Thank you to Mediacorp’s Channel NewsAsia (CNA) and Channel 8 for featuring Coding Lab on the news! Aired in both English and Mandarin respectively, we are honoured to have been a part of this segment on nurturing future leaders in technology in Singapore.
Filmed at our cosy yet conducive campus at Parkway Parade, the feature covered how kids are learning to code at a younger age and how this very skillset will benefit them in the future.
Our Co-Founder and Community Director, Candice Wang, shared with CNA on the coding trends in Singapore, and how Coding Lab is doing our part to ensure that children learn to code.
Watch our full interview and catch Teacher Evan in action with our Young Computer Scientists, where our students Ages 7 to 9 were exploring Music through Coding in class!
We’re excited to spread the joy of coding and to be able to share our story in the mainstream media. We look forward to more opportunities like this in the future!
Our superstar coder and University of Texas (Austin) scholarship recipient, Sarah Go, is also featured! She talks about her experience as a female in STEM and how her parents and environment has helped her to excel. Read her blog features here and here.
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This year’s bumper crop of medallists includes 1 Silver and 7 Bronze winners who are between 13 and 17 years old! Our winning students have been learning C++ and growing with us after being spotted in their Python classes for their programming prowesses. It is truly a great sight to see them flourish and become phenomenal medallists!
NOI spots are reserved for every school’s top students to participate, so only few can represent their school, and only the best can attain medals in the Olympiad. We’re even more proud of the fact that many of our medallists came to us as complete beginners in programming (some started at the age of 10!), and were carefully nurtured in our classes right under the noses of our eagle-eyed tutors to achieve their results. Well done!
Presenting to you Coding Lab’s 23rd NOI medallists:
Vayun Mathur, 15
Kushaan Mishra, 17
Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
James Pearman, 14
Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
Caleb Chia, 13
Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
David Walton, 15
Faiz Ali Shoaib, 17
Bobis Franc Ivan Lorenzo, 16
Elijah Yong, 14
Vayun Mathur, 15
Singapore American School
The Olympiad is one of Computing’s biggest annual competitions in Singapore and the Silver Medal is awarded to the top 20% of participants. We’re so proud of our young innovator for being 1 of the 32 Silver Medallists this year! An Olympiad medal is highly recognised for admissions to top universities around the world. During the competition, contestants are given five hours to work out solutions to algorithmic tasks. This does not only require skills such as programming and testing, but also Mathematics and in-depth knowledge of designing algorithms, data structures and information theory.
Our bright student Vayun has been in the news before, with features on Google and international news network CGTN. He has performed well once again and we congratulate Vayun on getting the Silver Medal!
Coding Lab’s Bronze Medallists made up 7 of the 49 Bronze Medallists in this year’s NOI. As one of the most prestigious computer science competitions, it’s not an easy feat to attain medals and our 3 students did Coding Lab and their schools proud when they emerged as bronze medallists on their first attempts! Our youngest medallist, Caleb Chia (just 13 years old!), has been with us since he was in primary school and we’re proud of his growth! All participants had to undergo a Preliminary Round to qualify for the NOI. Despite being new to the competition, our students ranked well and went on to clinch medals at the NOI.
We are proud of our students’ remarkable achievements and commend their hard work to overcome the odds, especially during this pandemic. A round of applause for Kushaan, James and Caleb!
4 Bronze Medallists
David Walton, 15
United World College SEA Dover Campus
Faiz Ali Shoaib, 17
United World College SEA Dover Campus
Elijah Yong, 14
Anglo-Chinese School Independent
Bobis Franc Ivan Lorenzo, 16
Gan Eng Seng School
These 4 students were able to pit their computing skills against talented coders from more than 30 other schools and gain invaluable experiences in the Olympiad. Their consistent effort and hard work paid off as they took on programming tasks and made their mark at the reputable NOI.
This year’s medallists include Elijah Yong, who was awarded Youngest Medallist in last year’s NOI. The 14-year-old has been with us since he was a Primary Five student, when we spotted his potential and invited him to join our NOI programme. The Coding Lab team is proud to have seen him grow over the years into a confident teenager with medals under his belt and we commend him for his consistent hard work!
The Coding Lab team is proud of our students for clinching the Bronze Medals, and we celebrate their achievements. Great job David, Faiz, Bobis and Elijah!
