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March 29, 2020

CoderDojo youth program returns to Gonzales

Program prepares students for future careers

GONZALES — CoderDojo is coming to Gonzales starting Feb. 22 in a program that runs for six Saturdays.

There is no maximum capacity and no minimum computer skill required to sign up, with classes free for students ages 8 to 17, due to Innovation Award funds. Students will be able to gain knowledge of reading and writing code, as well as how to problem solve.

“We live in the backyard of Silicon Valley and we believe coding should be accessible to all students, for they can have the same opportunities as students who have coding integrated in their schools,” said Samuel Valdez, CoderDojo program specialist.

The coding languages taught will have an internet focus, such as PHP and JAVA, which enable easier displaying of a final project.

“You can take your project and showcase it to anyone with no programming experience and they can quickly make out what you did,” Valdez explained. “We also try to mix up the programming languages for each site that way returning students get to learn different languages.”

CoderDojo is aimed at increasing student skills to lead them on a path toward technology jobs, such as web developer and app developer. But there is awareness that our society is becoming increasingly technological.

“More and more jobs that are non-technical are now shifting their efforts to use more technology,” Valdez said. “Wherever you see a job, there might be computer science solution for it.”

Coding and problem solving will be emphasized, and by the end of the program, students will be able to present their projects to family and friends and possibly spark further curiosity in technological learning, according to Valdez.

“Once they have those foundational skills they can apply and translate them to many other languages,” Valdez said.

He added the final project for the session is planned to be for students to build a store webpage.

“They will get to build a marketplace that is similar to Amazon, which is still really cool,” Valdez said.

The program is open to everyone, no matter their skill level, as the program supervisors know there are few computer-coding resources available to students in South Monterey County.

“Our aim is to normalize programming languages like if it were another subject,” Valdez said. “That way the student sees it throughout their student life and it might branch an idea of going to college to pursue a degree in computer science. Schools introduce math at a young age with the similar intent, why not coding?”

CoderDojo has been offered in the past, but has been on hiatus for a few years, according to Valdez.

“We recently brought it back last fall and want to continue serving Gonzales,” he said. “The turnout last year was huge due to Soledad students attending the Gonzales site and hopefully we can continue the trend. There are a lot of seats still open and we want more students to get registered.”

For more information, contact Valdez at [email protected] or 831-759-6079.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler, Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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