Did you know that our students learn a smorgasbord of fun and interesting things in the wide variety of courses available right here at Coding Lab? We want to share the joy of learning with you too! 

Our Young Computer Scientists graduates holding their certificates
Our YCS students happily receiving their certificates!

With 12 different badges for students to collect and advance their coding abilities, it’s no wonder our P11S Young Computer Scientists (YCS) students always have a whale of a time learning and exploring the diverse fields that coding can be applied to (like Animation and Movies, Augmented Reality, Music, Robotics, etc) in our classes! 

Our YCS course – which is suitable for ages 7 to 9 – covers a good mix of 3 groups of classes (hardware-based learning, applied learning and subject-based learning) which will broaden students’ exposure and understanding of the power of computational thinking. 

Our hardware-based learning classes involve the use of unique tools like Micro:bit, the pocket-sized computer transforming how kids learn digital skills. Our applied learning classes teach students how coding can be applied – like artificial intelligence and machine learning! We’ve also got subject-based learning classes involving Maths, Physics and Biology, which will also pique students’ interests in coding as they get to reinforce what they’ve learnt in school! 

Check out these 3 ‘Did You Know’ facts that we share with our YCS students across their different classes – and make sure to pass on the knowledge to others! You know what they say, sharing is caring. 😉

1. Augmented Reality:

Augmented reality is a technology that overlays a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a blended image. 

In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his student Bob Sproull, created what is widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) head-mounted display (HMD) system at Harvard University [1]. Now, there are numerous applications of AR – like in the military, navigation, sightseeing, medical, entertainment, advertising and gaming! 

This advancement in technology has brought numerous benefits in education, one of them being further enhancing students’ visual and auditory skills as they immerse in a digital construction of their surrounding [2]. It makes learning so much more fun! In YCS’s Augmented Reality class, students learn to create AR games – just like this Piano one! 😎

2. Physics:

We all know that what goes up must come down. Gravity is the force that keeps us grounded on earth, and it is also this force that makes things fall to the ground. The bigger (and heavier) an object is, the stronger its gravity. The moon is 1/6 the size of the earth and thus the moon’s gravity is 1/6 of that of earth’s. This means that you can jump six times as high on the moon than on earth [3]!

In YCS’s Physics classes, students learn to create fidget spinners, spinning wheels and projectile motion games, among others… As they get acquainted with Physics by seeing how matter interacts with energy and forces, they’ll start to do higher-level thinking that enables them to see the big picture in the world around them [4]!

3. Artificial Intelligence:

Some of us are better at face recognition than others. In the last decade or so, it’s become apparent that around 2% of the population is born with a severe face-recognition impairment (known as congenital prosopagnosia) [5]. There is a similar proportion of ‘super-recognisers’ with unusually exceptional face-recognition skills, and the rest of us are on a spectrum in between.

In YCS’s Artificial Intelligence class, students get to dabble in machine learning to create a ‘face unlock’ system. It’s almost like they’re recreating Face ID! With an early understanding of this technology faucet, students will get to breed their creativity and develop their imaginations as they take a step closer to becoming a technology innovator.

Now that you’ve learned some cool information, make sure to spread the joy of learning by sharing this post with your close friends and family! 

Hop on board the Young Computer Scientists’ train – where we help to build your child’s aspiration of becoming the next future leader in technology!

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We’ve rounded up the 5 most interesting and engaging (in our opinion, that is!) tech podcasts and TED Talks for you to embark on an auditory tech journey! Calling all our parents, students, and teens – we’ve made sure that there’s something for you to listen to, no matter who you are!

Whether you’re driving your little techie to school in the morning, taking a jog with your pals, or simply relaxing at home in between homework assignments, easily keep up to date with current advancements in science and technology. The best part? Bonding with your child over his favourite activity and maximising the use of your time. Learning has never been easier. ☺️

We’ve shared our favourite episode for each selection (and we hope you’ll like them too!)

Happy listening and stay safe!

1. CodeNewbie

(available on their website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts) 

Image of CodeNewbie podcast

What it’s about: Stories from people on their coding journey. 

Code Newbie covers a diverse range of guests on their show – from web developers to UX designers, open source developers and many more! With the main target audience being beginners who are new to code, anything that’s very technical is explained simply. The podcast is not so much about how to code, but more about how to be a coder – it’s especially reassuring to newbie coders, with every episode reminding listeners that everyone has had to start at some point before progressing to success. 

Duration: ~30-50 minutes per episode 

Recommended episode: “How do you go from hackathons to building a hurricane relief business?” with Nick Feuer – This episode definitely brought back memories of our Young Coders Global Hackathon (YCGH) that took place earlier this year. It was truly a blast marvelling at all the brilliant ideas that our participants came up with!  

2. Learn to Code with Me

(available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or here

Image of Learn to Code with Me podcast

What it’s about: The podcast is hosted by Laurence Bradford, a self-taught techie who’s on a mission to help anyone who wants to teach themselves how to code. For each ‘Learn to Code with Me’ episode, she sits down for a chat with different amazing and inspiring individuals in tech. 

