We had almost a hundred responses spanning four continents who participated in our online Young Coders Global Hackathon. During the global pandemic, technology showed its prowess to transcend boundaries and unite individuals who displayed their creativity by coding around the topics of the coronavirus.

Catch the action that took place during the two months of intense coding!

YCGH Quote from Founder, Yong Ning

From storytelling to games with multiple well-crafted levels, it was a difficult judging process to narrow down the Top 11. Our young junior coders then proceeded to the semifinals that were hosted LIVE on YouTube, where they had to present their Scratch ideas to the audience. They dressed up, did presentations and blew the judges away with their eloquence! Watch the action here.

Screenshot of YCGH Finalists - Junior Category

Our seven finalists didn’t crack under pressure as they coded LIVE in our YouTube finals, which you can view here:

These young coders under 12 years old battled it out to be crowned the finalists of our Young Coders Global Hackathon! You can click on their names to find out more about these future leaders in technology.

1st Place: Thaddeus Aaron Chung

Age: 12

12-year-old Thaddeus in action during the hackathon
12-year-old Thaddeus in action during the hackathon

2nd Place: Ignacy Kus

Age: 12
Szczecin, Poland

Photo of Ignacy, a sixth-grader from Szczecin in Poland, who is giving his prize to a child with financial difficulties.
Meet Ignacy, the sixth-grader from Szczecin in Poland who is giving his prize to a child with financial difficulties.

Hobbies: Programming (C++), mathematics (this week: hyperbolic geometry) and computer games are my hobbies. In my free time, I play video games (Roblox, Scrap Mechanic, Minecraft, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Doom).

How did you start coding? My first encounter with coding languages was when I attended a local coding club. I was six years old. I started to code in Scratch, Baltie and Visual Basic. Scratch and Baltie were quite simple but Visual Basic was hardcore for six-year-old me. I think it was good for me to start learning with something hard.

My father’s advice to younger me:

1. Never give up.
2. Try to create something that you want to play, use or watch.
3. Don’t think about the things that limit you.
4. You should focus on one thing and get to know it really well.

However, it is not important what you code, it is important that you code.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I am always looking for new opportunities to improve my coding abilities, thus I participate in many contests. Every contest is a real challenge and they motivate me to work. Let’s not forget about prizes… My parents and I find contests on the Internet, as was the case of YCGH 2020.

What have you learned? The most important thing in the competition was the possibility of meeting other coders and listening to them. I greatly enjoy meeting coders from all around the world. The foot trip from Szczecin to Singapore is 12,373km!

Future coding aspirations: My main aspiration is attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the future. I am focused on mathematics and algorithms (C++). In the future, I want to be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) game developer.

3rd Place: Wang Jun Min

Age: 11

Photo of Jun Min, the 11-year-old who aspires to learn more coding languages.
Meet Jun Min, the 11-year-old who aspires to learn more coding languages.

Hobbies: Playing computer games, chatting with my friends and solving mathematical problems. I like to spend my free time doing my hobbies and exercising.

How did you start coding? I started with a holiday camp (Scratch 1) in Primary 1. After that, I practised trying out new blocks myself and making new projects. The following year, I attended Scratch 2, after which I was invited to join the Gifted Coders.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I like Scratch and the competition tests your ability to create your own Scratch projects and make interesting codes.  I love to code while using mathematics. I had been reading up about how the virus spreads and how fast it spreads, so I felt the hackathon theme was relevant to me.

What have you learned? I learned about perseverance. During the live finals, I accidentally deleted a big chunk of code which I had spent quite a long time doing. Instead of giving up, I calmed down and persevered and redid the whole chunk. It was also a great experience because I learnt more about coding from the other coders, and it was a chance to mingle with kids from other countries. I also learned how to work under the stress of time in the live finals!

Future coding aspirations: I’m planning to make more games and am currently studying platformers and how to make them more interesting.  I would also like to learn more coding languages because they may have more powerful capabilities than Scratch and are also more interesting. My future occupation will be coding-related – I would like to become a game designer. 

Merit (Best Storyline): Andrew Goh

Age: 11

Photo of Andrew, the well-spoken 11-year-old.
Meet the articulate 11-year-old, Andrew.

Hobbies: I enjoy coding, playing tennis, reading, filming and creating content and animation for my school’s YouTube channel. When I am free, I like to learn new magic tricks.

How did you start coding? I watched my older sister code when I was 7 years old and I wanted to create digital games myself, so my mom enrolled me for lessons. I have enjoyed coding ever since.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I had been following the news on the pandemic, so I decided to use my coding skills and creativity to see if I could help people protect themselves from COVID-19.

What have you learned? As a coder, I have learnt that I can use my skills to create useful, timely and fun apps to positively impact people’s behaviour in uncertain times. I may even be able to save lives! I have also learnt the importance of design thinking as a planning tool to help me create programs that would solve users’ problems.

Future coding aspirations: Right now, I am learning more complex codes to hopefully create more challenging but useful programs in the future. My future occupation may be coding related – I can pair coding with robotics or AI to create/design something cool and useful.

Merit (Best Creative Project): Erika Tada

Age: 11

Photo of Erika, the creative 11-year-old.
Meet the creative 11-year-old, Erika.

Hobbies: Drawing and playing the violin. I like to play and make videos in Roblox during my free time.

How did you start coding? I started coding when my parents signed me up in the Coding Lab summer school when I was 7.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? Since most of my activities were cancelled [due to the coronavirus], I decided to try something new.

What have you learned? I learned how exciting a hackathon can be, and how it is like to code live.

Future coding aspirations: In the future, I would like to design apps, be able to code with Python or maybe make a game in Roblox.

Merit (Best Game Design): Javen Lim

Age: 11

Photo of Javen, the enthusiastic and bubbly young coder.
Meet the enthusiastic and bubbly young coder, Javen.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading non-fiction books and programming in Scratch and Python.

How did you start coding? My interest was sparked when I started Primary 1 and had Computer Lab lessons at school. I was fascinated when I found out that I could use keyboard characters to form graphics in Notepad. When my parents asked if I would like to attend Coding Lab’s holiday workshops, I readily agreed. There was no turning back. I Iater moved on to attending their regular classes.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My mum read about the YCGH and shared with me about it. I decided to join the YCGH because I feel that coding is important, especially in this modern age and I wanted to gain more experience in this domain and have some fun at the same time. 

What have you learned? A competition should not just be about winning, but more importantly, the learning process which allows us to improve ourselves. It was really interesting to look at other coders’ projects and compare it with my own, to find out which areas I could improve on. 

Future coding aspirations: I hope to learn JavaScript and C++. If possible, I would like to develop a social platform for sharing of educational content, discoveries and a place where geeks of a certain subject get together. 

This concludes our Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020. We would like to thank our participants from all over the world, and it’s been a joy getting together and collaborating with Coding Lab Japan. See you next year!

Read about the Senior Category’s Top 5 by clicking here.

(Written by Cheryl Tang)