It takes a lot of brain power to code, and as the brain takes up about 20% of the body’s calories, it’s super important to eat the right foods to stay energised and healthy! The Coding Lab team has assembled the best list of brain foods that you can eat to keep those brain cells active – check them out below. 🧠💪

Image of Brain Food: Eggs

1. Eggs

A breakfast staple for many, eggs are a good source of several nutrients (like vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline) tied to brain health! 

The egg yolks in eggs are rich in choline, which is an important micronutrient needed by our bodies to help regulate mood and memory. The B vitamins that eggs contain also help to slow down the progression of mental decline, synthesise brain chemicals and regulate the sugar levels in the brain. 

If coding’s on your to-do list for the day, make sure to start it right – with a sunny side up!

2. Dark chocolate

Flavonoids present in the cocoa in dark chocolate are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Antioxidants are able to help prevent oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline as they damage cells in the body. In short, antioxidants often go hand-in-hand with anti-aging.

Dark chocolate is also known to contain less sugar than other types of chocolate, and with the presence of polyphenols – which help to improve insulin sensitivity – they help to control our blood sugar levels.

Now that you know the goodness dark chocolate brings, don’t forget to set aside a few bars for your next coding session! 

Image of Brain Food: Dark Chocolate
Image of Brain Food: Fatty Fish

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is abundant in Omega-3. The Omega-3 fatty acids are capable of building cell membranes in the body, like those in the eyes and the brain. Thus, they are able to improve our vision as well as the structure of our brain cells – known as neurons – which are vital in transmitting information between the brain and the rest of the nervous system. 

Read: 5 Tips to Better Eye Health

Foods rich in Omega-3s are also great for improving concentration and cognitive functioning, hence further enhancing your ability to process and think when coding!

Try out this recipe: Lemon Dijon Baked Salmon and Potatoes

Credit: AverieCooks

Ingredients:
• 8 medium sized (or 900 to 1130 grams of) russet potatoes, halved or quartered into 1-inch pieces
• 5 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 57 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• Four 170 grams skin on salmon fillets
• Fresh parsley (optional for garnishing)

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to ~220°C (425°F). Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminium foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray. Add the potatoes and evenly drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Evenly season with salt and pepper and toss with your hands to combine and evenly coat. Bake for 15 minutes or until potatoes are about 75% done.
2. While the potatoes are baking, in a small microwavable bowl, heat up the butter for about 45 seconds. Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and stir to combine; set aside. 
3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the potatoes to ensure even cooking. Add the salmon-fillets skin-down, evenly drizzle with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and nestle the potatoes around the salmon.
4. Evenly drizzle about two-thirds of the lemon butter Dijon mixture over the salmon fillets. Evenly drizzle the remaining one-third over the potatoes.
5. Evenly season the salmon with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon and potatoes are done. The salmon should flake easily and the potatoes should be fork-tender. 
7. Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately. Recipe is best fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

4. Berries

Berries are delicious to snack on and they’re full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. They’ll definitely give your brain a boost of energy – set a bowl of good berries next to you on your next coding session and you’re set for a productive time.

Some berries that you can easily get from your nearest market are:
✓ Strawberries
✓ Blueberries
✓ Raspberries
✓ Cranberries
✓ Grapes

Image of Brain Food: Berries
Image of Brain Food: Whole Grains

5. Whole grains

Whole grains are good sources of vitamin E which has powerful antioxidant properties. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect fats from oxidation, hence reducing oxidative stress on the brain! 

Some examples of whole grains include:
✓ Brown rice
✓ Oatmeal
✓ Whole-wheat bread
✓ Whole-wheat pasta
✓ Whole-wheat crackers

Got a few ripe bananas sitting on your kitchen counter? Whip ’em up into a loaf of delicious banana bread!

Try out this recipe: Easy Banana Bread

Credit: SimplyRecipes

Ingredients:
• 2 to 3 ripe bananas, peeled (about 160 to 192 grams mashed)
• 76 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 150 grams sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Pinch of salt
• 204 grams of all-purpose flour

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F), and butter a 4×8-inch loaf pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
4. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 175°C (350°F), or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Afterwards, remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing and serving.

6. Vegetables

Eat up those greens! Although different vegetables exert their effects on the brain through different mechanisms, they share the common trend of having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. An example would be cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts that contain compounds which can prevent oxidative damage and fight cancer cells!

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat those greens? We’ve got a trick up our sleeves for you. Check out this amazing cauliflower rice recipe below!

Image of cauliflower
Try out this recipe: Cauliflower Rice (Super easy!)