With captivating interviews and useful advice given in every episode, you’re sure to learn a lot about how to code as well as the basics of building your very own technology career! 

Duration: For Season 7: ~40-50 minutes per episode

Recommended episode: “Building a Robotics career and the impact of mentorship with Camille Eddy” – Having had internships with big companies like HP, Google and NASA, Camille is grateful to have been able to grow her career with the help of her mentors. We couldn’t agree more! An experienced individual by your side will help you grow to greater heights – just like our dedicated tutors at Coding Lab! 😉

3. Brains On! Science

(episodes available on Spotify or on their website)

Image of Brains On Science podcast

What it’s about: This award-winning science podcast from American Public Media is great for kids and curious adults! With its mission of encouraging kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history, every episode has a different kid co-host who joins in to find answers to the fascinating questions they have about the world. 

With over 100 episodes to listen to, you’re in for hours of endless fun and learning! 

Duration: ~30 minutes per episode 

Recommended episode: “Why does green mean go? And other colour conundrums” – This episode explored the primary colours red, green and blue – and how you can mix them together to get all the colours of light! Our wonderful Young Computer Scientists learn about RGB in their class (BOT: Robotics) too, as well as other fascinating topics like Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)! 

4. TED Talks by brilliant kids and teens

(watch them here)

Image of TED Talks playlist

What it’s about: This awesome playlist features kids and teens under 20 conducting their own TED Talks about science, music and other relevant topics. Be awed by the young and bright speakers as they talk about what they’re most passionate about – you’re certainly never too small to dream big! 

Duration: Ranges from ~5-20 minutes per talk

Recommended episode: “A 12-year-old app developer” – We’re reminded of our very own app inventors and computer scientists who always have a whale of a time in our classes. It’s amazing to see the endless possibilities once you learn how to code! 

5. Tumble Science Podcast

(available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or here)

Image of Tumble Science podcast

What it’s about: The podcast has episodes exploring a multitude of fascinating topics like volcanic eruptions and the physics of basketball. Now in its 6th season, Tumble strives to foster the love of science into listeners by bringing science to life through interviews with scientists on their process and discoveries. 

Suitable for the entire family to listen to, everyone wins as they learn a thing or two about the wonders of science. 

Duration: ~10-20 minutes per episode 

Recommended episode: “Building a Robotic Eel” – This episode had us all fascinated on Envirobot, a robot that moves through the water like an eel and also has special sensors designed to seek out water pollution! It’s truly amazing to see how tech is put to good use – in this case, tech helps us understand our environment better and assist us in finding solutions to problems!

Sarah will be starting her first year as a Computer Engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) – which is ranked #18 globally for computer science subjects – on a 4-year scholarship! Read on to find out how she managed to achieve this incredible feat. 

Image of Sarah Go

From our previous interview with Sarah Go in 2018, we got to know about how she clinched the Honourable mention at the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) within just less than six months of learning how to code! Fuelled by her passion for coding, Sarah spent her winter holidays as a student tutor volunteer at Coding Lab to inspire the next generation of coders.

Q: Hey Sarah, it’s been a while since our last interview with you. Congratulations on getting a scholarship to UT Austin! What were your feelings when you first got to know about the scholarship?

Sarah: I was definitely very happy! Initially, I wasn’t expecting a scholarship because I was applying as an out-of-state student to UT’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program. 90% of spots are reserved for in-state students, and UT’s ECE program is considered prestigious in the US. So even admission is very competitive – not to mention a scholarship! – and this knowledge makes me feel incredibly fortunate and grateful to my school as well. 

Q: What did you do to ensure that you stood out from the rest of the other applicants?

Sarah: There were many other qualified applicants, and even the admissions committee can’t specify what ensures an applicant will receive a scholarship.

I didn’t have to go for any interviews or submit any additional materials as I was automatically considered for a scholarship with my application to UT. I can say that I put a lot of effort into maintaining a good academic record and producing quality work in school, especially in my research projects.

And outside of school, my extracurricular activities – particularly my experience in Coding Lab, which I wrote about in my college essays, certainly contributed as well. 

Image of Sarah Go and student
Sarah as a student tutor volunteer explaining a concept to her student.

Q: What were the Coding Lab classes that you took and how have they brought you to where you are now?

Sarah: I took the Python Meets Mathematics course and honestly if I didn’t take that course I wouldn’t even have chosen ECE as my major! I went into Coding Lab as a total coding newbie and honestly was feeling quite ambivalent towards coding when I went to my first lesson.

I found the course material accessible and easy to understand, and I got to use the programming knowledge I learned in fun mathematical applications right from the start.

At the end of my first lesson, after just a couple of hours, I was so enthralled with coding that both my parents and I were surprised! But beyond the course material, what truly sparked my interest in coding was my teacher Mr. Yong. He’s an incredibly dedicated teacher, and his guidance and enthusiasm towards coding not only made me look forward to every lesson but, three years later, has ultimately motivated me to go into computing in college and maybe even as a career. 

