Meet 13-year-old Ziv. A creative and fast learner, he picked up coding when he was 11 and hasn’t looked back since. He was part of a team that won the code::XtremeApps:: (CXA) 2019 Hackathon (Junior Category) by IMDA and was in the Top 10 Finalists of the Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020.

Photo of Ziv with a sunset
A boy with geeky humour, the Yew Tee Primary School alumnus is now learning as much as he can about Python before proceeding to Java and C++ coding. Photo courtesy of Ziv.

Hi Ziv, how did you get started on coding?

Mum felt that I spent too much time on computer games, so she signed me up for classes and later realised that I have a flair for coding. I truly enjoy my lessons at Coding Lab and have since developed a passion for programming, aspiring to use my skills as a Game Developer or White Hat Hacker.

Ziv’s Mother added, “Frankly speaking, Ziv naturally fits into coding as he is good in Math and Science. He is now focused on his journey to becoming a Game Developer or White Hat Hacker, and I’m glad I made the correct choice when he was in P5.”

Note: White Hat Hackers are ethical hackers, using their skills for security to protect against threats or other hackers.

“Coding can be hard. … You should also commit your free time for coding so as to improve. Most importantly, you need to have a passion for programming.”

What do you like most about coding? Why?

What I like most is that I can do anything limited by only my imagination and knowledge. This means that I can do whatever I want, I can also do things that are impossible in the real world. So far, my experience at Coding Lab has been good. I learnt a lot of things on Scratch, MIT App Inventor, Micro:Bit and Python thanks to my mentors.

I am now learning Python, which is a big jump from all the other coding languages I’ve used. Simply because I have to type out all the codes instead of using blocks. Just an additional bracket could lead to a big error. Despite the big jump, I am able to learn most of the things thanks to the teachers’ guidance.

Ziv’s team, Eagle Eye, receiving their award. Photo from CodeXtremeApps.

How did your Coding Lab mentors guide you for CXA 2019? What are your key takeaways from the competition?

We encountered a lot of problems, but thankfully, we were able to debug it. By applying what our Coding Lab mentors had guided us to do in our regular classes, we managed to overcome the glitches we faced. Most importantly I had lots of fun participating with the team!

What advice would you give to young coders who are new to programming?

Coding can be hard. You will learn how to debug and think logically. If you encounter problems, you should ask the teacher for help. You should also commit your free time for coding so as to improve. Most importantly, you need to have a passion for programming.

Ziv presenting his team's game to the judges at the CXA 2019
Ziv presenting his team’s game to the judges at the CXA 2019.

Ziv Lim, 13, is a Secondary One student at Zhonghua Secondary School. He started off with our Scratch 1 class in 2018, has since completed our ScratchYoung Computer Scientists and MIT App Inventor classes, and is currently picking up Python.

The Champion of the CXA 2019 and Top 10 Finalist of the Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020 is constantly seeking improvement with the goal of becoming a Game Developer or White Hat Hacker. His enthusiasm for coding is evident, going beyond what is taught in class, and continuously demonstrating his creativity and ability to think on his feet. We’re glad that such a bright young student like Ziv began his coding journey with us at Coding Lab!

Meet Christian. At only 12 years old, he has already breezed through our roadmap and attended our Python Perfect classes (which we recommend to 13-year-olds and above), where he coded an impressive Pokémon game on his own.

His story has been featured on the Tiny Thinkers blog before, which covered how the special needs child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and gradually found his passion for programming. We talk to the young boy, who is part of Eunos Primary School’s Robotics Club and aspires to be a professional coder, as he continues his coding journey with us.

Christian's parents kick-started his interest in programming when they bought him a book titled "Adventures in Minecraft".
Christian’s parents kick-started his interest in programming when they bought him a book titled “Adventures in Minecraft”.

Hi Christian! Could you tell us about your program? 

Christian: I started it in class after I finished my Python assignment from the teacher. I would continue to work on it as a reward whenever I finished my in-class assignments early! The program is like playing the Pokémon game without the graphics, so it’s all text-based in Python.

What gave you the idea for the program?

Christian: Everyone else seemed to be coding something practical, I suppose maybe because they were older. I didn’t really know what practical stuff I could code, so I decided to do a simple Pokémon program because I was playing it quite a bit on my Nintendo Switch.

Christian-Codes-finally

What were some difficulties you faced when developing this program? 

Christian: I ran into a lot, of course. There was one when I asked to view the Pokémon in my party, and all the letters would split up. It took me a while to realise that I was missing a function. Generally, attending classes helped me to solve what I needed to know but the Coding Lab teachers also taught me what I didn’t know codes could do. They also gave me hints on what could have gone wrong with my codes, suggested more efficient ones, and even gave me ideas on how to improve my program.