Congratulations to our outstanding students! We’re proud of our 8 students for coding their way to the top with their tenacity and hours of training, even overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic. They had been training once a week since the beginning of the year to prepare for the NOI and it was heartening to see their hard work pay off! We also thank Coach Guangxuan for his dedication, training and guidance of our students.
In this exclusive interview with the founders of Coding Lab, Yong Ning Foo and Candice Wang share some insights on how Coding Lab coped with the Covid-19 pandemic and some words of encouragement for the Coding Lab community!
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Coding Lab had to go through several changes, one of it being the transition to 100% online classes throughout the circuit breaker. The strong online learning system that we have built and tested (since 2019) enabled us to continue having fun and enjoyable classes for our students.
Let’s hear from our dear founders as they shed light on how they managed Coding Lab during these extraordinary times. May we never be deterred from the challenges that lie ahead and keep on persevering to face them head-on!
Here’s what Candice had to say!
1. Hi Candice, how has Covid-19 changed things for you? Was it for the better, or for the worse?
Covid-19 is unprecedented and like the rest of the world, we had to adapt to it quickly.
Personally, I appreciate the time I got to spend with my family as well as managing the shift from offline to 100% online classes not only at Coding Lab, but also for my kids’ enrichment lessons. My 7-year-old attended our own online Coding Classes during this period, and was able to figure out how to use the different functions of Zoom. To my surprise, not only could she do that, but she was also able to confidently navigate her school’s Home-Based Learning exercises entirely on her own even though there were close to 8 different portals.
If anything, we shouldn’t underestimate kids.
They are more capable than we think they are. This is evident in the joy my daughter derived from changing her user ID or private messaging her teachers on Zoom and arranging online meet-ups with her friends. It is a lifelong skill that she can now take with her.
2. Everyone has had to work from home due to the circuit breaker. What has been done to maintain a strong company culture?
The Coding Lab team were all involved in this one way or another. If you look at the event credits, you will realise that not only the Educators, but also the Marketing, Admin and Enrolment teams all came together to make it happen. The teamwork was truly amazing!
We also organised a couple of group workout sessions so that everybody could stretch their legs and keep fit at home. We even recorded a song and dance together! Sure… we missed our regular lunches and snack time, and birthday celebrations had to be done via Zoom and home deliveries, but hey! It was the new norm and we embraced it wholeheartedly.
The most important thing was that everybody was safe.
3. What is your most valuable takeaway from this experience?
“When life throws you curveballs, we will emerge stronger and be thankful for the small things in life.”
Having the team stay healthy and protected at home while adapting our processes to ensure the safety of everyone involved was critical, and taught us a lot about adapting quickly.
We also found our own special ways to continually engage our students; whether it was via regular WhatsApp chats to follow-up with them or a competition where they could express their ideas on solving Covid-19 related issues, we stayed connected.
Here’s what Yong Ning shared with us!
1. Hi Yong Ning, how did you handle the challenges faced due to the Covid-19 restrictions?
We have been planning for this for quite some time, since January this year. It also helped that we had run online workshops for the region before, so the process was relatively smooth.
2. What were the measures that Coding Lab had to take due to Covid-19?
The evolution of our processes started with Hybrid classes where we had a mixture of physical and online students (before circuit breaker), followed by 100% online (during circuit breaker), and now, a mixture again in Phase 2.
Prior to that, we had invested in video-conferencing platforms, online practising systems, digital writing pads and other tools to make live teaching fun and easier for both our tutors and students.
“We spared no effort to build a strong and solid support system that provided our students with the avenue to give their feedback or review course material as often as they wanted.”
3. What are some of the significant changes that will be done to come back from this better and stronger?
We also understand that many parents and students enjoyed the classes very much and have requested for their child to continue their lessons online. We are excited and happy to announce that we will be launching Coding Lab Online (Permanent) classes*.
*for selected modules only
4. What is your most valuable takeaway from this experience?
“Be prepared, plan ahead, and have a strong team to support and execute decisions quickly. “
All of these are critical in ensuring that the experience of our students remains consistent and of a high standard.
5. Do share with us a few words of advice/final message for the Coding Lab community!
Thank you for your support throughout this period. It means a lot to all of us. We hope you will enjoy using the materials and systems we have built and we look forward to welcoming you back, be it online or physically. Thank you!