Image of Sarah Go and her class
Sarah and her bright students!

Q: How do you plan on making the most out of your time, now that things have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Sarah: Well, like many other students around the world, I am pretty much stuck at home this summer due to Covid-19. Fortunately, there are so many readily available resources be it educational and recreational on the internet that I have hardly been bored! I’m reading ebook versions of classics that have always been on my reading list, and have also been self-studying Chinese. I have also stuck to my goal of learning at least one new computing-related thing every day, which has definitely helped keep me busy and productive. Today, for example, while doing some problems I encountered a neat algorithm called the Boyer-Moore Majority Vote Algorithm. While reading about the algorithm, I learned that it was a UT professor that co-invented it, which is super cool!

Q: What are you looking forward to the most when you start university?

Sarah: I really look forward to meeting other students at UT; not only ECE students who share the same interest in computers as me, but also other students in different majors, all of whom have very diverse cultures and backgrounds. I also look forward to meeting professors at UT, who have done amazing work in their fields! As for my classes, I’m quite excited about learning more about the hardware aspects of computing, because I’ve really immersed myself in programming these few years. I believe these aspects of my university experience will be a real eye-opener for me. 

Q: Any words of advice for budding programmers out there?

Sarah: My first advice to budding programmers is, honestly, to keep coding! That may sound kind of silly, but coding is one of those things where the best way to learn is by doing, or in this case, programming. Every time you learn something new, grab some problems or projects off the internet – or maybe think up something yourself – and create a program to try it out! I also think it’s good to keep challenging yourself. Sometimes, easy programming problems can be tempting, but you learn the most from hard problems – problems that seem complex and maybe even beyond your abilities.

By continually pushing your boundaries, you’ll expand your knowledge and eventually problems that you once found difficult will become doable.

And also – it’s completely fine to encounter difficulties and spend hours debugging a program. Just keep in mind that coding is a lifelong journey, and like a rollercoaster ride, while there may be ups and downs, it’s a lot of fun as well! 

Have you ever wondered what are the opportunities unlocked for your child after learning how to code? With the right foundation and guidance, children will grow to be confident and creative problem solvers as they apply math to real-world situations. They can apply the knowledge they’ve learnt to not only their programming projects, but also to areas like lighting for animation, the making of MacBooks and many more!

Here are 5 tech geniuses whose early exposure to coding has brought them to where they are today – these successful individuals have brought much change in the digital transformation of the 21st century. Read on to find out more about them! 🔍

Danielle Feinberg (Pixar Animation Studios)

You have probably watched Danielle Feinberg’s work on the big screen without even knowing. The Director of Photography for Lighting at Pixar Animation Studios [1] was in charge of coding the lighting in well-loved movies like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles and many more that you watch with your kids! Yes you read that right, these animated movies could not have been made possible without coding [2]! 

Since young, Danielle had always been in love with math, science and code. When she was 10, she got the opportunity to join a programming class where she got to program photos on the computer – and this experience left her absolutely fascinated! Growing up, she continued to attend summer camps and after school programs for students interested in computer programming and engineering. 

Afterwards in Harvard University, she was introduced to computer animation in her first year as a Computer Science student. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, her love for art, coding and creating things propelled her to work at Pixar – where she discovered her passion for coding in the lighting department. 
Outside of Pixar, she inspires and encourages girls who have interest in STEM through groups like Girls Who Code.

“The idea that all the math, science and code that I’ve been learning, could come together to create these worlds and characters and stories I connected with, was pure magic for me.” – Danielle Feinberg in her TED Talk: The magic ingredient that brings Pixar to life

Jack Dorsey (Twitter)

Who wouldn’t be familiar with the term ‘tweet’? There are about 6,000 tweets uploaded every second – messages that allow users to express themselves in a short and snappy way. We definitely would not have been able to tweet if it weren’t for Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter. 

Having had a huge interest in city infrastructure and transportation when he was a teenager, Jack started learning how to program on his own so as to understand how the city works [3]. 

When he was 15, he wrote dispatch software which would then remain in use by taxicab companies to manage the logistics of their dispatch for decades afterward. Inspired by his dispatch work and the instant messaging services that were growing popular at that time, he came up with the idea that would become Twitter. 

After pitching his idea to a Silicon Valley company, he then went on to code the prototype with the help of another programmer in just two weeks. From only having 5000 users in 2006, Twitter now has 330 million monthly active users to date [4]. 

Though his journey had its fair share of ups and downs, Jack stayed dedicated and developed his skills to become the programmer and businessman that he is today. Aside from Twitter, he now also runs a company called Square – a form of mobile payment that is used in multiple countries worldwide. 

“My goal is to simplify complexity.” – Jack Dorsey

Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

When was the last time you bought something from Amazon? Have you ever wondered who was the genius behind it? 

Well, it’s none other than Jeff Bezos! 

