Coding Lab’s annual International Coding Showcase (ICS) is a collaboration with Coding Lab Japan to showcase our brilliant (and brave!) students ages 7 to 18 and their very own projects – whether it’s Scratch, App Inventor or Python – and share them with the world. ICS 2021 saw Coding Lab students not only from Singapore and Japan, but also from other countries such as Germany, Indonesia and the United States!

With coding foundation and knowledge from our MIT-inspired coding classes, our students put in their blood, sweat and tears and used their ingenuity and creativity to create videos and projects that wowed the panel of judges. Today, we bring to you an exclusive blog feature of some of our top Distinction winners from ICS 2021. They clinched the top award and were featured on our Coding Lab YouTube channel – which reached thousands of viewers all over the world.

Learn all about their coding journey and watch their amazing project submissions!


Teo Han Xiang Jairus

9 years old, Singapore

Distinction and People’s Choice Award, Scratch (Ages 7-9)

International Coding Showcase 2021 - Photo of Jairus Teo

Hobbies: Coding! I code during my free time. Besides that, I love food!

How did you start coding? I joined a Scratch holiday coding camp at Coding Lab and I found that I liked it very much!

Why did you join ICS 2021? I wanted use my creativity and my imagination. Through my experience, I learnt that winning is not important as long as I tried my best and have fun in the process.

Future coding aspirations: I want to make a famous gaming app that people love to play!


Xu Ruiheng Jacob

10 years old, Singapore

Distinction and Judges’ Choice (Most Promising Coder and Social Impact), App Inventor and Python (Ages 10-12)

International Coding Showcase 2021 - Photo of Jacob Xu

Hobbies: I like to swim, read books, make art and craft projects out of things I can find around the house. I’ve made stuff like ice-cream stick catapults, Minecraft paper figurines and analogue board games. I also love playing Minecraft and Forge of Empires. I also enjoy playing on Scratch with my classmates.

How did you start coding? I think I was six years old when my mum sent me for a coding workshop. I asked her to let me continue because I found Scratch very fun and easy to use because I could build programmes like how I build English sentences and Lego. I could also play games made by others.

Why did you join ICS 2021? I wanted to give it a try because I like Chemistry and wanted to see what I could do with both Chemistry and coding during the December holidays. I was even coding my periodic table program while waiting for my mum to finish her perm at the hair salon! I felt that even if I didn’t win, at least I gave it a try.

I learned the importance of planning a project so that the final product can be what I imagined it to be. Through this, I learned that no matter how challenging a task may seem, we will be able to do it once we break the hard stuff down into smaller pieces and solve them piece by piece.

Future coding aspirations: I would like to learn how to make online games and learn to improve my user interface to make my games more user-friendly. When I grow up, I would like to do something related to Mathematics or Science, and hopefully coding can help me to solve tough problems in those areas!


Theodore Lee Cheng Jie

9 years old, Singapore

Distinction and Judges’ Choice (Most Promising Coder and Most Innovative), Scratch (Ages 7-9) and Python Electives (Ages 13-18)

International Coding Showcase 2021 - Photo of Theodore Lee

Hobbies: My hobbies are playing the piano, coding, badminton, golfing, playing chess and playing with my Rubik’s cube. During my free time, I will play chess online and try to improve my programming projects.

How did you start coding? It was by chance when my parents and I came across a coding school while window shopping. It looked interesting at first sight and my parents supported me. I started coding using WeDo, EV3, Scratch, and eventually Python.

Why did you join ICS 2021? My father shared with me about the competition. Initially, I was thinking of submitting my Scratch simulation project which I started during my free time. However, my dad encouraged me to challenge myself to re-create the simulation project using Python. I took up the challenge and I am happy that it turned out well!

I learned about resilience and never giving up when facing difficulties. There are also solutions to every problem, and failure is the only outcome if you give up.

Future coding aspirations: I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I hope to combine my programming knowledge and my medical knowledge to build and program a futuristic “nano-robot” that can be injected into the patient’s bloodstream to cure cancer and other serious illnesses in the future.

Read: Theodore was featured on Lianhe Zaobao with Coding Lab in Coding as a New Literacy in the Digital Age


Ankit Maharana

11 years old, Singapore

Distinction and Judges’ Choice (Best Presentation), App Inventor and Python (Ages 13-18)

International Coding Showcase 2021 - Photo of Ankit Maharana

Hobbies: I like reading books and coding.

How did you start coding? I found my interest in learning to code.

Why did you join ICS 2021? I wanted to improve my coding skills. I learnt to not give up and to debug and fix problems.

Future coding aspirations: I want to make an app from my existing code!


Kyran Tan

11 years old, Singapore

Distinction, Python Electives (Ages 13-18)

International Coding Showcase 2021 - Photo of Kyran Tan

Hobbies: I like to play Roblox and read books related to it. I sometimes create my own Roblox games too.

How did you start coding? I first started coding when my mother introduced me to Scratch Jr. I found it interesting as I could create simple games and animations. I started to code more frequently, learning more and more things along the way.

Why did you join ICS 2021? I joined ICS 2021 to challenge myself and to get myself out of my comfort zone. I think it was a precious opportunity to learn about more things related to coding. I have learnt to debug more effectively through my Wallety project.

Future coding aspirations: I plan to create a simple version of a messaging app like Discord or WhatsApp that will allow users to chat with full functionality without having to purchase any additional features.

My future occupation will definitely be related to coding. I hope to be a software application developer, where I can create, test and upgrade apps for others to use.