“Start small, start with something you like. Keep going and don’t give up!”

Do you have any future plans for your program?

Christian: Currently, I am preparing for the dreaded PSLE. But I’m looking to add more features to my game, and to modify it to a more MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) style that I enjoy playing. It’s still not completed yet, so I just want to finish it and run it. Hopefully, after I finish my program, I can get some beta testers who can give me suggestions on how to improve.

Christian, 12, spends most of his free time on the computer or reading on Kindle.
Christian, 12, spends most of his free time on the computer or reading on Kindle.

What advice would you give to young coders who are new to coding?

Christian: Start small, start with something you like. Keep going and don’t give up!

Christian, 12, is a student at Eunos Primary School taking his PSLE this year. He started off with our Scratch holiday workshop course in 2018 and has since completed our ScratchMIT App Inventor and Python classes.

He aspires to be a professional coder in the gaming industry and to work at Google someday. It is evident that Christian loves coding, and it is one of his many strengths. We’re sure that he will do great, and we look forward to seeing his future programs! 

As an international coding school with a global presence, Coding Lab strongly believes in and actively sources for opportunities and exposure for our students both locally and internationally. 

We would like to congratulate to our award winners — Adam, Anthony, Joshua and Aaron — for their outstanding global performance at the MIT App Inventor Summit 2019!

– Best Poster Award, 2nd Prize (Adam, 12, Anthony, 12, Joshua, 10)
– Hackathon, Beginner Category, 2nd Prize (Adam, 12)
– Hackathon, Beginner Category, 3rd Prize (Anthony, 12, Aaron, 13)
– Hackathon, Advanced Category, 2nd Prize (Joshua, 10)

It all started with their poster being selected for presentation, out of a global pool of applicants. Looking at the high volume of ride-hailing trips globally, the boys thought of an app that would allow ride-hailing companies to objectively measure their drivers’ performance and safety profile. “Roadsafe – A Better Driving Initiative” was a novel idea conceived out of the need for improving passenger safety. Under the guidance of their tutors, the team set about working judiciously on their app and poster for the conference, which utilised Data Analytics to build a mathematical model to rate drivers’ performance using data collected from mobile phone sensors.

Adam, Joshua and Aaron at Coding Lab's App Inventor class in Singapore
Adam, Joshua and Aaron at Coding Lab’s App Inventor class in Singapore

Anthony attending a lesson at Coding Lab Singapore
Anthony attending a lesson at Coding Lab Singapore

Our tutors then flew together with them all the way to the MIT campus in USA where they clinched Top 3 awards in BOTH Beginner and Advanced Categories, a FIRST for Singapore! To top it off, these boys were also one of the youngest participants at the events — talk about talent. They have truly flown the Singapore flag high and have done us SO proud!

Anthony, Adam, and Joshua presenting their poster which won the 2nd prize at the competition
Anthony, Adam, and Joshua presenting their poster which won the 2nd prize at the competition – a FIRST for Singapore

Poster Set-up at MIT Media Lab, overlooking the Charles River
Poster Set-up at the MIT Media Lab, overlooking the Charles River

With Nature, Environmental Issues and Human Ecology as the hackathon theme, clinching 2nd place for the Advanced category was Joshua’s recycling app which informs what’s recyclable and what’s not. 

Joshua presenting his app onstage
Joshua presenting his app on stage

Joshua collecting his certificate for 2nd prize, Advanced Category
Joshua collecting his certificate for 2nd prize, Advanced Category

Coming in 2nd and 3rd place for the Beginner category was Adam’s utility app which calculates shower water usage based on water pressure, and Anthony and Aaron’s informative app which educates users on landfills and composting. 

Anthony and Adam sharing their projects excitedly with other participants at the MIT App Inventor Summit, USA
Anthony and Adam sharing their projects excitedly with other participants at the MIT App Inventor Summit, USA

Aaron and Anthony on stage to collect their certificates
Aaron and Anthony on stage to collect their certificates

As outstanding graduates of our App Inventor and Advanced Computer Scientists courses, It’s that spirit of innovation that makes them second to none. 

Adam, Anthony and Joshua receiving their award certificates from Mark Friedman, one of the original developers of MIT App Inventor
Receiving their award certificates from Mark Friedman, one of the original developers of MIT App Inventor

Tutor Mona with her protégés
Tutor Mona with her protégés

The ecstatic boys having won the 2nd prize for Best Poster Award
The ecstatic boys having won the 2nd prize for Best Poster Award – doing Singapore proud!

Time and again, our students have shown their mettle and these students have indeed allowed their passion for programming to shine through on the global stage, doing Singapore proud. Keep up the impressive work, boys!