As a child, Jeff was curious about how everything worked – he especially had a particular interest in computers. When he was 10, he stayed after school hours with his friends to tinker with a computer and taught themselves programming from books. This experience inspired a lifelong love of invention. 

Immersed in the world of technology, Jeff took part in the NASA high school initiative and went on to major in Computer Science at Princeton University. Upon graduation, he worked as a coder and even ventured into the realm of wall street before starting Amazon on his own [5]. 

Jeff first started off with selling books on the e-commerce website. As sales rocketed and the years went by, Amazon jumped into new markets and started offering products other than books like music, video, and holiday gifts. 

The Amazon today has become a dominant player in the worlds of e-commerce, digital streaming and artificial intelligence. Thanks to Jeff’s relentless efforts, Amazon has become many users’ one-stop destination for almost anything and everything. 

“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” – Jeff Bezos

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, you can easily stay connected with your friends and family on Facebook – be it sharing a post that you found funny, sending a message to a loved one or even playing an online game with your friend! 

At the tender age of 10, Mark’s father introduced him to a computer and together, they wrote a program that allowed all the computers between the house and his father’s dental office to communicate with each other [6]. Soon, Mark was studying with a programming tutor, reading his first book on programming and even made games out of his friends’ drawings. 

His hunger for progress didn’t stop there. Mark went on to pursue a degree at Harvard, where he built a site in his sophomore year called CourseMatch – a site that lets students choose classes together. Afterwards, social networking site Facebook was born – a site which would then continue to grow into the giant that it is today. 

From building Facebook in his humble beginnings (his Harvard dorm room), Mark now has a Facebook headquarters based in California and is now running the site with over 48,000 employees. While he has a lot on his plate – like raising his two daughters and running his company – Mark ensures that he is productive and balanced. For the many hours that he has to work, he also dedicates time for family, leisure and exercise. 

Although Mark had been offered millions and billions of dollars for Facebook, he would often turn such offers down. Did you know that he has walked away from such deals for at least 11 times [7]? His vision of where he wanted Facebook to be made him dream big and never settled for less. 

“My goal was never to just create a company. It was to build something that actually makes a really big change in the world.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Bill Gates (Microsoft)

You probably know Bill Gates as the one who founded Microsoft – the world’s largest personal computer software company. When he was 13, his school was one of the first in the country to get a computer terminal. From there, he spent his time playing with it and fell in love with programming [8]. 

“Exposure from a young age to the realities of the world is a super-big thing.” – Bill Gates

His first software program was done when he was still 13 years old – the popular game of tic-tac-toe. When he ran out of money to pay to use the school computer, he got around to logging into it as the system operator so as to get around the time limit [9]. 

Still in high school, he and his friend Paul Allen started a traffic counter startup known as ‘Traf-O-Data’, but the company eventually went under. This failure, however, did not dissuade Bill but instead taught him the value of combining programming and business together. With the lessons he had learnt from his first startup, Bill went on to start Microsoft – his most successful venture to date. 

Due to Bill’s guidance and perseverance, Microsoft has become the well-known multinational technology company that it is today. Although Bill is no longer its CEO, he remains one of the largest individual shareholders of Microsoft. Aside from this, he now chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation.

It’s amazing to learn how all these techies discovered what they loved to do when they were young, and then continued to pursue and become the successful people they are today! 

If your child is interested in learning something, let them learn – who knows, your child might just be the next big thing in it!

Lynn Kiew is one of our dedicated educators with a passion for teaching and a love for numbers and solving challenging problems. 

At Coding Lab, she seeks to excite students in programming and empower students to excel through technology. Read on to find out more about this amazing educator!

Lynn with her students in a Home-Based Learning class!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I graduated with Distinction from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a Bachelor in Mathematical Sciences. I really enjoy learning and teaching Mathematics and always thought that I would be a Math teacher in the future… I never imagined myself teaching coding to children! Given the fact that I had some difficulty in computer classes when I was in secondary school, and had to seek help from the partner beside me (haha!) But look at me now – a coding teacher! I guess when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade?

2. Wow, it’s interesting to learn that you had difficulty in computer classes – how then did you start teaching kids coding?

I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher because I love being in the company of students and to know that I have positively impacted their lives! Back when I was in NTU as a Math undergraduate, Computing was one of the compulsory modules that I had to take. To my surprise, I came to love the subject and discovered that I have a flair for it.

I guess it’s thanks to my early exposure during my secondary school computer classes – it really did me well! In hindsight, I believe that it’s due to the early struggles that I went through during those classes that have really helped me and eased my learning for university. I also like how Computing requires some form of logical thinking and practice, which can be challenging, and I’m always up to solve challenging problems!

Lynn conducting an online class via Zoom.

3. What motivates you to teach?

The moment when students get the eureka moment ‘Aha!’. It’s really satisfying to see students understand what I have taught. The smiles on their faces make me forget all those moments when I was pulling my hair out because they forgot a simple concept. Also, their cheeky antics definitely bring joy to my life – 82.75% of the time. 

