There She Goes Again: Talking to a Coder

“When you have time, take a break. Can I interview you for another article?”

She shrugs. “My eyes are tired and I’m hungry. Now is good.”

We sit down, she stuffs Ritz crackers in her face, and I start recording.

I asked my daughter to tell me how her college classes were going, what she’s learning. I try to listen carefully to all the words she’s using. It’s difficult because she’s speaking fast and her world, every interest, is completely foreign to me. But she loves what she’s learning, evident in her sparkle as she continues spewing computer jargon at lightning speed, so I try. I ask her to explain a few terms, how they relate, how they’re different. I ask because I love her and this computer stuff matters to her.

Her alter ego is a competitive ballroom dancer. When she dances the rhumba her steps are precise but her face lacks the passion of the dance. Imagine your partner is the ultimate computer set-up or system. Make your rhumba face now,” I suggested. “Oh, I can do that!” She gushed and her rhumba became a little more convincing.

In addition to her online college classes, Mulan has managed to complete a 300-hour responsive web certification course, a project management course, and a cross-platform development tools course. For fun, she’s playing around with Photoshop and Blender, a computer animation program.

She crunches crackers and chatters on. Questions about each computer term want to burst out but I only voice a few so she doesn’t get frustrated explaining every single letter of her software development alphabet. Hopefully, I can absorb enough to be childishly fluent. It worked when my husband jabbered on about basketball. It matters to them so a naturally curious wife and mom learns some of the lingo.

The goal of the interview is to share the computer science learning opportunities available to the inquisitive, focused, independent mind, for free, outside of college or any formal learning environment. My kid is taking advantage of resources available to anyone with computer access and an internet connection.

Doing so has fueled her passion and grows her hunger for more. As a result, she used her mostly free online education to qualify for a remote web developer job before she finishes college.

I am proud of her and the example she sets creating Possibilities out of her love for learning. This opportunity exists for anyone who wants it and I’d love to share more with you.

My write-up of Mulan’s interview is here.

Your Turn

When is the last time you told someone you were proud of them?

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