Due to the rise of the digital economy , the demand for tech jobs has increased tremendously. Among those in demand are programmers – but what exactly are the starting salaries of programmers, and how do they compare to those of other professions?
If you’re interested in pursuing programming in the exciting field of technology and wondering how it would fare for you, you’re in luck! We’ve done the research and here’s all you need to know about the starting salaries of programmers in Singapore (based on recent years).
We’ve also thrown in a few career tips for you budding programmers, so keep reading to find out!
In recent years, companies have been restructuring efforts in an increasingly digitalised economy. This has resulted in workers with tech skills being the most in demand  – particularly workers with the knowledge of programming languages, data science, AI and machine learning expertise.
The latest graduate employment survey released by the Ministry of Education (MOE)  – showed that students in the information and digital technologies sector posted one of the highest rates for full-time jobs and median gross monthly salaries in 2019.
Those in courses such as computer science, information security and software engineering cinched one of the highest median gross monthly pays of $4,400, with Engineering and Health Sciences following closely behind with the median gross monthly salaries of $3,750 and $3,500 respectively.
The figures reflect the high demand for IT savvy graduates as companies hope to use technology as a competitive edge  by digitalising their processes.
Distinguished billionaires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg started coding at the tender ages of 13 and 10 respectively – so never think that you’re too young to start! MOE schools have even rolled out a compulsory 10-hour coding enrichment program for all upper primary students with effect from this year but in today’s day and age, we all know that it is still not enough.
Today’s technology has brought us far – classes can even be conducted online! So how do you know if your kid has the chops for programming? Here are some tips (Budding Teen Coders – this is for YOU!) if you are planning to get started or have already gotten into the thick of coding:
5 tips for budding programmers:
1. Build a strong foundation in logical thinking
You learn to walk before you run, so learn to master the basics first! With a strong foundation, mistakes such as writing more code than necessary or finding code solutions that are not optimal can be avoided. Focus on mastering logic and your computational thinking concepts to build a solid foundation. Python’s a good one to start off with. After that, it’s just a matter of getting used to the syntax of the different programming languages – Building a 3D Game? Designing your own Stock Rating Algorithm? Building your own Web App? The sky’s the limit!
2. Work hard, work smart
The more practice you have under your belt, the better. Participate in competitions, get involved with different projects, or even volunteer for a local non-profit organization to write software or teach coding to kids. Be prepared to be amazed with what you will learn. You’ll not only gain exposure, but also get to build soft skills and gain a sense of accomplishment.
3. Never Give Up!
There will be times where you’ll feel frustrated when trying to solve a problem in your code – and that’s totally normal! The key thing is to never shut off when you experience such setbacks. Error messages in your code are not messages that you’re bad at coding, it’s telling you the code just isn’t working in the way that you thought it would. It’s fine – chances are, you’re closer to finding a solution than you were before.
4. Optimise code efficiency – Be a perfectionist
Everytime you learn something new, work on your efficiency. Don’t approach your code the same way with the newfound knowledge that you gain – use shortcuts and make yourself a cheat sheet so as to save time and energy. It’s also really important to take breaks every once in a while so that you’re constantly refreshed to do your assignments!
At Coding Lab, we enforce a 5 minute eye break for every hour of coding that our students get to safeguard their eye health and to also inculcate good habits from young. It also helps to keep our students energised during our lessons!
5. What can I do better?
Never be satisfied with what you have done. Always ask yourself: “What can be done better?” – There is always something that can be improved. Continuous improvement is a key trademark of a good programmer.
Bought the expansion pack for League of Legends yet? Who doesn’t love the refreshed look of your phone or your laptop after installing an upgrade for iOs, Android or Windows? These updates are important and beneficial in strengthening your cyber security through processes such as the removal of bugs and outdated features as well as the addition of feature enhancements to your devices.
“Good specifications will always improve programmer productivity far better than any programming tool or technique.” – Milt Bryce
Put out questions, search for solutions and learn from the Internet. Code can always be shortened. Code can always be more optimised. And the beauty is in the final product and the work that you have done with your two hands at the keyboard, day and night.
And of course, our reliable tutors at Coding Lab are always dedicated to helping students learn coding in the best possible way – we infuse our students with enthusiasm and help to create the best learning environment for you to comfortably learn in. Make sure to check out our classes here.