4. Describe how a typical class would look like – what would we be able to see and hear?

Ask any of our teachers, and they will all be raising their hands and FEET in agreement – ‘TEACHER HELP! MY CODE HAS AN ERROR!’ You have no idea how many times we hear this in one lesson. But with that, we train and teach our students the concept of TRYING! We don’t simply just run to them to provide them with the solution but we let them explore and attempt to solve the error by themselves first, before providing hints and guidance.

Lynn assisting her students in class.

5. In your opinion, how would kids benefit from learning how to code at a young age?

Coding helps to train children’s problem-solving skills (which is useful for their Mathematics in school) in a fun and exciting manner! There is no one way of solving questions, thus it exposes them to think out of the box and find different ways to solve a problem. With the rise of the digital age, we can see how AI is becoming more and more popular these days – hence, coding will really give a head start for young learners.

6. How do you keep track of your students’ learning progress?

Educators at Coding Lab keep track of our students’ progress with our online system – students use it to submit their work between classes for us to grade, and from there it informs us of their level of understanding of the topics taught. We are also always in close contact with our students’ parents – we have a WhatsApp group for every class to send parents a brief summary of the topics covered, the homework required and address any other concerns after every lesson. Parents are always kept in the loop and updated about their child’s progress!

For me, I always provide a target for my students in every class – of course, every student’s target is different. Once they have met it, I will definitely give praise when it’s due. However, for students who are falling behind, I will nudge them and provide feedback to their parents if needed.

7. What has your experience with Coding Lab and teaching coding been like?

It has definitely been an enriching journey, with a lot of learning, testing and experimenting with new things! I am also glad to know that the Coding Lab team has my back – they have made work more enjoyable and memorable! Coding Lab truly has a nurturing environment where we are constantly giving and receiving encouragement. If you have been a part of Coding Lab’s team, you would definitely have remembered using this word constantly – “GREAT!”, it’s just a common word that our team always uses that has become sort of a catchphrase for us.

8. What are some words of advice that you would give for children/teens who have just started learning how to code?

Lucky you, you have made the right choice to start coding! The process is definitely not going to be easy – there will be lots of ups and downs, but NEVER GIVE UP! The joy when you finally see your program running without any errors is going to be AMAZING!

Just like how I initially faced some difficulties with computer lessons, I later realised that it was my calling – hence I believe that students should be exposed at an early age as it would definitely be beneficial and ease their learning in the future!

9. What are your interests/hobbies outside the classroom?

I watch a lot of Korean dramas – ask me any, and I would probably have struck them off my list. Other than that, I started to pick up crocheting during the circuit breaker period! I must say it’s a really good pastime and it’s really satisfying to see the final products that I have created. I made a few pouches and cute keychains (which I can ‘bribe’ the students in the future…)

Due to the rise of the digital economy [1], 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 [2] – 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) [3] – 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 [4] 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!

Students in our S101 Python classes.

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.

The bright participants of our Young Coders’ Global Hackathon (YCGH) Finals!

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. 

Students learning about Program Errors in our Python classes held via Zoom.

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! 

Image showing IB Computer Science/O-Level and A-Level Computing tuition
Students focused on their work in class.

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

Students waving hello as they join our online classes!

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. 

There’s no doubt that computing/programming is becoming more and more of a fundamental skill needed to thrive in this digital age. This is why there has been an increase in the number of schools offering Computing as an O-Level and A-Level subject.

Does your Secondary School child have an interest in coding? Or are you a student yourself, interested in learning more about coding in the long run? 

We have collated a list of schools below that offer IB, O-Level and A-Level Computing. 

Secondary 2 is the time where students will have to go through streaming to choose their desired subject combination in upper secondary. In most cases, schools require students to do well in their English and Mathematics in order to be able to apply for Computing. Here are the schools which offer ‘O’ level Computing:

O-Level Computing (22 schools)

Admiralty Secondary School 

Boon Lay Secondary School 

Bukit View Secondary School 

Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) 

Clementi Town Secondary School 

Commonwealth Secondary School 

Holy Innocents’ High School 

Junyuan Secondary School 

Jurong West Secondary School 

Maris Stella High School 

Pathlight School 

Peirce Secondary School 

School of Science and Technology, Singapore 

Serangoon Secondary School 

Springfield Secondary School 

St. Patrick’s Secondary School 

Xinmin Secondary School 

Zhonghua Secondary School 

Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) 

Montfort Secondary School 

Ngee Ann Secondary School 

Temasek Secondary School

ib blog 2

Need help with O-Level Computing? We offer small group tuition for Secondary 3 and 4 Computing students. Check out our classes here.

