A New Professional Endeavor: Coding with Kids

Back in October, I left Microsoft after 3 years as a PM in the Office organization. I learned a lot in my time at Microsoft, and they were very good to me. However, I spent a lot of time in 2014 taking stock of my life, career, and goals and had realized that it was time to look for something new. I had these vague notions that I wanted to work closer to the education field, and perhaps with a smaller team, but I wasn’t sure what that meant. I worked with my managers to arrange a (hopefully) smooth, orderly hand-off over the course of a month.

I left Microsoft without a job offer in hand, prepared to take a few months off to wander in the desert. I planned to recharge my batteries by cooking, reading, writing, teaching, and thinking a lot about who I wanted to be for the next two to five years. During this time, a friend of mine who knew I was interested in teaching introduced me to Marek Brejl, founder of Coding with Kids. As I got to know Marek and learned more about the business, we realized there was a good opportunity for me on the team. I’m excited to say I am joining the team at Coding with Kids as a Program Manager.  It’s a startup, so I will be wearing a lot of hats, but my responsibilities will primarily consist of teaching, curriculum development, and program/project/product management for the business.

Coding with Kids is a fast-growing company that runs programming classes (in Scratch) for elementary school aged children. As I’ve mentioned in person and in writing many times, CS Education is something I’m truly passionate about. I think exposure to the fundamental concepts of computing at an early age can have huge benefits for children as they grow up – even the kids who don’t want to go into computer science. It’s an opportunity for them to learn another way to think about problem solving, it gives them another set of tools for their toolbelt, and it’s a chance for them to be creators and inventors. There is a real dearth of opportunities for kids to get involved in programming unless they have computer-savvy parents, and Coding with Kids provides a great remedy to that problem.

On a related note, if you are a parent of a K-8th grader in the Puget Sound area, and you think your kiddo might be interested in learning about computing (and building some cool projects), consider checking out Coding with Kids, and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions at all about the program!

 

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