Read: Kyran Tan’s feature after clinching 1st Place in the Python (Ages 10-12) Category in the previous International Coding Showcase 2020

Read and Watch: Coding Lab Student Feature on Kyran Tan, 12


Jirapas Wongtreenatrkoon

15 years old, Singapore

Distinction and People’s Choice Award, App Inventor and Python Electives (Ages 13-18)

International Coding Showcase 2021 - Photo of Jirapas

Hobbies: I really like language subjects like English and Chinese a lot. Language subjects are all about expressing one’s ideas and imagination. Much like coding, it grants me the ability to express my ideas and imagination without being right or wrong. I also like to watch YouTube, anime, scroll through Reddit, as well as code.

How did you start coding?
My father was the one who got me into coding. He was watching a Korean drama series called ‘Start-Up’ and there was this one character in there who could code. He shared about it with me and encouraged me to start learning to code.

Why did you join ICS 2021? I had some free time during the Christmas break and decided to make use of that time by joining the competition. Having made quite a few projects before, I’ve learned quite a lot in ICS while writing lines of code and improving from my mistakes.

All the ICS participants were also very good and watching their videos and projects gave me some ideas for my next game. In my opinion, the best part was making the video because I like recording and editing.

Future coding aspirations: Right now, I’m developing a currency rate logger, SGD to Baht to be exact. The app is personal to me. In any case, looking into the future I can really see myself doing something related to programming, especially now with the way things are advancing toward automation and Artificial Intelligence!

Using a Windows laptop? You can download Jirapas’ Genius Kitchen here.

When downloading this .exe file, the app may be flagged as an unusual file as it does not have many downloads yet. Press ‘Keep’ to continue your download. When launching the app, Window Smart Screen may stop you from launching, simply select ‘more info’ then ‘launch anyway’, this is because the app is not registered with Window yet. Other than that, thank you for downloading and enjoy!

Note: this app can’t be downloaded on iOS.


This concludes our 2021 International Coding Showcase (ICS)! You can check out the full list of winners here or view the playlist of videos of our top Distinction and Judges’ Choices (Best Presentation) submissions.

Congratulations to all of our participants once again and we can’t wait to see what else they will code! The Coding Lab team would like to give a HUGE thank you to all who participated. 🌟 We hope that our students keep on coding and creating awesome projects for the whole world to see!

Are you ready for the next run of our International Coding Showcase? Keep an eye out for it coming soon! 👀

Read all about the winners of our International Coding Showcase (SG-JP) 2020 here!

P.S. Our International Coding Showcase is open only to Coding Lab students. Interested to join in our award-winning coding classes? Check them out here.

(Written by Lech and Edited by Cheryl Tang)


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Education plays a significant role in the lives of children – both as a milestone and as a journey in itself. As Educators at heart ourselves, we understand the challenges that come with each unique learning experience. Therefore, when a student under our tutelage achieves an educational goal, it is our honour to share the celebratory news!

Welcome to another edition of Coding Lab’s Student Features. Today’s precocious guest is 13-year-old Darius Yong, who made us proud by successfully securing a place at the School of Science and Technology (SST) in advance through Direct School Admission (DSA)!

Click to watch the video version of our interview with Darius! 👆

Hi Darius! Congratulations on entering SST through DSA! How do you feel about this achievement?

Thanks for asking, I am definitely excited as I know SST will provide many opportunities to further my interest in coding. At the same time, I am glad that I don’t have to worry about which Secondary School to choose in the Secondary 1 posting.

Meet Darius, who won the Most Innovative Award at the International Coding Showcase 2020!

Tell us how you first got started with coding. What do you like most about it?

When I was about 9, my father bought me a book that taught me how to program in Scratch. I followed the guide and learnt how to program in Scratch. About one and a half years later, I started lessons with Coding Lab in App Inventor and Python. I had lots of fun exploring different programming languages and platforms.

Watch Darius’ award-winning International Coding Showcase project here!

How did you get started with Coding Lab?

I learnt about Coding Lab from my mum, she signed me up for the App Inventor course, which I really enjoyed. After that, I went on for Python courses.

How has Coding Lab’s DSA Preparation Programme made an impact in your coding journey?

Coding has helped me improve my way of thinking and allowed me to be more patient when there were bugs. Coding has also broadened my exposure as I was able to take part in competitions. I have won the Most Innovative Award from the International Coding Showcase 2020 and also placed within the Top 20 winners for the Coding Olympics 2021.

Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?

We are definitely living in an era of technology, learning coding is important because it can help us and the community to solve problems in possibly new, creative and efficient ways. It also taught me to be persistent and not give up easily when I hit a snag.

What are the difficulties you faced while learning to code and how did you overcome them?

Meeting bugs is definitely part of a programmer’s journey. To overcome them, I would Google for solutions or look through my class notes.

Darius is an extremely motivated and dedicated learner that always gives his best effort in attempting the questions. He has been progressing well, especially for someone of his age, he has shown a high level of understanding of the Python concepts taught and has applied them well in different areas by creating his own projects.

– Educator Evan

Apart from coding, what else do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m still a kid so I like reading as well as playing all types of games from Minecraft, Mario Kart, Game of Life and also Heart Attack! I also go for TaeKwonDo classes and earned my black belt this year.

Outside of coding, Darius is passionate about martial arts, too!

Do you have any advice for young people like you who want to start coding?

Never give up on your dreams in coding or in anything you wanna do!

What is your favourite coding project so far and why?

Definitely my Math Game. During the first circuit breaker last year in 2020, I combined both my love for Math and coding to create a Math Revision & Game project for my peers. I came up with the problem sums myself and coded the project in Scratch. I presented it to my Math teacher in School and she loved the idea and shared it with all my peers in school.

