SEATTLE - Some of Lake City's newest computer programmers are starting early ... really early.
A group of Olympic Hills Elementary students are in the middle of a 4-day coding camp this week where they're learning how to make video games. Eric Fredrickson, who founded Creative Coding for Kids, said an important component is having a mix of half boys, half girls in the class.
"It's really important to teach them young before society puts too many pressures upon them and imposes these gender roles," Fredrickson said. "The important thing is if you're a young kid and you have established your relationship with technology at a young age then you feel empowered in a way that you wouldn't if you didn't know how to code."
That is important, too, for one of the people who made the free camp possible. Katherine Hitchcock, a retired computer programmer, is sponsoring the cost of the teachers. Hitchcock obtained a degree in mathematics from the University of Washington and had a successful career at IBM. From 1965 until 2001, she excelled in a male-dominated field. She's written a book called Atypical Girl Geek.
"Knowing that you can do it and knowing at an early age that you can do it and you're not afraid of it is I think really important," Hitchcock said.
To help them along the way the students will get their own computers at the end of the camp thanks to the generosity of others.
"We're living in the computer age and we're all going to have to interact with technology no matter what kind of career we have," Fredrickson said. "The important thing is if you're a young kid and you have established your relationship with technology at a young age then you feel empowered in a way that you wouldn't if you didn't know how to code."
Nine-year-old Alexandria Oropeza, felt like she will put that knowledge to use.
"Now I can make my own and other people can play my games instead of me playing their game," she said.