’m not sure yet, but I know I’m going to have one because every day I make or work on at least one or two projects. Today I worked on some of my older projects because they needed some tweaking.
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? I have so many favorite things that I’ve made! I really like this one called Lemonade Stand. I also like the horse one, and I also like this one called Cake Bake.
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Well, first I just make sure it’s good – like if there are any bugs, I see if I know how to fix them. I just try until I get it. I just figure it out on my own and then I save it, go publish it, and see what happens!
How did you get introduced to Tynker? I was first just looking on the Google Play store on my tablet and I just found it and thought, “Why not? My dad would probably want me to try this.” I just decided to give it a try and I never uninstalled it.
How did you learn how to use Tynker? I just went on it, looked on my own, and played around with it. It took a while but I figured it out on my own – the blocks aren’t that hard to understand. I mostly really enjoy just making my own things since I have so many ideas.
What’s your favorite feature in Tynker? I love that I can do whatever I want! It’s not like, “You must do this!”
Do you ever Tynker with your friends? I just showed it to one of my friends! She helped me create a lot of the Purpleberry stuff for Minecraft, and then I showed her a lot of my coding projects.
Do you look at the Tynker community projects? Yes, I do. I look at them and I also like them just to make people feel happy, you know! I don’t usually get ideas from them because I have so many, but I just enjoy them.
How do you think learning coding now will help you in the future? No one at school knows how to do anything on the computers, including the teachers, so they always ask me. I want to continue to be that person – and make my own games!
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yes, definitely! A lot of kids might think, “No, it’s not for me” at the beginning, but if they keep going they’ll see that it’s really fun.
What advice would you give for kids starting out with Tynker? I’d tell them to experiment and just do whatever feels right!
Sophie’s dad, John, is a mathematician who has lots of experience coding himself! In fact, he tried teaching her coding a while ago but she didn’t show much interest, so he’s “really excited” that she’s enjoying coding with Tynker! According to him, “She’s in an environment where there’s lots of interest in programming, but she’s doing this really all on her own.”
John thinks Tynker “makes programming accessible to someone her age, to an eleven-year-old, so I’m really excited that she’s doing this. It gives kids exposure to coding, so maybe in the future, we won’t have to outsource everything. They can contribute to the technical world.”
When asked how coding benefits Sophie, he said, “I think it’s certainly helping her with perseverance. That’s a problem for kids – I often find they give up too easily.” He noted that “she’s able to debug her programs” without his help, and loves that “she’s learning to solve problems, to let some of this creativity out, and turn it into a project to show people.”
We love that Sophie has been able to channel her math, writing, and problem-solving skills into fantastic coding projects, and can’t wait to see how she uses her perseverance and boundless creativity to create more!