GIF of Darius’ Scratch-based Math Game
Play Darius’ Scratch-based Math Game here! 👆

Who is your favourite Educator? If there is one thing you could say to them, what would it be?

This is really a tough one for me …. I can’t really decide who my favourite tutor is but I want to say “Thank You!” to all the tutors who have taught me at Coding Lab! You are all awesome and I am inspired to be like you!

Image of Darius smiling and waving at the camera
All the best at SST, Darius! We know you’ll excel in your new school!

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Darius! Your Educators are proud of you for all of your achievements – in both coding and academics!

Darius began his coding journey at Coding Lab with P205+P206 – Python Junior, before progressing his way up to S203 – Algorithm. Find your own starting point here with us by browsing our course catalogue today!

(Written by Lixin, Edited by Thinzar)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Meet Aarhan, our confident and articulate coder and Secondary One student currently studying in his dream school, St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), which he entered through Direct School Admission (DSA) with Coding. He was also previously awarded Merit Award in our International Coding Showcase 2020. Let’s hear what Aarhan has to say about his DSA experience and coding journey thus far!

Watch the video version of Aarhan’s interview here.

Hi Aarhan, Congratulations on entering SJI through DSA! How do you feel about this achievement?

I feel on top of the world, and I feel that all my hard work has paid off!

Student Feature - Aarhan (1)
Aarhan is a budding programmer who aspires to be a nanoscientist and doctor that helps others with technology.

“Coding gives wings to my imagination and creativity. … But what I love the most is the fact that one can manipulate the code to do whatever they want, and the only limit is your creativity.”

Tell us how you first got started with coding!

I was in Primary 3 when I had my first encounter with Coding. One day in school, there was a robotics showcase, and I thought “This looks fun!”, which spurred me to try coding. It turned out to be fun, and I found my passion for it! I first learnt Scratch and mBot in school, and so far I’ve picked up Micro:bit, Python, App Inventor, and am still in the process of learning Javascript and so much more.

What do you like most about coding?

Coding gives wings to my imagination and creativity. It helps me actualise the blueprint of my ideas on the screen, and I pick up my innovations from the things I use or see in my daily life!

While it is really hard, it is really fun and it allows me to explore new possibilities in the digital world. But what I love the most is the fact that one can manipulate the code to do whatever they want, and the only limit is your creativity.

Catch 11-year-old Aarhan enthusing about coding and his future aspirations in an earlier interview video.

How did you benefit from the programmes at Coding Lab?

The coding programmes at Coding Lab equipped me with the knowledge of various coding languages, block interfaces and a deeper understanding of how to manipulate codes to fit into my projects. The classes helped me to perfect all these skills.

I can’t thank my teachers enough for being approachable, friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and creative at the same time. My ideas were constantly discussed in the sessions, which she elicited from me without spoon-feeding. She helped to boost my confidence and creativity to a whole new level.

What I liked most about my lessons were the teachers as they were always encouraging us to ask questions. Thanks to Coding Lab, I have learnt 3 languages, Python, App Inventor and Java, and my learning experiences have further fuelled my passion for coding.

“Aarhan has always displayed a good understanding of the lessons and takes an active role in discussions. He explains his codes well, which demonstrates a clear thought process, and is one of the important criteria in being a programmer!”
– Educator Rachel

Check out Aarhan’s Obstacle Game that he coded and presented in our ICS 2020, which earned him a Merit Award!

What are the difficulties you faced while learning to code and how did you overcome them?

There were many times when I had a certain idea in my head, but to apply that, the code wouldn’t fit or a minor improvisation was needed. I realised then that having a mature guidance – even in the simplest project – would take me to my desired result.

What is your favourite project and why?

Student Feature - Aarhan Presentation of Kites on Microbit
A snippet of the light show in Aarhan’s Kites project on Micro:bit.

The last and most recent project that I worked on is titled Kites, coded using Micro:bit. I was inspired to make it based on an international kite festival called Uttrayan that takes place every year in India. The kites fly up in the sky, and the goal is to cut the other person’s kite. Since I have not been able to visit India for 2 years now, I replicated it and created this game to be able to play it.

There are two kites marked by red lights – the player’s and the opponent’s kite. The player’s kite has ten lives and its light blinks while the opponent’s kite light is steady.

When I coded this game, I used the game components for the first time and initially had difficulties with the lives and scores. After a lot of trial and error, perseverance and rearrangement of the code blocks, I was finally able to come to an end product that I was satisfied with!

Student Feature - Aarhan Header
Catch the video version of Aarhan’s interview at our Parkway Parade campus here.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a scientist when I grow up, like a nanoscientist, to control everything through nanochips. And then after that, I’m going to become a doctor and use my little microchips to help detect and diagnose diseases in patients.

What advice would you give to young coders like yourself?

Just go ahead. The path may look a little rocky, but trust me, it leads to a whole new world of imagination and wonder. So, don’t give up and keep marching ahead!


Thank you for sharing your programming journey with us, Aarhan! 😃 We are so proud to see you grow from the confident 11-year-old App Inventor student to getting into your dream school at St Joseph’s Institution. We hope that your story inspires many other young coders like yourself to pick up programming, explore the vast world of possibilities, and harness the skill to change the world for the better! 🌏

Aarhan Saluja has been attending classes at Coding Lab since May 2020 – from App Inventor 1 and 2, advancing to Python Junior 1 and 2, and now progressing through our Advanced Computer Scientists programme. He was also in the Portfolio Preparation programme for DSA. Aarhan, who turns 13 this year, won the Merit Award in our annual International Coding Showcase 2020.