With the knowledge of starting salaries of programmers and these awesome career tips, we hope that these would motivate you in learning more and increase your passion for coding! After all, it’s our job to nurture future leaders in technology.
On 9th November, Tiny Thinkers was invited to celebrate the 15th anniversary of NLB’s kidsREAD programme. Tiny Thinkers had a booth for children to kickstart their Computational Thinking journey with our Junior Computational Thinking kit. The kit, developed by Tiny Thinkers and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), allows children to plan a character’s story and also included hands-on activities for parents to complete with their children at home.
Thank you to President Halimah Yacob, Mr S Iswaran (Minister for Communications and Information), and Ms Low Tze Hui, for stopping by our booth to find out more about Tiny Thinkers and our goals for the children of Singapore!
Tiny Thinkers is proud to have been able to collaborate with NLB to reach out to more parents about the importance of Computational Thinking in today’s digital economy. This is especially relevant as this year’s kidsREAD programme was focused on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.
Throughout the year, we worked closely with NLB to hold free one-hour workshops titled ‘Tiny Thinkers On The Go’ at Tampines and Jurong Regional Libraries, where our Junior Computational Thinking kits were also distributed. We hope that participants of all our Tiny Thinkers events enjoyed completing the kit activities and that this jumpstarts their interests in computational thinking!
We also want to thank our Amazon Web Services volunteers who helped us to guide the children and spread the word about computational thinking among the event’s participants! We couldn’t have reached out to as many people without their assistance, persistence and love.
Tiny Thinkers will also continue to collaborate with NLB next year, where free Junior Computational Thinking Kits will be given out to 3,500 participants of the kidsREAD programme to equip them with the tools to be digitally-ready.
If you weren’t able to get a kit this year, fret not! We know that as parents, we all want to give our children a headstart in this digital age. Do keep a lookout on our Tiny Thinkers page (or Facebook page) for updates on what we’re doing and on our future events!
2020 definitely looks like an exciting year ahead for our Tiny Thinkers!
About kidsREAD A nationwide reading programme launched in 2004, it encourages positive attitudes towards reading and aims to inculcate good reading habits among young Singaporeans of all races, and especially those from low-income families.
Coding Lab was invited to be a part of Project We Care Garden Party at the Istana on 1st September 2019. Our founders and volunteer tutors were on-hand and eager to impart their coding knowledge to people of all ages at the booth.
The bi-annual social wellness event by the People’s Association reached out to 1,500 beneficiaries from low-income families, the less privileged children, and the elderly. Visitors to Coding Lab’s booth were treated to a programming feast as they got to code Photon robots to ‘eat’ mooncakes, ketupats, putu mayams and cupcakes (Each delicacy representing one of the major ethnic groups in Singapore!).
Coding Lab has been working to bring programming to communities as part of this initiative. Our volunteers have taught Python to youths and conducted workshops on app usage for the elderly. We are proud to do our part in spreading digital literacy in Singapore.
It’s Coding Lab’s honour to be a part of Project We Care Garden Party at the Istana, where we were able to showcase and share with others the joy of coding and programming. Thank you to the People’s Association for giving us the opportunity to participate in this meaningful initiative to give back to the community – we can’t wait for our next corporate social responsibility event!
About Project We Care
Started in 2012 by People’s Association, the project aims to rally businesses to contribute to meaningful causes in the community and to encourage volunteerism. The bi-annual Garden Party @ Istana partners with corporations to bring joy to beneficiaries through fun and engaging activities.
To find out more about Project We Care, click here.
Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers were at the inaugural Smart Nation & U event on 30th November and 1st December to spread the coding word to families through fun. If you weren’t there, here’s the rundown on the things that happened!
On the other hand, Tiny Thinkers held free Tiny Thinkers On The Go workshops that distributed free Junior Computational Thinking kits for exciting parent-child activities.
We would like to thank our participants for joining us at our workshops, as well as the Smart Nation Ambassadors who were on-hand and actively facilitated learning among parents and children!
Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers are pleased to work with Smart Nation Singapore once again at the Smart Nation & U event, to move towards the goal of Singapore becoming a world-class city with a leading economy powered by digital innovation. We look forward to the next time that we get to join forces again!
About Smart Nation Singapore It is a nationwide initiative by the Singapore Government to harness the power of technology to build a Digital Economy, Digital Government and Digital Society. It was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2014, who described the goal and future of this nation-building initiative as a Singapore “where we can create possibilities for ourselves beyond what we imagined possible”.
