Am I too young?

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I m currently 13 and I just recently have gotten EXTREAMLY interested in computer programming I used to do some coding in school but it didn t really do much as my teacher was no expert, and I wish to seek a future career as a US Army cyber officer. But I have a problem I don t have anything to practice on we have

I m currently 13 and I just recently have gotten EXTREAMLY interested in computer programming I used to do some coding in school but it didn t really do much as my teacher was no expert, and I wish to seek a future career as a US Army cyber officer. But I have a problem I don t have anything to practice on we have a desktop but I m not aloud to download anything (regardless if it s free or payed) so I was thinking that possibly asking for a cheap laptop might be a good idea for strictly coding and basic web searches for future help on my journey. Is there any parents out there that think that I m possibly to young or foolish to ask for such a device. Sorry if it sounds like I m rambling on I m just quite anxious of the thought of me doing something that I actually enjoy. Thanks in advance

Best Answer:

jonathan: I started programming at age 10. So I don't think you are too young.
If you have any office parks nearby, call any company and ask to speak with the manager of desktop support. Explain your situation to him or her and ask them if they have any surpluss laptops they might be willing to give you. I would that it wouldn't take long to find someone who would give you one.
My nephew was taking a networking class his sophomore year of high school. He called around to several IT departments that were nearby and asked if they had any surplus routers, switches or firewalls he could have so he could build a lab to study for his Cisco certs. He was given a more stuff than he knew what to do with.
A lot of these companies have pallets of old equipment waiting to be picked up.by a recycling ccompany or donate to some charity that will either use or sell the stuff.
I used to handle surplus for the IT department at a power company and I would have been excited to help out someone like you.

Other answer:

jonathan:
Having a laptop is a good idea IF you can afford it. You should expect to use it in a "public" area of the house so your parents can see what you are doing. You should never use it for anything that you don't want them to see.

Meanwhile, I learned to program when I was 20, and I was working as a programmer 2 years later. I had a college degree. I did NOT have a computer at home — no one did. This was 40 years ago. I could only access a computer when I was enrolled in a computer class at school.

Employers are NOT looking for people who are obsessed. Learning how to program is fine, but you need to focus on getting good grades in ALL your subjects in high school and then getting into a good college. Employers want people with degrees.

When you are 16 or 17, get a summer job at a fast-food restaurant, or another typical job for a teenager. Employers want to see that you know what it means to work. It doesn't have to be computer related.

By the way, you said YOU are not allowed to download anything. Will your parents download something FOR you?

I mean, I can understand a parent not allowing a 13-year-old to download it himself. But is there a different issue — that there is not enough space on the desktop?

Here's a lesson for you. Don't just say something like you aren't allowed to do it. Explain WHY. Sometimes there are ways to fix things if we understand the details.

Computer programming is not about coding. It is about solving problems. You can't solve a problem without details.

However, a 13-year-old has limited problem-solving abilities — usually. There are still a lot of things you need to learn in terms of math that you won't learn for a couple of years. So, that limits the types of projects that can be given to someone your age.

Some programming can be done without downloading anything. You can write programs using ideone.com, but there are limits of what can be done there.

Unconventional Social Critic:
Interest goes a long way, because the more obsessed you become with an interest, the more skills are obtained. Employers search for these kinds of attributes in a person. While starting at a young at is a good idea – the question remains as to whether you will still find programming interesting in the near future.

What type of programming are you most attracted to? Working in the web development field requires knowledge of scripted/markup languages such as Javascript, CSS, HTML, PHP etc. Then there is software development working with compiled languages such as C, C++, Java, etc.

Undisclosed:
I actually got my kid his computer at 8 years old because he was already scripting. Never too young to learn to program…well except babies.

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