Here are the schools which offer ‘A’ level Computing:

A-Level Computing (8 schools) 

Anglo-Chinese Junior College 

Dunman High School

Hwa Chong Institution

Jurong Pioneer Junior College

Nanyang Junior College

National Junior College

River Valley Junior College 

Yishun Innova Junior College 

On the International Baccalaureate (IB) track? The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme offers two course levels for Computer Science: the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL). Below’s a list of the schools that offer the course:

IB Computing 

Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) – HL only 

Australian International School – SL/HL

Dulwich College – SL/HL 

Global Indian International School – SL/HL 

NPS International School – SL/HL

Overseas Family School – SL/HL

St. Joseph’s Institution International – SL only 

Stamford American International School 

Tanglin Trust School 

United World College (UWC) SEA – SL/HL 

Excel IB Computer Science with us! We offer 1-1 customised IB Java tutoring and are always ready to lend a helping hand – check out our classes here

We hope that with these lists of schools, you’ll be able to make better informed decisions regarding your selection of school. Never stop learning and keep on coding!

With the current Covid-19 situation, it may seem like the tech-activities that we can do at this time are limited. Don’t worry, the Coding Lab team has got you covered!

Two-Hour Easter Parent-Child Workshop

We’re having an online two-hour Easter parent-child workshop, where you and your child can program a bunny to go on an Easter Egg Hunt together for just $10. Decorate Easter eggs and hold your child’s hands as you kickstart their coding journey!

Thursday, 9 April 2020
4.30pm – 6.30pm
$10 (U.P. $55)

For more details, click here.

For the Facebook event page, click here.

Home-Based Learning (HBL) $10 Trials

Begin your online learning with Coding Lab! Not sure if it’s for your child? Our two-hour $10 trials (U.P. $55) will let them have a shot at programming simple games and animations with Scratch or pick up Python, one of the most popular programming languages. Feel free to contact our HBL concierge team that is always on-hand to help with any queries – we strive to make the transition to online learning as seamless as possible, especially in this digital era.

Home-Based Learning

Date: Multiple dates available
Duration: 2 hours
$10 (U.P. $55)

For more details, click here.

5 Things To Do While Staying Home

Quarantine, social distancing and Stay-Home Notices got you and your family bored? We’ve put together five suggestions that can get your kiddos all revved up about technology.

5 Stay at Home Tips

Click here to listen to Software Engineer.

With news that we have to suspend our physical classes, our usual weekly classes for the age groups of 7-910-12 and 13-18 will still continue from home. We aim to make this transition as seamless as possible for you and your children, so here are 5 Tips from the Coding Lab team on how our HBL coding classes can be maximised:

Maximise HBL Newsletter

It’s simple to sign up for a HBL class with us. If in doubt, give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to assist you. We’ll even send an E-Learning package your way – and a complimentary introduction to ease the transition to online, home-based learning. After all, it’s our goal to nurture future leaders of technology!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our March techtivities at Sentosa and online!

At just 21 years old, Zhang Guangxuan is a competitive programmer who has represented Singapore in the International Olympiad in Informatics, attained 2nd Place as a Gold Medallist in the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), and guided many others down the same path as Singapore’s National Coach.

Get to know one of Coding Lab’s youngest but most accomplished educators.

Guangxuan and his students in class
Guangxuan and his students in class

Hi Guangxuan, how did you get started on coding? 

My journey began in the primary school robotics lab, where I tinkered with drag-and-drop “programming”. I took on the job of lead programmer, creating combinations of basic operations to accomplish missions. The joy of discovering new functions and alternative methods of programming the robot helped us to clinch top prize in programming at the National Junior Robotics Competition. Little did I know that these experiences would form my passion for artificial intelligence.

Fast forward to high school, I kept pursuing my passion by attending programming electives. These courses expanded my arsenal of programming languages, which included Python, C++ and Java, forming the foundations of computation. Learning about Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taught me much about what I truly enjoy. I am fascinated by the endless potential of AI in problem-solving and I enjoy discovering novel ideas used in AI to model problems. I will continue discovering more about AI, for as long as my passion takes me, and I hope that I can contribute to AI in the future for the good of mankind!

“In my opinion, everyone who wants to code should at least try their hand at competitive coding.”

Guangxuan has represented Raffles Institution and Singapore in numerous prestigious Olympiads in Computing, Physics, and Mathematics.
Guangxuan has represented Raffles Institution and Singapore in numerous prestigious Olympiads in Computing, Physics, and Mathematics.

How did you start to teach coding?

In 2015, I joined my NOI teammate in teaching the December NOI training course. Initially, I was concerned by my teaching capabilities as I have never been a trainer. However, the trainer community was welcoming and I picked up teaching skills along the way. I learnt to explain concepts in an easily digestible way to newcomers, challenge assumptions and to teach from first principles. 

Tell us about how a typical coding class would look like. If I walked into your classroom during a lesson, what would I see and hear? 

Students discuss while solving problems on the interactive whiteboards located in each classroom. Students collaborate while solving problems, sometimes even helping each other debug.

In your opinion, what is the most important takeaway for kids from coding class? 

Students learn Computational Thinking while solving problems. Computational Thinking can generalise and transfer the problem-solving process to a wide variety of situations, such as confidence in dealing with complexity, persistence in working with difficult problems, the potential to deal with open-ended problems, and the ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution.

“Build a strong foundation, and you shall be able to conquer the Olympiad.”