Remember Tiny Thinkers and their creative, fun ways to integrate computational thinking into your child’s everyday lives? Well good news, they’re back stronger than ever with new and improved activities rolled out – Now extending their outreach not just to parents, but also formal early childhood institutions island-wide, with over 3,500 kits!
Early last month, the Tiny Thinkers team was invited down to the annual Early Childhood Conference (ECC)2019 to share about the importance of computational thinking at the pre-school level. Amongst an array of activities at the ECC exhibition fair, Tiny Thinkers also conducted workshops for mums and dads to try out their exciting games with their children.
During the first half of the conference, IMDA Deputy Director Foo Hui Hui shared with early childhood educators on how preschools could step up and prepare young children to be future-ready with the award-winning Play Maker programme.
IMDA Deputy Director Hui Hui demonstrating one of their educational games
Coding Lab, the team behind Tiny Thinkers, then followed up with an informational sharing on the importance of computational thinking in today’s tech-led economy and how to kickstart its development within the comforts of the home in a simple, fun manner.
Coding Lab Co-founder Candice Wang also highlighted the shift in our economy towards one that is driven by Artificial Intelligence (A.I), algorithms and automation, urging educators and parents alike to start to prepare themselves from an early age.
Coding Lab co-Founder Candice Wang stressing the importance of starting young
She then went to share some market research findings, which illustrated that whilst more than 60% of the parents surveyed acknowledged the importance of learning coding, an alarming 95% do not have the knowledge or expertise to impart computational thinking skills to their children.
Candice then debunked the elusiveness of computational thinking with two simple ways to guide young learners aged 4 to 7 – through every-day activities (eg. Packing your schoolbag) that require little or no cost, and through the Tiny Thinkers Take Home Activity Kit.
Armed with the expertise of our tutors and Skool4Kidz on one hand and generous support from IMDA, Our SG Fund, Nexus, and Amazon on the other, Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers is pleased to present new games such as Solve the Puzzle (Pattern Recognition), Build a House (Abstraction) and a full-fledged board-game (Keeping Singapore Strong) in their well-received Take Home Activity Kit.
Educators trying out the Tiny Thinkers activities
On the 2nd day of the ECC exhibition, the Tiny Thinkers team carried out a series of workshops for parents to try out 3 of their games (Robotibby, Solve The Puzzle, Build a House) and take home the Activity Kit for free!
Thinzar, the Head of Tiny Thinkers sharing about the importance of Computational Thinking
Kids figuring out how to bring Tibby to the banana
Putting their pattern recognition skills to the test
Building houses with shapes
So exciting, don’t you think? We at the Coding Lab, Tiny Thinkers, educators, parents and children alike all had so much fun! Stay tuned for more goodies and future workshops held by Tiny Thinkers by following them here.
Congratulations to our students for achieving the Best Coding Award at the Microsoft National Minecraft Cup 2019 in Tokyo, Japan!
Their winning project CodeTropolis, was selected out of more than 130 participating entries.
The transnational team consisted of students from Coding Lab Japan and Coding Lab Singapore, with classes conducted by Coding Lab Japan’s Director of Education, who taught Singapore students via a series of webcam sessions – harnessing the marvels of today’s technology.
Our students in Singapore have showcased tremendous growth —coding skills, teamwork, creativity— over the course of our transnational Preparatory Classes with so many takeaways including a broader horizon, as well as the friendships formed with their teammates from Coding Lab Japan.
What a great result for all the hard work put in by the students, tutors and everyone from the team, shining bright on the global stage!
“You can do anything you set your mind to.” – Benjamin Franklin
About the Minecraft Cup 2019 National Tournament
Children living in the 21st century need to acquire the skills necessary to live in uncertain times, such as problem-solving skills and collaboration. In Japan, programming education has become compulsory at elementary schools since 2020. This competition aims to foster programming thinking through programming experiences, and an attitude to create better society by utilising the work of computers and software to find and solve familiar problems.
The theme is “I and my town with sports facilities”, which aligns with Japan hosting international sports events such as the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 the Tokyo Olympic Paralympic Games.
The competition is jointly organised by the secretariat ICT CONNECT 21, Universal Awareness Center, and Microsoft Japan.
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