Our #CodingLabStudents series features our ambitious students and their ongoing coding journeys – be it the budding coder or advanced Python Pro, we appreciate each and every single one’s efforts as they progress to greater heights. 🌱

Coding Lab offers an award-winning curriculum specially for ages 4 to 18 – check out our courses to begin your own coding journey today!

(Written by Zulaikha and Oliver, Edited by Cheryl)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

For today’s student feature, we’ve invited two curious coders. Meet Isaac (aged 11) and Alicia Khong (aged 9), who won the Social Impact Award and People’s Choice Award respectively during the International Coding Showcase 2020, and also Judges’ Choice (Most Innovative) and Judges’ Choice (Best Design) respectively during the International Coding Showcase 2021! These clever and articulate siblings began their coding journey one after another, here at Coding Lab. Don’t miss this first-ever double-bill student feature!

Watch the video version of the Khong siblings’ interview here.

Tell us how you first got started with coding. What do you like most about it?

Isaac: When I was young, I often saw my father using the computer in his room. I was curious about what he was doing and asked him. When I found out that he was coding, I asked if I could start it as I was always fascinated by the computer.

I got my first Windows computer when I was in Primary One, and I started learning basic Scratch on my own with a book that my father had bought me. I was fascinated that you could do so many different things with the computer and I wanted to do more. My favourite part about coding is that you can ask the computer to do whatever you want to get a result.

Alicia: My brother started coding, and I felt that it would be interesting, so I followed him and started coding too. I like how it works – if you type something, and if the code is right, then something happens.

Meet the Khong siblings – Alicia (aged 10) and Isaac (aged 12)!

It’s awesome to hear that you were both inspired by family members! How did you decide to begin your coding journey with Coding Lab?

Photo of Alicia coding
Alicia started coding at the age of 7 and gets inspiration for her latest coding projects from her family.

Isaac: I was researching about coding schools when I found Coding Lab. Although I looked through many schools, Coding Lab caught my attention as it offered a huge variety of programming languages and had a structured curriculum.

Alicia: I saw my brother going to Coding Lab, and he said it was fun, so I tried Coding Lab.

How has coding made a difference in your life since?

Isaac: I have been coding almost every day and I have started to learn how computers work. Additionally, I have also started to teach coding to my sister. So instead of being just a user of technology, I have learned how to create new technology.

Alicia: It helps me develop a new interest, I can use my free time to make a new animation or platformer on Scratch.

Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?

Photo of Isaac coding
Isaac is passionate about harnessing tech to better our future – as can be seen from the projects that he codes!

Alicia: I believe learning to code can help me to organise my thinking.

Isaac: I think coding is important as the world is continuously moving and changing to a more urbanised and high-tech world. In the future, many things would be controlled with computers and computer chips. Learning to code allows me to create technology to contribute to society next time.

What are the difficulties you faced while learning to code and how did you overcome them?

Photo of Alicia by the pond
Aside from coding, Alicia is passionate about reading and writing, with a journal collection of her very own stories.

Alicia: While I was learning Scratch, I sometimes had difficulties trying to think of new and interesting project ideas, so I would ask my family members what animations they want to see.

Isaac: Some of the challenges I have faced are syntax errors, methods and functions. When I face these issues, I try my best to look for solutions and voice out for help when needed.

Do you have any advice for young people like you who are beginning their coding journey?

Alicia: When you start to learn coding, it may be quite difficult and challenging, but if you keep trying and learning, you will succeed. You will then have a new way of creating your own projects and ideas.

“Alicia is a studious and brilliant learner who is able to adapt to new areas of knowledge swiftly and effectively. Her ability to do this led to her picking up advanced Scratch skills and even the intricacies of the Micro:Bit hardware in no time. She is always able to understand the concepts taught in class, and is a helpful girl who takes part in class discussions to promote the learning of fellow classmates.”
Educator Hovan

Screenshot of Isaac Khong presenting his FIFA Python program for International Coding Showcase 2021
Isaac is an avid coder and FIFA fanatic (this screenshot shows a snippet of his impressive FIFA Python program!) who enjoys reading books and watching documentaries in his free time.

Isaac: I would encourage young people to learn coding as technology is forming the future like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain. Start by learning simple programming with blocks and Graphical User Interface (GUI). Some websites and tools you can use to begin your coding journey include Scratch, Lego Mindstorms or Micro:Bit. This enables you to have a strong foundation in coding. You can then continue with App Inventor and Python to enhance your skills. This way, you can learn coding more productively just like how I progressed through the Coding Lab syllabus.

“Isaac is a very responsible and independent student who has shown great understanding in programming. He displays great interest in programming and is very attentive to detail. With a strong and stable foundation in coding, Isaac displays self discipline and great concentration. He shows great enthusiasm towards learning and on many occasions, I have seen him attempting the challenges before the rest and he is helpful and willing to share his knowledge with his classmates.”
Educator Edmund

Click to watch Alicia’s International Coding Showcase 2020’s Scratch project, “Catch the Balloon”, which won her the People’s Choice Award!

View Isaac’s entrepreneurial budgeting Python project (which draws graphs for you) that he submitted for the International Coding Showcase 2020 here!

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Alicia and Isaac. Hearing about your growing passion for coding certainly warms our Educators’ hearts – and our readers’ too!

Until next time – we look forward to your future achievements, Isaac and Alicia!