Guangxuan has trained countless medalists in Olympiad in Informatics Courses
Guangxuan has trained countless medalists in Olympiad in Informatics Courses

What are you up to these days?

In my free time, I enjoy keeping up with developments in technology. After exploring various computational fields such as web development and security, I realised that I enjoyed machine learning the most as it involves both the rigour of Mathematical theory and the creativity of practical application.

Just as AI must train to improve their performance, I must train myself to get better at AI. As such AI courses were not offered in high school, I have enrolled in structured online machine learning courses from Stanford University. The courses constantly challenge my thinking and helps me to gain new perspectives about coding and how to teach it to students. Currently, I’ve been learning about Machine Vision (the ability of a computer to see) by following the Stanford CS231n course.

“I will continue discovering more about AI, for as long as my passion takes me, and I hope that I can contribute to AI in the future for the good of mankind!”

How is competitive programming different?

Competitive programming is a mind sport. A lot of people are engrossed in competitive coding for the sheer thrill of it — the adrenaline rush and the satisfaction of getting your solution accepted. In my opinion, everyone who wants to code should at least try their hand at competitive coding. It has a very large and diverse online community including school and college students and even people working in big tech companies. The skills picked up can be applied directly to technical interviews for big tech companies!

What advice do you have for children/teenagers who want to participate in the NOI?

Build a strong foundation, and you shall be able to conquer the Olympiad. The course is difficult, and you will be challenged. Long-term commitment to the competitive programming sport will lead to great rewards.

Guangxuan is our educator with a passion for AI and teaching future leaders in technology.

Our non-profit Tiny Thinkers initiative began as a bold Final-Year Project for a team of Nanyang Technological University undergraduates, which has been well received and reached out to many under their leadership. As they graduate, they pass the baton on to five other undergraduates – who, although all happen to be from the National University of Singapore, are diverse and bring their own unique set of strengths to the table. 

Let’s meet the fresh new team powering the second year of Tiny Thinkers.

Chairperson: Candice Wang

“It’s heartening to see the number of hours put in by the core team and their amazing passion and enthusiasm, which rubs off on all of our volunteers.”

Candice, with a Computational Thinking Kit, at the NLB Volunteers Training
Candice, with a Computational Thinking Kit, at the NLB Volunteers Training

As a mother of two and Director of Coding Lab, Candice understands parents and oversees the operations and community engagement sectors. She admits that it is no easy feat to be a part of Tiny Thinkers for the second year running, organising activities and packing kits. But with a new team, she says, “It’s exciting to have many interested young talents who bring their unique interests, personalities and know-how to make things happen. It’s heartening to see the number of hours put in by the core team and their amazing passion and enthusiasm, which rubs off on all of our volunteers.”

With 2020 ahead, she is excited that Tiny Thinkers will be able to impact more than 7,000 young lives across many preschools and libraries in Singapore with the Junior Computational Thinking (CT) kit, which covers all 4 pillars of CT (Abstraction, Algorithm, Decomposition and Pattern Recognition). “This kit has been heavily oversubscribed and we still have a long waitlist of preschools asking for it,” she said. “Our volunteers are working hard to pack kits so it can promptly reach preschools and libraries across Singapore. We are very proud of this kit, developed in conjunction with our partners (IMDA, Skool4kids and Nexus), which infuses Total Defense values into CT and most importantly, encourages parent-child bonding.”

President: Thinzar Htet

“While it is tiring, I enjoy interacting with children during events and workshops which reminds me of why I became a part of Tiny Thinkers in the first place.”

Thinzar manning the Tiny Thinkers booth at the National Library Board's kidsREAD 15th anniversary carnival
Thinzar manning the Tiny Thinkers booth at the National Library Board’s kidsREAD 15th anniversary carnival

The former intern at Coding Lab initially helped out with Tiny Thinkers activities and was inspired to keep the flame burning after her internship ended. Thinzar recalls her experiences during Tiny Thinkers workshops, where she shared the joy of coding with parents and witnessed children enjoying themselves. “When parents hear the aim of Tiny Thinkers, they inquire and remark that it is an interesting and great thing that we are doing. These instances make me feel proud of what I have done and want to continue, despite the difficulties.” 

The second-year Sociology student was always interested in education and working with children, “So I thought that it was fitting to be a part of something meaningful like Tiny Thinkers, which equips children with the valuable skill of Computational Thinking. While it is tiring,” she admits, “I enjoy interacting with children during events and workshops which reminds me of why I became a part of Tiny Thinkers in the first place.”

Head of Talent Acquisition: Shravya Murali

“I want to create a positive difference and to spark joy in the lives of others and myself.”

Shravya (on the right) at the Mendaki Learning Festival
Shravya (on the right) at the Mendaki Learning Festival

A firm believer that every child should have access to education – specifically, computational education – regardless of their background, Shravya is on a journey to make her life more meaningful. “I want to create a positive difference and to spark joy in the lives of others and myself,” the second-year Life Sciences student said. This led to her joining the Tiny Thinkers team. “I had chances to converse with parents at the Tiny Thinkers booth during the Smart Nation & U event, and they seemed impressed and appreciated what Tiny Thinkers was doing.” 