Credit: MinimalistBaker

Ingredients:
• Pine cauliflower

Instructions:
1. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower, then remove all the greens.
2. You can choose to either use a box grater or a food processor! If using a box grater, cut the cauliflower into large chunks and use the medium-sized holes of the box grater to grate into ‘rice’. If using a food processor, cut into small pieces and use the grater attachment to grate the cauliflower into ‘rice’.
3. Transfer to a clean paper towel and press to remove any moisture (that can make your dish soggy!)
4. You can enjoy your cauliflower rice cooked or raw! You can cook your cauliflower rice by sautéing in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover with a lid to make the cauliflower stems more tender! Cook for a total of 5-8 minutes and season as desired.
5. You can use cauliflower rice in recipes that call for rice – like fried rice! You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Uncooked cauliflower rice can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

We hope that these foods will keep your minds sharp and more focused when coding! Make sure to include them in your shopping list for the next time you go to the market and don’t forget to share this with your friends and family! 😉


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Our previous Did You Know? from our Young Computer Scientists (YCS) series let many of you wow your friends with your knowledge. We heard you! We have decided to bring back more fun facts – this time from our Advanced Computer Scientists series.

Our ACS student having fun in class!
Our ACS student having fun in class!

In the P21S Advanced Computer Scientists (ACS) course, our 10-to-12-year-olds can collect 12 different badges. Each badge allows them to delve into diverse fields of application for coding, from UI/UX design experience to Game Development and Math, just to name a few.

Turtle Race by Emily, 12, Advanced Computer Scientists
Turtle Race by Emily, 12 years old
Space Invaders by Luciano, 12, Advanced Computer Scientists
Space Invaders by Luciano, 12 years old

The ACS programme spans three main types of learning – Hardware-Based, Syntax-Based and App Development. Upon completion, our students would have had hands-on experience with bots and be well-versed in writing real-world apps and programs that they can use to help others.

Photo of ACS Class
Our curious Advanced Computer Scientists trying out in-class activities

Without further ado, check out these 3 ‘Did You Know’ facts that we share with our ACS students in our award-winning curriculum – and make sure to pass on the knowledge to others! 😉

1. Role Playing Games

What defines a Role Playing Game (RPG)? It is a game where a player takes on the role of a fictional character in a fictional world – fantasy being the common thread. Most RPGs have character growth and advancement, coupled with an entrancing plot that immerses players into the lore and the world of the game [1]. A good RPG is balanced, will keep gamers hooked for hours, and leave a lasting impression.

For the more mature gamers out there (like your parents, teachers, and maybe even yourself), big names like Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, and more old school games come to mind when they think of RPGs. Now, we have more recent or remastered titles such as the new Doom, Divinity Original Sin 2, Monster Hunter: World and The Witcher 3.

Snapshot of Online HBL class
Snapshot of Online Home-Based Learning class for ACS

In Python Choose Your Own Adventure, our ACS students learn about RPGs. They get to code their character creation, equipment upgrades and boss fights. Classes also touch on game design topics, like balancing their games. This refers to tweaking a game to be interesting, deep, and fair [2]. Game balance affects battles and a person’s progression in a game.

Imagine being stuck on the tutorial and unable to level up? What about reaching the maximum level in 2 hours and there is nothing else for you to do? RPGs with the level and experience system usually make starting levels easier to level up and almost impossible at higher levels. Without balance, people will quickly get bored of the game.

2. Global Positioning System

When modelling an app after Healthy 365, our ACS students learn about UI/UX design and tap on the many different sensors found in our phones. Do you know how our phones are able to find our location or track our number of steps?

We’ve all heard of GPS. The Global Positioning System (GPS) used to be a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the United States government [3]. When the project was initiated, the 24-satellite system became fully functional in 1993 and was used to perform trilateration to pinpoint your exact location on Earth. Trilateration measures distance. Your position would be determined by the intersection of multiple intersections of GPS signals [4].

When it comes to tracking our steps, Abraham Louis Perrelet is the brilliant mind behind the pedometer [5]. Through the years, multiple improvements have been made to the pedometer. From the ancient versions using mechanical switches to the current day’s implementation with Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors and sophisticated software.

3. Quiz Gameshow

Come on down, it’s time for the quiz gameshow! Our ACS students get to code their own quizzes and learn more about programming, such as extensibility and the incremental build model. We also include fun facts, like this one… Legend has it that “quiz” is actually a very recent word created in the late 1700s. The story behind the word is a bizarre one and here is how it goes.

A wager was made in 1791 by Richard Daly in Dublin. He wagered that within 48 hours he could make a nonsense word be spoken throughout Dublin, one with no meaning and not derived from any language. He sent his employees to go around Dublin chalking the word “Quiz” everywhere and soon this word became the talk of the town which meant that Daly won the bet and this caused the word to become commonly used.

Of course, this story is not 100% factual and there are many sources that dispute the truth of this story [6]. So for now, let’s just say this is a folktale – and an interesting one too.

Our ACS student exploring the course
Our ACS student exploring the course

Now that you’re armed with all of this cool information, spread the joy of learning by sharing this with your friends and family! 

Come onboard our Advanced Computer Scientists’ programme – where we help to build your child’s aspiration of becoming the next future leader in technology!


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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!


Join the Coding Lab family! Click here to sign up for our monthly newsletters.

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!
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Details:
Thursday, 9 April 2020
4.30pm – 6.30pm
Online
$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

Details:
Date: Multiple dates available
Duration: 2 hours
Online
$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!