The Khong siblings’ coding journey is an example of how childhood interest, when nurtured, can blossom into a useful new skill. Through the shared learning experience of coding, their bond has become stronger than ever!

Isaac Khong began his journey at Coding Lab with our App Inventor and Python Junior courses in 2020 – and is now progressing through our S200 Advanced Electives (for ages 13 to 18). Isaac, who turns 12 this year, won the Social Impact Award in our International Coding Showcase 2020 and Judges’ Choice (Most Innovative) in our International Coding Showcase 2021.

Alicia Khong’s first coding class was Scratch One in August 2020, and she got to hone her coding capabilities in our Young Computer Scientists. She’s now delving into App Inventor! Alicia, who turns 10 this year, won the People’s Choice Award in our International Coding Showcase 2020 and Judges’ Choice (Best Design) in our International Coding Showcase 2021.

Note: We interviewed Isaac and Alicia last year, when they were 11 and 9 years old in 2021.

Our #CodingLabStudents series features our ambitious students and their ongoing coding journeys – be it the budding coder or advanced Python Pro, we appreciate each and every single one’s efforts as they progress to greater heights. 🌱

Coding Lab offers an award-winning curriculum specially for ages 5 to 18 – check out our courses to begin your own coding journey today!

(Written by Zulaikha and Lixin)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Meet 12-year-old Kyran Tan who won 1st Place (Python for Ages 10-12) at the International Coding Showcase 2020 (JP-SG) and also clinched Distinction (Electives for Ages 13 to 18) at the International Coding Showcase 2021 (JP-SG). We interviewed this precocious primary schooler about his programming journey at Coding Lab. Read on to find out more about Kyran!

… Or watch this video interview to hear from Kyran himself!

Hello, Kyran! How did your adventure with coding begin? What do you like most about it?

I first started coding when my mother introduced me to Scratch Jr. I found it interesting as I could create simple games and animations. I started to code more frequently, learning more and more things along the way. The part I liked most about coding was that I could use my own imagination and creativity to create the things I wanted.

Screenshot of Kyran (bottom right) with his Coding Lab classmates
Kyran (bottom right) having fun with his Coding Lab classmates in an online class!

How did you get started with Coding Lab?

I wanted to learn more about coding but did not know where to start. After some research, my mother enrolled me for Coding Lab lessons. I have just completed my S100 series (Python Foundation) and I can’t wait to start on the S200 series (Advanced Electives)!

“The part I liked most about coding was that I could use my own imagination and creativity to create the things I wanted.”

We’re excited to have you at Coding Lab too! Could you share how coding has made a difference in your life?

Coding allows me to understand what goes behind animations, games and applications. I learnt to appreciate the hard work that developers put into their creation, however simple it may seem.

Photo of Kyran Tan at the park

I have also learnt to be more organised. As the code gets longer, it is important for me to be organised so that it is easier to debug the code.

“Kyran is an exceptional student who is enthusiastic in his learning. He is organised and attentive to details, and does not shy away from asking questions in class. When encountering something unfamiliar, he is able to solve problems quickly and with minimal hints.

I am very impressed by Kyran’s determination and perseverance. Kyran always gives his very best to tackle class challenges on his own. With his knowledge and passion for coding, he has repeatedly shown great improvement in his classes and it is a joy to have him as our Coding Lab student.”

Educator Edmund

Why do you think learning to code is so important?

Many things rely on coding to work. This includes phone apps, websites or desktop applications. For example, coding can be used to create applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Discord to connect with our friends online. It also makes life easier for us. Instead of spending time doing repetitive routines, coding can help us to create automations on our computer.

“I learnt not to give up as there will definitely be a solution out there.”

What difficulties did you face while learning to code – and how did you overcome them?

When learning to code, sometimes my code does not work. To overcome this, I will search for solutions and ask if needed. I learnt not to give up as there will definitely be a solution out there.

Photo of Kyran using his laptop
The confident and passionate coder has built lots of complex programs at a young age.

Apart from coding, what do you do in your spare time?

I like to play Roblox and read books related to it. I also enjoy reading non-fiction books!

Tell us, what is your future dream school?

I hope to go to a school that focuses on Science and Technology subjects as these are where my interest lie. It would be great if the school offers the opportunity for me to learn more programming languages too!

Kyran dreams of becoming a software application developer in the future.

Do share with us what your dream job is!

My dream job is to become a software application developer, where I can create, test and upgrade apps for others to use. I plan to learn programming languages such as Python and C# and be proficient enough to get the job.

I’m interested in learning C# as I can use this language to create Universal Windows Platform (UWP)* apps that can be published to the Microsoft Store. (I am a huge fan of Microsoft!)

*UWP is a common programming platform for all Microsoft products, including Windows, Xbox, Surface Hub and HoloLens.

That’s so cool! We wish you all the best. Do you have any advice for young people like you to begin their journey with coding?

I would tell them that coding may seem intimidating at first. However, with more practice, coding can be so much fun. So take that first step to learn coding and don’t give up even when you are faced with challenges!

Last but not least, what is your favourite project – and why?

My favourite project is the Clockc programme which I created for my own use. This programme includes functions like Timer, Alarm, StopWatch and Countdown. There is also a unique “Work ‘n Rest” function which reminds me when to work and rest my eyes. I find this project useful as it is an all-in-one program that contains many functions related to time.

Click here to watch a lively video explanation of Kyran’s award-winning Clockc programme – expertly edited by our champion himself!

Thank you for sharing your coding journey with us, Kyran! He started learning at Coding Lab with App Inventor in 2020, and has quickly progressed on to our S200 Advanced Electives (for ages 13-18). His passion for programming shines with lots of potential, and we’re so excited to see what the future has in store for him! 