Just like Thinzar, this motivated Shravya to continue her work with Tiny Thinkers, knowing that it benefits others. She also spent her December holidays as an intern educator with Coding Lab, gaining more experience in teaching children while also interacting with parents. When asked about what she’s anticipating for in 2020, the avid volunteer said: “I am excited for more Tiny Thinkers events to come!”

Head of Training and Development: Jeffrey Tan

“I have been looking out for an avenue to give back through mentoring for a while now, so this came at the right time … I feel that I can make a difference in someone’s life here.”

Head of Training and Development, Jeffrey
Jeffrey giving a talk about computational thinking at the Smart Nation & U event

During one of his volunteer stints, Jeffrey was observed to have been working excellently with kids and was approached by Shravya to be a part of Tiny Thinkers. “I have been looking out for an avenue to give back through mentoring for a while now, so this came at the right time,” the third-year Computational Biology student enthused, citing the aims of Tiny Thinkers as the inspiration for joining. “They are very clear, achievable and most importantly, meaningful. I feel that I can make a difference in someone’s life here. I am able to multiply my value through training volunteers and subsequently gather feedback to improve the materials.” 

On Tiny Thinkers activities, Jeffrey mentions that it is heartwarming how parents are also involved. “It’s always nice to witness the parent-child physical connection especially in today’s increasingly digitalised society,” he remarked. “While the background of a family often plays a part in a child’s education, we strive to put everyone on the same starting line as we welcome the digital age.” 

Head of Marketing: Lakshmi Suresh

“I believe in devoting myself to a greater purpose, which involves helping others.”

Lakshmi giving a talk at the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Conference
Lakshmi giving a talk at the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Conference

The bubbly second-year Business student was a former intern educator at Coding Lab, where she also helped out with marketing activities. Lakshmi’s interest in entrepreneurship and social service was what led her to be a part of the team. “I believe in devoting myself to a greater purpose, which involves helping others,” she said. “Once I heard about Tiny Thinkers and their vision, I felt immediately drawn to helping the team out by tapping on my personal strengths.” 

In managing media channels and disseminating messages, her dedication is further spurred on by the effects of what she does. “I really love it when the publicity successfully attracts people to attend our events and to see parents and children have fun warms my heart,” she gushed. “I hope that Tiny Thinkers can be understood as an organisation that is out to make a difference, and that we can get more volunteers and participants to make our vision a reality!”

Head of Logistics: Senthamaraiselvan Pooja

“Being involved in something as meaningful as Tiny Thinkers has really made my university life more exciting as there are many exciting events going on to help spread computational thinking to young children.”

Pooja (on the right) at the ECDA Conference
Pooja (on the right) at the ECDA Conference

The second-year Biomedical Engineering student is in charge of ensuring that the materials and kits are delivered to the right place and at the right time. “I wish that I received more exposure to computational thinking at a young age,” Pooja confessed. “But by joining the Tiny Thinkers team, I find great delight in being part of a team that equips today’s children with this skill. This is especially critical now as Singapore is moving towards becoming a Smart Nation, so computational thinking would definitely be highly relevant in many future jobs.” 

When asked how she manages to juggle school and studies, Pooja mentioned that just being focused on studying can make life dull. “Being involved in something as meaningful as Tiny Thinkers has really made my university life more exciting as there are many exciting events going on to help spread computational thinking to young children,” she said.


The Tiny Thinkers team. Back row (from left): Jeffrey and Shravya Front row (from left): Lakshmi, Thinzar and Pooja
The Tiny Thinkers team. Back row (from left): Jeffrey and Shravya
Front row (from left): Lakshmi, Thinzar and Pooja

What’s next for Tiny Thinkers?

  • Conducting sessions for various preschools about the Tiny Thinkers Junior Computational Thinking kit
  • Working with National Library Board’s kidsREAD programme to distribute 3,500 computational thinking kits to beneficiaries
  • More workshops to empower more kids and achieve the target of 7000 kits to be given out!

The recent Tiny Thinkers training of around 100 NLB Volunteers with guests Ms Low Tze Hui from IMDA and NLB KidsRead Manager Ms Pearle Chua.
The recent Tiny Thinkers training with close to 100 NLB Volunteers. Ms Low Tze Hui from IMDA and NLB KidsRead Manager Ms Pearle Chua and her NLB team posing with the Tiny Thinkers Team.

About Tiny Thinkers:

A non-profit campaign by Coding Lab that aims to empower and educate parents to kickstart their little one’s journey in Computational Thinking. For more information, please click here. Tiny Thinkers is also featured on IMDA’s website here.

You can also join the Tiny Thinkers team as a volunteer or work with them as a corporate volunteer by filling up this form: https://forms.gle/ezNGx38Q6EYnZgWR6. You can also keep up to date with them on Facebook or Instagram.