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After School Program in Brea

Learning Computer Science in the Most Rewarding Way

January 4, 2018

Anyone looking to delve deep into the world of computer science (also known as “coding”) must go beyond the text. While coding sounds less intimidating than its actual title, it should be noted that the subject involves much more than just typing lines of code. A software’s development can usually be broken down into three main stages: planning, coding, and implementing. Each stage can be difficult on its own but it’s possible to replicate these in a way that anyone can do it. Younger students, in particular, can get caught up in the glamour of coding. Therefore, we tackle it with the most complete and rewarding course possible. Instead of strictly syntax-based lessons, we will break down the course into three sections mirroring an actual software project.

The first stage is called Block Programming. It is an introduction to the concept of the logic that governs most of computer science. Usually catered to younger students, this fun and easy way of programming allows anyone to perform complex tasks usually reserved to more advanced languages. Almost all block programming environments utilize easy to understand inter-faces with drag and drop simplicity—perfect for anyone seeking a good introduction to the craft. Google’s Blockly is the perfect tool to learn essentials of programming. It is a “web-based” compiler that allows you to make programs with many different types of code with having the need for prior experience. Block programming simplicity is the key for beginners but a student must go beyond the planning stage at some point.

The second stage involves writing the actual syntax or lines of code. Students at this point have experienced how a typical program might flow. A sense of direction and eagerness to plan are crucial for making proper decisions when it finally comes to typing pages of code. They will learn the specific texts, syntax, and proper formatting of a programming language. Although it might look intimidating at first, the skills they’ve learned from the planning stage will shine through and with more practice, they can take on more complex tasks such as databases. Majority of their programs will exist in what we call a console, where their clients do most of the interactions. Eventually, with proper guidance, they’ll be able to skip the planning stage and go straight to the syntax and make more robust programs. Basic calculators, text entries, and even simple computer games are now possible. Text-based software are still common in some applications, however, most modern softwares must include a graphical user interface or G.U.I. (sometimes pronounced “gooey”) to take it to the next level.

Once a student completes the necessary practices and gets more comfortable with programming, the next step would be to take their programs to a special client called Tkinter. Tkinter is a wonderful tool to create and package simple software complete with a graphical layout of their choice. They’ll able to add a console, buttons, and even a simple menu system to further improve their program’s usability. Seeing all stages of software development is perhaps the most important turning point of any aspiring software engineer or programmer.

The experience builds the necessary confidence and outlook for the future. It is easy to get caught up with writing code without actually knowing what one is doing it for. Exposure to all stages prevents any student, especially the young ones, from getting lost in the process. Awareness of the goal at every stage can only be achieved if they’ve seen it all. Practice, patience, and perseverance can take anybody a long way but without the proper guidance, they will surely get discouraged. Coding is easy but programming with an intent is hard. If one plans, implements, and polishes a program, their software always ends as a final and deployable product.        

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Optimus Learning School is a tutoring center in Brea serving Fullerton, Placentia, and Yorba Linda. Since 2008, we have been helping students from kindergarten through high school achieve their academic goals through our various programs such as our home school, after school program, homework help, and private tutoring. We also offer seasonal programs, such as our popular summer camp and virtual summer camp, as well as many enrichment classes year-round, such as coding, STEM, piano, violin, art, Chinese, and Korean which will help shape creative and well-rounded students. Are you ready to kickstart your child’s education? Send an inquiry form or contact us today!