Kyran also emerged as the winner in the Ages 10 to 12 (Python) category in our International Coding Showcase 2020. He also clinched Distinction in the Ages 13 to 18 (Electives) category in our International Coding Showcase 2021

Watch the video to learn how Wallety, Kyran’s submission for the International Coding Showcase 2021, helps to manage your expenses. Truly an amazing project indeed!

Young programmers like Kyran demonstrate that it’s never too early to embark on your own coding journey! We hope that you’ll be an inspiration to others for them to pick up coding, no matter the age.

Coding Lab is committed to bringing coding literacy to children ages 4-18. Find out more here.

(Written by Zulaikha and Lixin)


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Coding Lab Student Feature: Justin, NUS High School of Math and Science

In another exciting student feature, we have Justin, a bright-eyed boy passionate about Mathematics and Coding, who entered NUS High School of Math and Science. Let’s get to know our Gifted Coders graduate who started learning to code at the tender age of seven! 🤩

Photo of Justin on holiday
Justin smiling happily while on holiday.

Hi Justin! Congratulations on entering NUS High through DSA! How do you feel about this achievement?

I felt very happy (and relieved) as I have always wanted to get into NUS High. In fact, it was my dream school ever since my family drove past some years back and the word “Math” caught my attention. Later on, I chanced upon a YouTube video that featured Pi digits on the aluminium panels above the concourse. Being a Math enthusiast, I was very fascinated. I was over the moon when I finally received the Confirmed Offer letter!

“After I learnt how to code, I was able to understand how games are created. It is fun to know what goes on behind the scenes!”

Tell us how you first got started with coding. What do you like most about it?

Photo of Justin and friends in class (1200x628)
Justin (far right) and his friends in the Gifted Coders class.

My parents thought that I would enjoy coding so they signed me up for Coding Lab’s Scratch holiday programme when I was seven years old. I enjoyed designing games using Scratch and playing other users’ games!

Later on, I was spotted by my tutors to be accelerated and was invited to join the Gifted Coders’ class where I learnt Python programming language. What I enjoyed most about Python is how I am able to create programs that can solve Mathematics problems.

“The current world is technology-driven, hence it will benefit us if we understand how to code in order to stay relevant. It also teaches us how to think logically.”

Why do you think learning to code is so important?

Photo of Justin
An avid Math lover, Justin finds it gratifying to solve problems with code.

Coding is what we use to invent machines, robots and video games. Without coding, we will not be able to enjoy apps like Zoom, GrabFood, Deliveroo and Foodpanda. I mean, just imagine how these things have benefited us during the pandemic! 

The current world is technology-driven, hence it will benefit us if we understand how to code in order to stay relevant. It also teaches us how to think logically.

What are the difficulties you faced while learning to code and how did you overcome them?

When I first started Python, I found many errors in my code. I had to constantly seek help from my teacher and over time, I gradually understood the reason behind my errors and I learnt how to debug independently without her help.

“Debugging has helped me learn how to troubleshoot whenever I face a problem. Every time I manage to do it, it feels very shiok!”

What is your favourite project and why?

I enjoy how the aliquot sequence works, so my preferred type of code is one that calculates the aliquot sequence works of a number. My favourite project is the one I did for my Gifted Coders graduation, which can solve simultaneous and quadratic equations! Check it out below.

How has coding made a difference in your life?

Photo of Justin on holiday 2
In his free time, Justin enjoys listening to music, doing science kits, playing card or board games with his sisters, cycling with his family and playing with the Rubik’s cube.

After I learnt how to code, I was able to understand how games are created. It is fun to know what goes on behind the scenes! With my Python knowledge and my passion for Math, I was even able to code a program that calculated the sum of factors for every number. I was also able to create Math problem-solving programs using Python and I found it to be truly rewarding indeed!

Do you have any advice for young people like you who are learning to code?

I would highly recommend young people to pick up Python, especially with Coding Lab’s Python programme! The language is very relevant in today’s technology-driven world and with it, you’re able to create solutions for real-world problems!

Thank you for sharing your coding journey with us, Justin! We are so happy and proud to see you grow from the bright 7-year-old Scratch student – that we invited to our Gifted Coders class – to a Python pro, and is now in our S200 Advanced Electives. We hope that Justin’s story will be an inspiration, and we look forward to what he will achieve in the future! 😉

(Written by Zulaikha)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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Here at Coding Lab, we have welcomed a myriad of students from all walks of life – and today, we would like to introduce you to one of our bright students who loves water polo and gaming: Chen-Yi! 

Image of Chen-Yi playing water polo

The Secondary 1 student is studying in his dream school Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) after entering through Direct School Admission (DSA) with Water Polo. He has been acing InfoComm, a compulsory academic subject in HCI, and his friends even frequently seek him out for advice!

Chen-Yi’s passion for coding has also caught the eyes of his Coding Lab tutors who acknowledge his budding potential. 👀 Absolutely incredible! Keep on reading to learn more about this ambitious individual!

Hi Chen-Yi! Tell us how you got started with coding. What do you like most about it?

I started self-learning how to code when I was in Primary 3 because I felt that it would be interesting to write my own programs and watch them work. I began with the basic programming platform Scratch, but while learning Scratch, I discovered Python, which to me seemed much more interesting than Scratch. Thus after finishing a Scratch course, I started to learn Python on my own using a book my father had bought for me. 

I like programming because I get to make anything I want. I could remix a simple game like Flappy Bird, or test my programming knowledge by taking on a more ambitious project. Programming is also able to help me in my daily life – for example, I got to make a program that prime factorizes a number, and this has helped me speed up my productivity while doing homework!

“Programming is also able to help me in my daily life – for example, I got to make a program that prime factorizes a number, and this has helped me speed up my productivity while doing homework!”

Your tutor Evan informed us that you’ve been experimenting a lot with Django this term! You have even created a few side projects on your own, which is super impressive! What has made you so interested in Django?

Image of Chen-Yi casual

I think that making a dynamic webpage is more fun than just a simple HTML static webpage. Django has also helped me to understand the workings behind some big sites. I made my project so that I could experiment with login pages and chatrooms. 

“Chen-Yi is an independent learner that has displayed commitment in learning the concepts. He has demonstrated that he understands the concepts taught in class well to apply and customise them into his web application. Despite being new to Django and Web Development, he is able to understand most of the concepts covered and takes the initiative to find out the possible projects we can explore by researching it himself during his personal time.”
– Tutor Evan

What difficulties did you face while learning to code?

To be honest I didn’t really know what I was doing in the first few months of learning how to program, and I only really picked it up after a year. At the time, I did not have a laptop or computer to work on, hence I resorted to writing code on trinket.io

Surprisingly, I was still able to write programs even though I had to constantly switch between the tutorial app and the browser. These first steps, though slightly inconvenient, have made me even more resilient and determined to continue learning how to program. You could even say that those first few months were the “appetizer” to my love for programming now!

What do you like about coding classes at Coding Lab?

I came for classes at Coding Lab as being in a class allows me to learn more in-depth, under the guidance of professional teachers. In a class, I can ask the teachers questions, rather than Googling the questions on the internet, as sometimes you don’t get a straight-cut answer from Google.

As Coding Lab is far from my house, I opted for online lessons so that I am able to learn without difficulties! I like coding classes at Coding Lab as I am able to ask the teachers for help whenever I need it, and the answers I receive help me a lot.

The things that are taught at Coding Lab are also interesting and useful in real life, for example creating websites with Django as the backend server to process the database and retrieve the designs of the websites that are created using HTML.

Tell us more about ‘ZeroNET’, the app you made during your hackathon. What inspired you to make it, and what were the challenges you faced?

ZeroNET has a simple login and sign up system, and you can join a chatroom using a room code. I made it because I thought that login and sign up systems would be interesting to play with, and it would be cool to see how chatrooms function. After attending classes, I was able to implement more things into my website!

As an independent learner, I’ve also been experimenting with Django and have even created side projects on my own after reading up on Google and watching YouTube tutorials.

One of Chen-Yi’s amazing side projects, titled Teleporter. The program is about a robot-boy who can shoot bullets which, on exploding, create “glowing” particles. There are also portals that he can create and teleport with when the right-click is utilised, hence the naming of “Teleporter”.

Teleporter is one of my projects that enabled me to practice adding more effects into my games made with Pygame. I had felt that my other games were pretty bland and did not really have good enough graphics, so you could say that this project was for me to feel better and see how much I have achieved so far with Python.

It is a pretty basic game that can still be improved, however I have decided to stop working on it at the moment.

Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?

Programmers are able to help the society by writing software for more advanced equipment, for example medical equipment, which would allow doctors to better assess a patient’s illness. Learning programming has helped me personally too as I’m able to write my own program to help me solve math sums. Another scenario where programming has helped me was when I wrote a virtual version of the board game that my project work group had come up with.

“Learning how to program is important as the world is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, so by learning about programming, one would have more job opportunities in the future, and would be able to do more in the future than others who do not know anything about programming.”

Image of Chen-Yi and his dog

Do you see yourself continuing your passion of coding in the future?

Yes, I would probably take up a job in programming in the future. My current goal is to be selected to join the Computing Talent Programme offered to the Sec 3s and 4s.

Any advice for anyone who is learning how to code?

A word of advice would be to start exploring the programming language that you want to learn by looking at online tutorials and YouTube videos. If they think that that language is what they want to learn, they can then attend a course to learn more about the language.


Thanks for sharing your programming journey with us, Chen-Yi! 😃 We hope that your story inspires many other youths like you to take up coding and discover the endless possibilities that await them once they’ve acquired the skill! 

Chen-Yi has been attending classes at Coding Lab since May 2020 – from passing a placement test to enter Python Perfect 2, and then afterwards advancing to Python 3, to Python Perfect 3 and now S207: Modelling & Simulations!

Learn more about Python, a global top 5 programming language, here. Once you’ve got the foundations, you can find yourself building practically anything from software, to apps, to websites. 😉

(Written by Zulaikha)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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Meet 13-year-old Tan Jake Ian, who has always been passionate about technology. Like most boys his age, Jake loves playing computer games – but also creating them!

As one of Coding Lab’s first students back in 2016 who was personally mentored by our founder, Yong Ning Foo, we are proud to see the bubbly student grow into a teenager and achieve a place in his dream school. Hear what the confident and intelligent coder has to say about his DSA experience and coding journey (so far).

Photo of Jake, 13 years old, at his birthday celebration cutting his cake
Jake celebrates his 13th birthday!

Hi Jake, tell us a bit about yourself!

I am Jake, and I am 13 this year. I currently study at NUS High School of Math and Science, and I first came to Coding Lab when I was 8 years old.

“Be prepared that coding will challenge some of your puzzle-solving skills.”

How did your coding journey begin?

I initially started coding because my father thought it was an important and useful skill. After I started, I found that I agreed with him. And not only that, I began to really enjoy coding and wanted to continue! At first, I have to admit I thought that coding was easy. I even thought that developers of games such as Minecraft only had to join a few blocks together to make their game, just like I did in Scratch. Of course, I realised that this was not the case later on, but I still had a lot of fun doing the debugging challenges and questions in class!

Read and Watch Lianhe Zaobao Feature: Our Student, Jake, 9 Years Old shows his chops in <<A Little Somebody>> feature

It sounds like you have been coding for a while! What’s your favourite program so far?

It would likely be the Tower of Hanoi solver. It is a solver where you have to move disks of different sizes from one tower to another with restrictions. I like the clever usage of it, and how I can modify my program to have different amusing outputs.

(Press play below to run Jake’s Tower of Hanoi solver!)

“Coding should be fun, and even homework can be enjoyable too!”

Congratulations on entering your dream school! How do you feel about getting into NUS High School of Math and Science?

I feel really happy that I got into my top choice! I’m very excited for their science and tech programmes, since they are unique and different from that of other schools. I’m also looking forward to making new friends and having a great time!

What was your Direct School Admissions (DSA) experience like? Do you have any advice for others? I’m sure many other hopeful students are keen to know about it!

DSA was a whole new experience for me, especially the interview portion! I had never done an interview for admission into a school before, so I was very nervous – but excited to fulfil my dream!  My teachers really helped by giving me some advice on what to prepare for, and my ability to code enabled me to stand out from others. I personally recommend watching some interview guide videos for those taking DSA, such as how to answer commonly asked questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “What are your weaknesses?”

Jake when he was 8 years old, talking about his love for coding

Since you’ve been coding for some time now, what would you tell kids who are starting to code for the first time?

I would encourage them not to worry! Coding should be fun, and even homework can be enjoyable too! I like how my coding classes at Coding Lab are lighthearted and fun. The content is taught in a fun and engaging manner, but be prepared that coding will challenge some of your puzzle-solving skills.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to be a doctor! While coding may not seem related to the medical profession at the moment, I think that there are plenty of opportunities for integrating programming into hospitals in the future. For example, Artificial Intelligence and robots could help to distribute medicine or diagnose patients with less serious symptoms, which would allow doctors to treat critical patients. I really hope to be a part of this Medtech (medical technology) industry someday!

Tan Jake Ian, 13, is a Year One student at NUS High School of Math and Science. He was one of Coding Lab’s first students when he was 8 years old, where he started with Scratch. He excelled and showed great potential, and has been in our Gifted Coders class ever since. We celebrate his achievements and look forward to what he will accomplish in future! We’ll be supporting you every step of the way, Jake!

(Written by Nicole Loo)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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Today, we would like you to meet Kieran Ho, our student and 1st Place (Python and Electives) at the International Coding Showcase 2020 (JP-SG) and awardee of Most Promising Young Coder at the Young Coders Global Hackathon (YCGH) 2020 Meet the inquisitive and bright, young boy in Secondary One this year.

Hi Kieran, tell us a bit about yourself!

Photo of Kieran, aged 12 and awarded the Most Promising Young Coder
Meet Kieran, aged 13 now, and with two years of coding experience

I turn 13 in July, and I have just started studying at NUS High School of Math and Science. I first got interested in coding when I came to Coding Lab in Primary 5. This led me to choose to attend NUS High as they have a module for computational thinking… and most of my friends are going there as well!

How was your initial coding experience?

When I first realised coding was a thing, I was slightly confused and didn’t really know what it was about. I only knew that you could code games. However, in Primary 2, when my friend said that he was reading a book about coding, I got interested in the topic and decided to find out more. Since then, I was fascinated by coding and after joining Coding Lab, I have deepened my understanding of programming immensely enough that I want it to be a part of my future career.

“Even if it seems hard now, in the future, it will get better and your hard work shall be rewarded!”

What is your favourite coding experience so far?

I really enjoyed participating in YCGH 2020. At the time, it was the largest project I had done, and I worked hard on it. In the end, my hard work paid off! I got a Merit award and got into the Top 5 finalists.

Is there a favourite project or program that you’ve done up?

My favourite project was probably a school administration system that I made using Python in my free time. The school administration program basically stores a list of students and teachers, and you can add students and teachers to the list and remove them as well. It could be used to manage teachers and students who have joined the school. This actually took a few weeks for me to code, which was quite a long time to me back then, as most projects I did back then didn’t really take too long to finish. It was quite fun to make and I really enjoyed it.

Watch Kieran’s International Coding Showcase submission

What would you say to other kids who are starting out coding for the first time now?

I would probably ask them to follow their dreams and to never give up. Even if it seems hard now, in the future, it will get better and your hard work shall be rewarded!

What do you like most about your coding classes?

I like that Coding Lab provides a great atmosphere to learn coding and even make new friends. The lessons are fun and immersive, and in case you need help, experienced coaches will always be by your side.

What do you want to do with coding in the future?

I might get a job that involves coding in some way, or enrol in a computational thinking course. I would definitely continue joining coding competitions, as I think they’re fun and can also help to improve my understanding of coding as a whole. They also teach me several important moral values such as resilience and perseverance.

Catch Kieran in the interview video with our dear students!

Kieran Ho, 13, is a Year One student at NUS High School of Math and Science. He started out with App Inventor when he was 11 years old, and has since quickly breezed through Python. He is brimming with potential, already taking on the Advanced Electives under our S200 series (recommended for ages 13 to 18).

(Written by Nicole Loo)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

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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! 

(Writen by Zulaikha)